William Adebayo is the Coordinator of Greenwich Shareholders Association. In this interview, he spoke on some stock market issues as well as penalties on banks imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saying that the fines will keep the bankers alive to their responsibilities.
So far what would say about 2018 financial results of the companies, do you think they meet investors’ expectation?
So, far when you look at the results, especially from the financial institutions, it shows that apart from the fact that they are resilient, it also shows that they have seen hard times in the country. Three of the big banks that have held their Annual General Meetings, AGM, still maintained the dividend they paid in 2017 despite the hard operating environment.
GTBank for instance, maintained its N2.45; Zenith maintained N2.50 payment. So also is United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, which maintained 65 kobo per share dividend. Though this showed that not much progress was made by the banks during the period covered but, at least, they were able to achieve significant progress in rewarding their shareholders. Compare to the environment they operated in during the year, you will discover that they are investor friendly.
What is your view on the series of complaints by other investors on the level of fines imposed by the CBN and National Insurance Deposit Commission on banks?
It is good because it will put the banks on their toes. Nonetheless, I think the regulators should still find a way of reducing the level of penalties and concentrate more on regulation.
One thing you should also realise is that most times, the banks prefer to go against the law where the contravention will result in additional profit and pay fine at the end of the day.
What action should be taken against company’s management that deliberately by-pass laid down rules and regulations?
The truth is that banking business is so profitable that, at times, due to exigencies and profit the banks will make, they deliberately run into paying penalties. They don’t really care much about the penalties.