We have about 190 listed com­pa­nies to­day, 73 of them have no woman on their boards, 10 per­cent have 20 per­cent women on their boards and I think there are only 15 fe­male CEOs of the 190 listed com­pa­nies.

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You re­cently said SEC will work with CAC on some reg­u­la­tions on hav­ing more women di­rec­tors in quoted firms. What for­mat will it take?

It is im­por­tant to have more women on boards. We have about 190 listed com­pa­nies to­day, 73 of them have no woman on their boards, 10 per­cent have 20 per­cent women on their boards and I think there are only 15 fe­male CEOs of the 190 listed com­pa­nies. What we have found out re­cently is that there is some link be­tween the per­for­mance of com­pa­nies and the num­ber of women they have on their board. And that link­age is very pos­i­tive that the more women we have on the board, the more likely their per­for­mance would rise. There is a cat­a­lyst or­ga­ni­za­tional study that com­pa­nies which had more women on their board, at least 19 per­cent of their board mem­bers be­ing women, did bet­ter in terms of ROI, and in terms of other prof­itabil­ity in­di­ca­tors. My sus­pi­cion is that the rea­son for that is that first if you have got women on the board, it opens up the mar­ket to the broader range so when you are craft­ing your poli­cies, when you are re­view­ing how you are do­ing as a board, the ques­tions would point you to some things that may not have come out if you had just one gen­der - if you had a board that is solely men.

The other thing is that di­ver­sity in­spires in­no­va­tion; there is a link­age be­tween di­ver­sity and in­no­va­tion be­cause people come from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, so we think that some­thing should be done. The Com­pa­nies and Al­lied Mat­ters Act was last re­viewed in 1990. There was a re­cent amend­ment which was very spe­cific. We think that one of the things which should be looked into is cer­tainly hav­ing a clause that en­cour­ages greater par­tic­i­pa­tion of women. We are the cus­to­dian of the SEC Code of Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance, so through that we can some­what in­flu­ence that is­sue. But I think that the best ways is that the com­pa­nies them­selves look at that is­sue as some­thing that is most ben­e­fi­cial to them be­cause it opens up the space for them and their mar­ket. So, we will prob­a­bly re­port in a more gran­u­lar fash­ion on this is­sue of hav­ing more women on boards.

How can women tap into the cap­i­tal mar­ket for in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties?

First and fore­most, what I tell ev­ery­one is that in­vest­ing is very crit­i­cal. If you are go­ing to in­vest, you must have some level of fa­mil­iar­ity on what you are go­ing to in­vest in. Even if you have an ex­pert that is help­ing you, you must be able to ask the right ques­tions to that ad­vice. First and fore­most, my ad­vice to people is to fo­cus on build­ing their knowl­edge be­cause it is a skill that you will need through your life be­cause sav­ing and in­vest­ing help you to raise your stan­dard of liv­ing, to save for your re­tire­ment, to save for any health chal­lenge you may face or to save for the ed­u­ca­tion of your chil­dren. So, it is a skill that people should learn about.

In fact at the SEC, we have broad­ened our fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion to in­clude all kinds of tools, so we are work­ing with Nol­ly­wood, we have the movie Breeze, and we have short doc­u­men­taries like Easy Money, Mu­tual Ben­e­fits that was re­cently re­leased in that re­spect.

But we at SEC are say­ing that don’t ex­pect to un­der­stand the mar­ket the way that fi­nan­cial ex­perts un­der­stand it. Look at how to in­tel­li­gently lever­age the fi­nan­cial mar­ket. We are rec­om­mend­ing mu­tual funds. Mu­tual funds al­low you to in­vest a small amount, but to have the op­por­tu­nity of in­vest­ing that amount in sev­eral com­pa­nies or sev­eral types of prod­ucts. So if you have N5000 you can buy a money mar­ket bond and that money mar­ket bond can in­vest in var­i­ous trea­sury bills.

Are you think­ing of reg­u­la­tions and in­cen­tives that would en­cour­age women to in­vest in col­lec­tive in­vest­ment schemes (CIS)?

I think in 2010, we first drew at­ten­tion to the fact that as a re­tail now steal their money. We also have tried to im­prove the ca­pac­ity of fund man­age­ment firms; we also asked that they come to­gether as a trade group so that we can in­ter­act with them much more ef­fi­ciently. We are very proud with what they have done; they have put to­gether a strate­gic doc­u­ment which ba­si­cally shows what the po­ten­tials are for Col­lec­tive In­vest­ment Schemes. And to­day, we have less than 200,000 who are lev­er­ag­ing into CIS funds to save and in­vest.

There is clearly room for more to be done; we have about $1bn of funds un­der man­age­ment that is very in­vestor, you may con­sider as an al­ter­na­tive in­stead of in­vest­ing di­rectly yourself while you are not so fa­mil­iar with the com­pany, that you may seek the ser­vices of a fi­nan­cial ex­pert and go through col­lec­tive in­vest­ment schemes. Be­fore we did that, we de­cided to en­hance the reg­u­la­tions of fund man­agers be­cause you do not want a sit­u­a­tion where you are en­cour­ag­ing people to go to mu­tual funds and it turns out that the fund man­agers will small for a coun­try of 167 mil­lion people. So the po­ten­tial is enor­mous. One of the things we are look­ing at do­ing, and hope­fully we will be able to achieve it this year is to make sure that we have a com­mon stan­dard for reporting on per­for­mance so that the in­vestors can com­pare one from an­other, so we are look­ing at what CFA does. The Global Per­for­mance Stan­dards is a stan­dard we should look at adopt­ing in Nigeria. What we want to do is to make sure that

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