BusinessDay

NGX Group in transition period – Kurfi

An investment analyst, market operator and shareholder in the NGX Group, Garba Kurfi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of APT Securities Limited, has commended the management of the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group) for their handling of the company’s transition to a for-profit entity whilst expressing confidence in the firm’s traction.

In a Television interview, Kurfi stated that the NGX Group has been able to improve its turnover by “more than a 100percent” and profitability by “almost 100percent” in its 2022 second-quarter financials. He said: “During the pre-Annual General Meeting, our representative, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), mutually agreed with the NGX Group’s explanation on most of the issues on ground. We have seen the financials and then don’t forget that we are in transition, so the financials are understandable”.

“The market has been on a downslide since 2008, but recently we have seen some positive changes and we expect this trend to continue. So there’s no cause for alarm.” Kurfi noted that the expansion carried out after the former Lagos Stock Exchange became the Nigerian Stock Exchange saw the opening of offices across the country.

“The changes that have been brought by technology allow trading to happen from anywhere in the world. Once the market is open, it opens for all. I have clients that trade from Germany, Canada etc. These changes allow us to be internationally competitive. I believe as the transition continues, the company will be able to phase out some of these expenses and increasingly adopt their use of technology to make the market even more efficient. These changes cannot happen overnight.”

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Kurfi also expatiated on the plan of the shareholders to implement long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) for NGX Group. According to him, this will help incentivise the employees and management to create more value. “The shareholders had agreed to place 200 million shares in trustee for future allotment for LTIPs and Deferred Bonus Plans (DBPs). If you want more money, you want to give them incentives and that is what obtains globally. NGX Group is not different from any other company. We want them to perform and the more they make the money, the better for all of us,” he added.

Kurfi then went on to say the company should be free to raise as much capital as it wants as shareholders want the company to expand beyond Nigeria and become a continental exchange group. “The largest bank in Nigeria today is the largest because they keep making acquisitions upon acquisitions. We don’t want NGX Group to remain just a Nigerian entity. It can acquire more exchanges within the West African region and the rest of the continent. It should become African leading exchange group,” he concluded.

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