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CAPITAL MARKET STUDIES IN VARSITIES

By NBF News

Modern economies are knowledge-driven. Almost always, some innovations or courses not yet explored in universities' curricula could become niche strategies that leverage the economy of a particular country. The ability of market operators, especially in emerging markets, to embrace new ideas can drive profits, growth and, perhaps, be the much sought after antidote to incompetence and misconduct in the market.

It is in this regard that we heartily welcome the readiness of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to facilitate the establishment of capital market curriculum in our universities and other institutions. The idea is to deepen and create capital market culture across the country.

The idea was first initiated by the former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, with the University of Lagos selected as the forerunner in capital market studies. But the project was stalled, largely due to political intrigues at the institution. The idea has now been revived.

According to the Director-General of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh, arrangements for the commencement of the programme have reached an advanced stage with the authorities of three first generation universities, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Justifying the reason for capital market studies as part of university curriculum, the SEC boss said the course would help broaden investors' knowledge about the operations of the market so that they would not be easily hoodwinked by fraudulent market operators.

Nigerians do not need much persuasion to accept that the impact of globalization on the economy and the recent unprecedented happenings in the Nigeria capital market, have made it expedient for capital market to become a specialized course of study. But, the curriculum must measure up to required standard. For the course to be worthwhile, it must be taught by the most qualified professionals in the field, both within the universities, and outside. The assistance of corporate organisations such as banks should be enlisted in order for the curriculum to succeed. Banks and other financial institutions, as well as entrepreneurs, can contribute to the success by endowing chairs in the three selected universities.

We urge these universities to design course content on the capital market that will stand the test of time. Focus should be on core areas such as investing in the capital market and its risks, expecting the unexpected, developing contingency plans, share manipulation and insider dealings, among other areas of interest. Undoubtedly, things are changing fast, and capital markets in emerging economies such as Nigeria should be prepared to support capital market studies. The idea of introducing the course in our universities and other institutions of higher learning could not have come at a better time.

But, it must be well thought through before it takes off. In economies such as ours where investors are value conscious but less knowledgeable on the nitty-gritty of the capital market, proper research on how to restore confidence in the money market through education and manpower training have become critical.

Capital market education is a strategic imperative which requires a comprehensive curriculum run by competent academic and professional personnel. Mastering the nuances and intricacies of the capital market has become, in today's world, a currency of global competition. This fact must not be lost on the regulatory body, SEC, and the authorities of the universities concerned.