By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

The Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) has said it is looking to introduce a strict ethical standard for commodity brokers.

The integrity and professionalism make up one of the components of the Memorandum of Understanding jointly signed in Abuja on Tuesday by CIS and AFEX, a platform that harnesses Africa’s commodities and talent to build shared wealth and prosperity.

Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony, the President and Chairman of Council, CIS, Mr Tunde Amolegbe, said: “Integrity, ethics and professionalism run through every single activity we do. Of course, that is also what is expected as we now partner with AFEX, and we now bring on board, commodity brokers into our institute.

“The standard which we have set for other professionals playing in other marketplaces is not going to be watered down. As a matter of fact, I will make bold to say that it is probably going to be tightened even more in the case of the commodity brokers, and dealers in this market to ensure that some of the unforeseen circumstances that have arisen in other markets do not find their way into this market.”

Amolegbe said the relationship between the CIS and AFEX was anchored on the need to expose commodity brokers to professional global standards through continuous training.

He stated, “I am sure that AFEX itself already has structures in place to ensure that the integrity of all the transactions that is carried out here meets up to the standard expected by the Stock Exchange Commission.

“So, our expectation is that the practitioners too would practice at a level of integrity that bears marks of professionalism under the umbrella of CIS.”

By the MOU, commodity brokers are subject to compliance with some requirements, including participation in the regulatory body’s professional development programmes.

“My expectation is that, as certified and recognized commodity brokers, they will be able to practice under a code of governance and practice that meets international standards,” Amolegbe added.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of AFEX, Ayodeji Balogun, said the partnership will support his company’s efforts in facilitating the transitioning from commodities to capital for shared prosperity both for the producer, the retail investor, and the participating investment market.

According to him, “We do measure all our transactions and instruments against the Sustainability Development Goals. So, for every investment asset we have, we do tie it to what problem is it solving and what quantum of that solution is it providing in the light of the UN SDGs.

“For everything we do, we measure ourselves along five lines; ending hunger, ending poverty, gender equity, responsible consumption, and a decent job. We all agree these five things are essentially the crux of the problem in Nigeria. So, the more we can rally the capital market towards solving these issues, the better we have a country and the more impact we make as a market,” he said.

On the impact of the partnership on the broader economy, Balogun stated: “Agriculture in Nigeria is significantly underfunded, and that is primarily because everywhere else in the world, nobody buys commodities today. Everyone buys futures, but until we have a commodities exchange, we won’t be able to deliver that.

“So, we see an N2 trillion gap in agricultural financing, and we are definitely positioned to solve that problem. To achieve the expected result is where the intersection between the commodity sector itself and also the capital market and the Stock Exchange Commission makes that happen.”

He noted that there’s so much that an individual investor, particularly the diaspora investor, can do; stressing that the stockbroking community and the investment public are an excellent distribution channel to be able to make individual investors participate and enjoy returns and grow wealth.

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