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Industry experts, thought leaders celebrate FITC 40th anniversary

Industry experts, thought leaders celebrate FITC 40th anniversary

FITC, the world-class, innovation-led, and technology-driven knowledge institution which provides learning, advisory services and policy advocacy to the Nigerian financial service sector held its 40th anniversary celebratory event recently in Lagos. The two-prong event started with an anniversary summit themed: ‘Towards a Shared Prosperity in Africa; The Role of the Financial System’.

The hybrid summit was a gathering of international financial experts, policy makers, development economists, thought leaders and other key private and public sector stakeholders within the financial system. It was broadly inclusive with over one thousand participants from various African countries of diverse background in attendance.

The Summit had a line-up of speakers and resource persons that include The Deputy Governor of the South Africa Reserve Bank & CEO and the CEO of the Prudential Authority, Segun Ogunsanya, MD/CEO, Airtel Africa; Tunde Hassan Odukale, Managing Director, Leadway Assurance Company Limited; Uzoma Dozie, CEO, Sparkle; Ireti Samuel – Ogbu, MD/CEO, Citi Bank, and the summit moderator, Folakemi Fatogbe, CEO/Founder, The De-Risking Lab.

In her welcome address, The Managing Director/CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, noted, “ the FITC 40th Anniversary theme, ‘Towards a Shared Prosperity in Africa; The Role of the Financial System’ is imperative at this time considering the disproportionate impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on several vulnerable groups, coupled with the economic inequalities that have exacerbated across the African continent” According to Malize, “the situation has triggered an urgency, requiring the financial services sector to play the critical role of supporting not just speedy economic recovery, but also ensuring an inclusive and shared opportunities towards wealth creation and prosperity for African countries and its citizens leveraging financial services innovation within the banking and payment systems”.

In her opening remarks, The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Chairman Board of Directors, FITC, Aishah Ahmad, applauded the Management of FITC for providing knowledge and capacity building solutions for the Nigerian banking and financial industry in the last 40 years. Ahmad said FITC has continued to be prominent and relevant in the Nigerian financial system. “FITC has transformed in response, from a small fledgling institution in 1981, and has today, repositioned itself as a strong contender for knowledge solutions in a markedly evolved financial system – leveraging its institutional memory, significant brand equity, technology and exceptional people to remain resilient and relevant,” she said. She lauded the innovativeness and commitment of the Managing Director/CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, in making the centre a reference point in global learning solution, capacity building and advisory services.

Ahmad re-echoed the strong potentials of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with emphasis on the intra-Africa trade opportunities. She highlighted the pilot of the Pan African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) as key growth drivers for the continent from the short to medium term making the African Financial system a catalyst for driving growth and development opportunities for the African continent. A key reason the FITC Anniversary Summit focused on Africa and the opportunities inherent for the financial system is germane, according to her.

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In his Keynote address, Kuben Naidoo, Deputy Governor & CEO, Prudential Authority congratulated FITC on a major milestone of 40 years. He noted that prosperity is long-term accumulation of assets that support the meeting of individual, business, or country’s goals. Alleviating poverty and inequality have become a fundamental area of focus all over the world. Countries with a high inequality index are undeveloped and have weak and fragile economies in comparison to other countries where the index of inequality is low. Therefore, achieving shared prosperity is a primary concern of several governments in the world not only to boost the socio-economic situation of individuals but to reach a high inclusive growth across board.

A high point of the day was the Anniversary Dinner and Inaugural FAFE Financial services award night which held at the same venue. The event was an epitome of class, pomp, glamour, and pageantry as industry leaders gathered en-masse to celebrate the heritage brand that FITC is. Leaders in the financial services sector including Regulators, Bank CEOs, Directors, Captains of Industries, Financial services experts and thought leaders and front-runners in banks and other financial institutions all graced the occasion. Also present were global business leaders, international financial experts, policy makers, development economists, thought leaders in other sectors as well as key private and public sector stakeholders within the financial system and other critical sectors in and beyond Africa. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the FITC new corporate identity/logo and the recognition of organizations who emerged winners of the FITC Award for Excellence, FAFE Awards 2021.

Speaking at the anniversary dinner and award event, the excited Managing Director/CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize stated “For forty years, FITC has powered the Nigerian Financial service system. I am very honored for the privilege of leading our great institution into this new transformational phase. And I am delighted about what FITC has become. Our 40th anniversary reiterates the milestone we have achieved as we celebrate our organization’s rich heritage. It is indeed a privilege to lead FITC through today’s digital transformation journey, bringing innovation into all we do. Through visionary leadership we have recorded great success these two years. Our success is hinged upon our innovative learning and advisory programmes, our cutting-edge learning platforms, smart processes, dynamic and high performing people and most importantly, our repositioned and reinvigorated brand, she said.

Speaking on the refreshed logo and the new FITC brand, “Our new brand logo speaks to our renewed energy, our dynamism, our agility, and our highly collaborative brand. With our reengineered organization, clearly established capabilities for leading change and innovation in a technologically driven world, FITC is creating the future!,’’ Malize enthused.

The FITC dinner, awards and logo unveil event witnessed a huge turnout of dignitaries who came out to show support for the brand. Notable dignitaries at the event include: The Honourable Commissioner for Establishments, Training & Pensions, Ajibola Ponnle, representing the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu; Honourable Commissioner for Energy & Mineral Resources, Engineer Olalere Odusote; Director General Operations, Central Bank of Nigeria – Adebisi Shonubi; Aishah Ahmad , DG, Financial System Stability, CBN and Chairman, FITC Board; Haruna Ibrahim , Director Banking Supervision, CBN; Ade Ayeyemi, Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank; Wole Adeniyi, MD/CEO, Stanbic IBTC; Emeka Okonkwo, MD/CEO, Union Bank of Nigeria; Ademola Adebise, MD/CEO, Wema Bank; Larbie Michael Larbie, MD Rand Merchant Bank; Yemisi Edun, MD/CEO FCMB; Bukola Smith, MD/CEO FSDH Merchant Bank; Nath Ude, MD/CEO, Nova Merchant Bank; Athanasius Ugbome, Senior Assistant to the Honourable Minister of State (Special Duties); Cyril Okoroigwe, CEO/ Publisher, RegTech Africa; Chinyere Almona, DG, LCCI; Tunde Lemo, former Deputy Governor, FSS, CBN; Oladimeji Alo, MD, Excel Professional Services; Austin Enajemo-Isire, Board Chairman, NSITF; Seye Awojobi, Registrar, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Chidi Obiejesi, National Treasurer, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM); Taiwo Ganiyat Olusesi, Registrar/CEO, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN); Bamidele Alimi, DG/CEO, Institute of Directors (IoD); Oguche Agudah, CEO, Pension Operators of Nigeria (Penop); Fela Durotoye, CEO, Gemstone Group as well as the Management and Board of FITC amongst others.

Winners of the maiden edition of the FITC Award for Excellence, FAFE Award ’21 were also announced. It would be recalled that the FAFE Award was inaugurated in November 2021 as part of FITC’s 40th anniversary activities. The award initiative is aimed at recognizing individuals and organizations who have contributed to the development of the Financial Services Sector, through innovative service offerings and initiatives around service excellence, product innovation, employee engagement, regulatory excellence, sustainability, and impact.

The FAFE Awards ’21 winners include Guaranty Trust Bank Plc who won the Product Innovation Award; Zenith Bank Plc, who won the Service Excellence Award; FCMB took home the Financial Inclusion Award, while the Best Mobile Banking App Award was won by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

Likewise, Employee Engagement Award was won by Sterling Bank Plc; Non-Interest Banking Award went to Jaiz Bank, while the Regulatory Excellence Award went to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

For the Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) Awards, Accion Microfinance Bank took home the Service Excellence Award, while the Product Innovation Award was won by LAPO MFB.

In the Fintech Awards Category, the Challenger Brand Award went to Piggyvest while the Product Innovation Award went to Paystack.

The Development Bank Award category was won by Bank of Industry (BoI), while the Insurance Bank Award went to Leadway Assurance Company. Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers emerged winners in the Pension Award Category.