BUSINESS We encourage quoted firms to have more women directors - Oteh
we don’t reinvent the wheel, where something exists and is already working. We are very pleased that there is already a body of people who are trained in the CFA qualification because it is a very comprehensive qualification for anybody in investment management.
We are also working through the Nigerian Capital Market Institute with the Financial Planning Association to try and ensure that we can train young people to become financial planners, so maybe those who graduate from law school, in economics among others. We can put them through a booth camp programme that prepares them to be able to affiliate with some of these fund managers and be able to sell their products to investors. That is something that we are very keen to do because we think it will also help the job situation in Nigeria. It is something that will take us time to be able to do because it is not just within our own hands in that respect.
Are there any incentives for women?
Your choice to participate in CIS is an individual choice so you don’t need to create incentives for one group to participate versus the other group. I want men and women to invest in mutual funds; I don’t think we should do one thing in favour of the other. And then unlike some of the gender biases we have in other areas, there are no gender biases in terms of how you participate. It is unlike when you want to get bank loan where there are gender biases. If I bring my money for you to take and invest and you are a fund manager will you say you won’t take it because I’m a woman? You also will not say you won’t take it because I am a man. There is no gender bias; at SEC what we are interested in is that where there is a gender bias, we want to ensure that those biases are removed. But we want men and women to have equal opportunities.
I think that we have had a culture in Nigeria of dividend payment. I’m glad that our market is evolving, where people will want to invest because of the growth story of a company, you will invest because you expect that this company will grow in the future and you will benefit from it. You will also invest because you are older, you have retired and you want to get some dividends. What the Stock Exchange is doing is enabling us to differentiate between those kinds of companies. The fact that you don’t pay dividend in a particular year is not a bad thing.