By Babajide Komolafe
Nova Merchant Bank said it has designed investment banking products that will help Nigerian businesses attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
Chairman, Nova Merchant Bank, Mr. Phillips Oduoza disclosed this during an interview with journalists in Lagos.
Speaking on the mission and services of the bank, which is set to commence operations as the fifth merchant bank in Nigeria, Oduoza said: “On investment banking we are looking at mergers and acquisition, advisory services, intermediating venture capital activities coming into the country looking for where to invest.
“What we have in Nigeria today is that there are lots of companies that have been challenged by what had happened in the past. Out there in Europe and in the United States, there are various funds and investors who are somewhat apprehensive about Africa.
“They have monies they want to invest in this market because yields in their countries are low. So, we look to intermediate on those flows and bring them to this market. So, those are some of the things we would be doing in this market.”
Speaking further, Oduoza said that Nova Merchant Bank is poised to expand the frontiers of banking in Nigeria with innovation and technology, stressing this informed the choice of its name.
He said: “The reason why we chose Nova, is because we want to come in with new ideas, fresh thinking, fresh technology and be able to change the way customers are served.
“Our key focus is in wholesale banking, which is corporate and investment banking.
So, we want to bring about innovativeness in these areas and we believe that the industry has reached that stage where is needs another quantum leap to take it to the next level.”
Oduoza noted that there are still enormous opportunities for banking business in Nigeria, notwithstanding the number of banks in the country.
He said: “Now, in terms of merchant banking, I think the opportunities are enormous. We also think that private equity has a lot of opportunities. If you look around, there are so many opportunities we have not tapped into and I believe that as banks continue strengthen their risk management, strengthen their personnel, we would start going deep into all these opportunities.
Today, we see the foreign banks come into Nigeria without footprints here, they collect investment mandate and go ahead to execute them offshore. For instance, there is a major telecommunication company that is to be sold today and it is a foreign bank that is an adviser. We have seen the banks that the central bank intervened and when they were sold, it was the foreign institutions that acted as advisers. These are the roles that we in Nova would like to play. We would like to be the face of investment banking in Nigeria.”