By John Okoh
The FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange (FMDQ or the OTC Exchange) played host to a wide audience of local and international financial markets participants, who turned out in large numbers for its 2017 Nigerian Debt Capital Markets Conference and Awards, held in Lagos.
The Conference and Awards, which brought together subject-matter experts with varying focuses and interests in the Nigerian and global financial markets space, provided a platform to deliberate on strategies and other pre-requisites needed to position the Nigerian debt capital markets (DCM) to support sustainable economic growth and development.
Welcoming guests to the Conference and Awards, Mr. Jibril Aku commended all stakeholders for the support given to FMDQ thus far, whilst noting that the OTC Exchange will continue to provide the requisite platform to power growth and foster the deepening of the Nigerian DCM.
The 2017 Conference was adequately supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, represented by the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha underscored the importance of the debt capital market to its overall economic recovery and growth plan in his special address.
In his special keynote address, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, charged all participants to support the Federal Government’s diversification efforts by embracing the DCM and the opportunities therein. He noted the pivotal role being played by FMDQ in transforming the Nigerian DCM and called for greater commitment from the private sector to complement the government’s efforts especially in the area of infrastructure development.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who gave a special address, recognised the opportunities inherent in the DCM and assured the participants that the Federal Government was taking bold steps towards putting the necessary reforms to support private sector-led growth, even as the country exits recession.
Mr. Mounir Gwarzo’s keynote address provided an overview of the recent milestones achieved in the Nigerian DCM and further highlighted that the Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth Plan underscores the role of the private sector in leading the growth that Nigeria desires. In his words, “to sustainably develop Nigeria, reliance must be shifted from ‘owners’ capital’ and short-term funding from commercial banks to long-term capital from the DCM”.
Mr Jingdong Hua, in his address, noted that for Africa to meet and maximise its potential in the global financial markets space, Nigeria must be one of its greatest engines. He called on the government to create an enabling environment to support the DCM and also promote financial markets education for capacity building of market participants, and the general public.
In her “one-on-one” discourse with Mr. Frank Aigbogun, Publisher/CEO of BusinessDay Media, Ms. Oniha examined Nigeria’s debt strategy amidst the economic headwinds and other policy considerations towards realisation of the country’s development agenda.
The legislative arm of government was also ably represented at the conference through the active participation of respective Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Capital Markets, Senator Foster Ogola and Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf.
Further, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, ably represented by Ms. Mary Uduk, Director, Investment Management also lent his voice to the growing relevance of the debt capital market to the much-desired turnaround of the Nigerian economy.
A major highlight of this year’s conference was the active and prominent participation of a number of subject market experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) led by Mr. Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, alongside other senior executives of the IFC.
Other notable participants include Mr. Joseph Okwu Nnanna, Chairman, FMDQ, represented by Mr. Jibril Aku, Vice Chairman, FMDQ; Ms. Razia Khan, Managing Director, Chief Economist Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, London; Mr. Bolaji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham; and a host of other international subject matter experts and captains of the Nigerian financial markets.
From the high-powered presentations to panel sessions which drew from the experiences of model markets and subject matter experts, there were discussions and recommendations on market and product development strategies for the Nigerian DCM, capital inflows and opportunities for operational excellence in the Nigerian fixed income and currency markets, infrastructure projects financing, sustainable finance strategy and non-interest capital market, amongst others.
To deepen the discussions and stimulate active engagement amongst participants, the conference featured two (2) breakout sessions on the “introduction of fixed income and interest rate derivatives” and the “corporate debt issuances in the Nigerian DCM.”
Whilst reiterating FMDQ’s commitment to remain steadfast towards the development of the Nigerian DCM, and the Nigerian economy at large, the Managing Director/CEO of FMDQ, Mr. Bola Onadele Koko, went on, on behalf of FMDQ, to recognise and present awards to market participants/key stakeholders in the Nigerian DCM who had performed creditably in relation to primary market activities, over the past two (2) years (September 2015 – August 2017).
He noted that the exceptional performances by these market players had contributed to the overall development and progress of the markets in different ways.
The performance categories recognised included, Largest Corporate Bond Issuer on FMDQ won by Lafarge Africa PLC; Largest Sub-national Bond Issuer on FMDQ won by the Lagos State Government and Largest Fund Manager on FMDQ won by Chapel Hill Denham Management Limited
Others are Largest Commercial Paper Issuer on FMDQ won Access Bank PLC; Most Compliant Bond Issuer on FMDQ won by Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company PLC; Best FMDQ Registration Member (Listings) won by Chapel Hill Advisory Partners Limited; Best FMDQ Registration Member (Quotations) won by Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited.
Best DCM Solicitor on FMDQ was won by Banwo & Ighodalo; Sustainable Finance in the DCM won by Municipality Waste Contractors Limited and Most Innovative Listing on FMDQ was won by the Debt Management Office, Nigeria.