Subomi Balogun, the renowned founder and former chairman of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), has passed away. The banking icon, who celebrated his 89th birthday in March, died in London on Friday morning.
Balogun’s journey to success began at Igbobi College, where he received his education before pursuing law at the London School of Economics. Following his graduation in June 1959, he was called to the English Bar in December of the same year.
His passion for financial legislation and instruments led him to undergo specialized training sponsored by the Western Regional Government in Whitehall and the City of London. He honed his expertise in legal drafting and became well-versed in financial legislation and agreements.
Balogun’s legal career saw him serve as a Crown Counsel in the Ministry of Justice of Western Nigeria and later as an Assistant Parliamentary Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice in Lagos. However, the January 1966 coup prompted a shift in his career trajectory towards the banking sector.
Joining the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB), Balogun spent nine years as Principal Counsel and Company Secretary, which sparked his interest in banking. Further expanding his knowledge, he received training at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and its private sector affiliate, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in Washington DC. He also sought guidance from prominent stockbrokers, investment banks, and merchant banks in London and New York.
Balogun’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish Icon Securities, a merchant banking subsidiary of NIDB, where he served as the director of operations. In December 1977, he founded City Securities Limited, becoming the first Nigerian institution to combine an issuing house and stockbroking business under one entity. This marked the initial step toward realizing his vision of establishing a merchant bank. Subsequently, he founded the first wholly Nigerian-owned merchant bank, First City Merchant Bank Limited.
In a transformative move, FCMB transitioned from a private limited liability company to a public limited liability company on July 15, 2004. The bank was subsequently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on December 21, 2004.
Balogun’s remarkable achievements were recognized with numerous awards and honours, including the American Biographical Institute Inc’s Distinguished Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to the development of investment banking. Additionally, he received the Degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the University of Ibadan, acknowledging his exceptional accomplishments in the field of law and his significant contributions to Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
He was a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and served as a council member in several multinational Chambers of Commerce. Balogun held several prestigious traditional titles among the Ijebu people, further exemplifying his cultural significance and recognition.
His vision, pioneering efforts, and enduring contributions will be remembered as a testament to his remarkable legacy.