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US institutional investors mull investing in Nigerian capital market, urges regulatory reforms

Institutional investors from the United States under the Institutional Investor Network have expressed interest in exploring more direct investment opportunities in the Nigerian capital market.

This was the subject of discussion at an engagement between Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and a delegation from the United States facilitated by Chapel Hill Denham, consisting of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Prosper Africa, and Power Africa.

During the engagement, which was marked by a Closing Gong Ceremony, the Chairman, of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Kwairanga called for a deeper collaboration between the US and Nigeria.

The Chairman highlighted areas in which NGX Group has been engaging the government to further develop the capital market including the removal of capital controls; legislation to enhance the attractiveness of listings, pension reforms, policymaking to facilitate dollar-denominated market transactions, and the establishment of a private market.

  • “Significant opportunities for mutual economic expansion abound between the United States and Nigeria,” he said, concluding that NGX Group is positioned to facilitate more investment inflows,” he said.

What the CEO said

Temi Popoola, the Chief Executive Officer, of NGX, emphasized the innovative activities of the Exchange around catalyzing capital formation by both foreign and domestic investors.

  • “We are working hand-in-hand with the government to create an attractive environment for listings and also on product innovation that can creatively channel more funds into the market,” he said.

Popoola also mentioned NGX’s technology innovations including the Technology Board to encourage listings from tech startups, and digital market access that will spur the younger generation of Nigerians to invest in the market.

Cameron Khowsroshahi, the Senior Investment Advisor, at Prosper Africa, who led the US delegation to Nigeria stated the openness of US institutional investors in working with Nigerian institutional investors including pension funds to explore more avenues to invest in the Nigerian capital market.

Whilst giving remarks, he noted that in the US, pension funds, some of whom were represented at the engagement, were allowed by regulation to invest 60 to 75% of their capital into equities and funds targeting equities.

Khowsroshahi urged the Nigerian stakeholders to work with the pension regulator to allow pension funds to inject more of their liquidity into the Nigerian equities market.

He also noted that there needs to be a new chapter in Africa and the U.S. economic relationship, adding that private capital from both sides plays a pivotal role in achieving sustainable solutions for Nigeria and Africa.

Also speaking at the engagement was the CEO, of Chapel Hill Denham, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, who expressed hope that the Nigerian market will emulate the US market as regards lesser risk aversion to investing pensions in equities.


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