Ponzi Scheme: SEC Warns Nigerians Against ‘Loom Money’


The Securities and Exchange Commission has warned Nigerians over an online investment scheme, called ‘Loom Money Nigeria’.

The acting director-general of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk issued the warning in Abuja, on Thursday during a press briefing.

She said Loom Money Nigeria is a pyramid scheme which operates on social media and lures Nigerians to invest as low as N1,000 naira and N13,000 and get as much as eight times the value of the investment in 48 hours.

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Ms Uduk added that the venture has no tangible business model, as returns would be paid from other people’s invested funds.

“We are aware of the activities of an online investment scheme tagged ‘Loom Money Nigeria’. The platform has embarked on an aggressive online media campaign on Facebook and WhatsApp to lure the investing public to participate by joining various Loom WhatsApp groups.

“Unlike MMM that had a website and the promoter known, the people promoting Loom are not yet known and this pyramid scheme operates through closed groups mainly on Facebook and WhatsApp. If it were a local Ponzi scheme with known offices, it would be very easy for the commission to seal their offices and freeze their accounts.

“We, therefore, wish to notify the investing public that the operation of this investment scheme has no tangible business model; hence, it’s a Ponzi scheme where returns are paid from other people’s invested sum. Also, its operation is not registered by the commission,” she warned.

SEC CMC Meeting Commences May 9

The first Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting for the year 2017, begins on Tuesday in Lagos.

Hundreds of regulators and operators from the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other related entities, are expected in the meeting.

One of the major points for consideration at the session would be the licensing of about 150 operators as the capital market looks forward to the demutualization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The meeting will be capped with a media briefing on Wednesday.

SEC Indefinitely Suspends Heritage Capital

Securities-and-Exchange-Commission, SEC, Heritage Capital MarketsThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has placed an indefinite suspension on Heritage Capital Markets Limited.

The penalty was issued following allegations of unauthorised sale of shares belonging to an investor and the company’s refusal to comply with the commission’s directives on the matter.

Heritage Capital’s directors and sponsored individuals have also been suspended indefinitely by SEC.

The regulatory body maintained that the suspension would remain in force pending the resolution of the issue against the market operator.

SEC also affirmed that it would not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against any person found to be in violation of the provisions of the ISA 2007, as well as its rules and regulations.

Capital Market: SEC’s New Plan To Accommodate Low Income Investors

Nigerian Stock ExchangeThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria has revealed  plans to introduce a new three-tiered account opening and requirements process, for the financially excluded and low-income earners in the nation.

A statement from the Commission over the weekend says the initiative is also part of efforts to widen the domestic investors’ base in the capital market.

According to the Stock Market Regulator, the new process will simplify identifications with no specified minimum investment deposit.

Less than three per cent of the population invests in stock market, a situation that narrows the national capital formation process and subjects the market to extreme fluctuations of foreign portfolio investors.

SEC wants to ensure that this situation is addressed with its new three-tiered account opening and requirements process.

SEC Draws Up Plan To Push Retail Investors Involvement In Capital Market

capital marketThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has drawn up a 10-year master plan to scale up the percentage of retail investors in the Nigerian Capital Market from the current two per cent.

The plan is expected to also facilitate the clearing of the 80 billion Naira unclaimed dividends in the sector.

It was announced in Abuja on Friday at a meeting between the Director General of the Commission, Mounir Gwarzo and Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Seeking the support of the Information Minister for public enlightenment, Mr Gwarzo said the master plan would deploy 101 initiatives.

One of the initiatives, according to him, is the electronic dividend currently in operation to help retail investors claim trapped dividends in the market.

He further stated that the plan would address the low involvement of retail investor in the capital market before 2025.

The Minister of Information blamed obsolete laws for the withdrawal of retail investors, whom he said were the key ingredients for the development and growth of the capital market.

Lagos State Bond: Ambode Restructures Over $840mn

Lagos BondsThe Lagos State government has restructured 167.5 billion Naira (840 million dollars) of bonds, in order to save an excess of 40 billion Naira (201 million dollars) over the next five years.

According to the Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, the restructuring was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission after an agreement with bond creditors.

He stated via Twitter, “The transaction will generate savings in excess of 40 billion naira ($201.01 million) for the state over the next five years.”

The bonds include an 80billion Naira seven-year bond maturing in 2019 and an 87.5billion bond due to be repaid in 2020.

The restructuring, which was approved by the state’s bondholders at an extraordinary meeting would see coupons remaining unchanged at 14.5% and 13.5% respectively.

Chapel Hill Denham acted as the financial adviser to Lagos State on the restructuring transaction.


Minimum Capital Base: SEC To Punish 94 Firms

SECThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has directed firms that have not complied with the new minimum capital base for capital market functions, to do so or lose their licenses.

In a circular issued by SEC, the commission is asking 94 firms to state why their registration as capital market operators should not be cancelled on or before December 4, 2015.

The commission stated that the capital market firms have consistently failed to render their statutory returns to the commission and may have been unable to comply with the new minimum capital requirements before the deadline stipulated by the commission, which expired on the September 30, 2015.

SEC had started post-recapitalisation audit of capital market operators with a view to providing a final list of active and well-capitalised capital market operators by the end of 2015.

Stanbic IBTC vs. FRCN: Court Fails To Sit 

StanbicThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday failed to sit to hear a suit instituted by Stanbic IBTC against the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP.

Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba was absent and the proceedings had to be adjourned to Wednesday, November 4.

In the suit, Stanbic IBTC Bank is asking the court to determine, among others, whether FRCN has the power to impose a fine of 1 billion Naira on it.

FRCN had last week sanctioned Stanbic IBTC over its audited accounts for 2013 and 2014 and suspended the financial reporting numbers of the bank’s Chairman, Mr. Atedo Peterside, and its Chief Executive, Mrs Sola David-Borha, and also barred them from vouching for the integrity of any financial statements in Nigeria.

The body also suspended two other directors – Mr. Arthur Oginga and Dr. Daru Owei – for attesting to what it termed the “misleading”  2013 and 2014 financial accounts of the bank, as well as Ayodele Othihiwa of KPMG professional services for his firm’s alleged complicity in the infractions highlighted in the financial reports for the two-year period.

It based its sanctions on issues raised by the bank’s minority shareholders led by the Mahtani brothers who own the Churchgate conglomerate, to some other regulatory agencies such as NOTAP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.

World Bank Appoints Oteh As Vice President And Treasurer

otehThe World Bank has announced the appointment of the immediate past Director-General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mrs Arunma Oteh as a Vice President and Treasurer.

According to a statement released by the bank in Washington, Mrs Oteh in her new role as Vice President and Treasurer would manage and lead the diverse team responsible for managing more than 150 billion dollars in assets worldwide through engagements with public and private sector institutions.

The statement said she was selected to the position ”through an international competitive search” and would be assuming office effective September 28, 2015

Read the full statement by the World Bank below:

Arunma Oteh, Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank Date: July 23, 2015.

Mrs Oteh, a Nigerian national, was most recently the Director General (DG) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria. She was Appointed to a five-year term by the President of Nigeria in 2010, she led the transformation of the country’s Capital Markets Industry into a major global presence.

The former DG of Nigeria’s SEC was a member of the Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the Chairperson of the Africa Middle East Regional Committee of IOSCO.

Prior to joining the SEC of Nigeria, Mrs Oteh was Group Vice President, Corporate Services, at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). In this role, she oversaw a number of departments, including human resources, information and communications technology, and institutional procurement.

From 2001 to 2006 she held the role of AfDB Group Treasurer, where she led AfDB’s fundraising and capital market activities across the world. Earlier roles at the AfDB, which she joined in 1992, included trading room management, investment portfolio coverage, and public sector lending.

Mrs Oteh also held other positions in capital markets and lending during the course of her career at the AfDB.

She began her career in 1985 at Centre Point, where she executed debt and equity offerings in the Nigerian Capital Markets.

The Former DG of Nigeria’s SEC earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria and her Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University.

As VP and Treasurer, Mrs Oteh would manage and lead a large and diverse team responsible for managing more than $150 billion in assets.

Her top priorities would be to:

Maintain the World Bank’s global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower, investor and risk manager.

Manage an extensive client advisory, transaction and asset management business for the Bank.

Engage in her capacity as one of the World Bank’s key representatives, with outside stakeholders including Global Private Sector Financial Institutions, the financial media, sovereign debt and reserve managers in client countries, as well as ratings agencies.

Collaborate extensively with the Finance Partners throughout the WBG, including with IFC and MIGA, expanding shared approaches, in particular around innovative financing for development and for key new projects.

Mrs Oteh was selected to the position through an International Competitive Search. Her appointment is effective on September 28, 2015.

Jonathan Appoints Peter Obi As Chairman Of SEC

Peter ObiPresident Goodluck Jonathan has appointed the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, as the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Obi’s appointment was announced on Monday.

According to the presidency, his appointment takes immediate effect.

He was the Governor of Anambra State for two terms, between 2006 and 2014.

President Jonathan also approved the confirmation of Mr Mounir Gwarzo as Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Gwarzo, who has been acting as Director-General of the Commission, was appointed to the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission as Executive Commissioner in January, 2013.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan also relieved the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas, of his appointment with immediate effect and approved the appointment of Mr Olufemi Akingbade, as Acting Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the NHIS.

Mr Akingbade, who hails from Ekiti State and holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science as well as a Masters in Business Administration, was the General Manager, ICT in the NHIS until his new appointment.

Integrated West African Capital Market By 2016 Is Feasible – Ndanusa

capital marketThe Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr Suleiman Ndanusa, has said that the realisation of an integrated capital market within the West African region by 2016 is feasible.

Speaking at a meeting in Abuja, Ndanusa said that recent economic realities at the international market should be seen as an opportunity by countries in the region to boost activities in the capital market through the adoption of policies that are in the interest of the sector.

He said harmonisation of market processes and financial literacy remains key to achieving its objective of capital market integration.

Representatives of capital market institutions in the West Africa sub region gathered at a meeting to fast track the development of the market through the adoption of regional protocols.

Besides the decreasing prices of oil at the international market, security threat and differences in currencies among countries in the sub region appear to be a challenge to the attainment of the 2016 deadline.

However, many experts at the gathering highlighted great economic potential for the region through the capital market.

The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission outlined some of the benefits of the creation of an integrated capital market which he said would serve as a catalyst to the growth of other sectors.

The Director-General, West African Monetary Institute, Dr Abwaku Englama, as well as the Chairman/C.E.O, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema, also took turns to give their analyses of the economic potentials and how the dream would be realised in the days ahead.