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nerPostTitle">NOW IS THE TIME TO INVEST IN THE CAPITAL MARKET, SAYS PETERSIDE Written by furtune Business Mar 2, 2010

Now is the time to invest in the capital market, says Peterside

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo
March 2, 2010 12:51AM Atedo Peterside, chairman, StanbicIBTC says Nigeria is struggling between good and evil.

The on-going financial sector reforms and revelation of the true state of health of Nigeria's banking industry, makes a strong case for investments, Atedo Peterside, chairman of the Stanbic IBTC Bank, said during the 'Stanbic IBTC 2010 Investor's Conference' in Lagos on Monday.

The three-day conference is focused exclusively on the Nigerian economy with emphasis on the capital market. The last two years have been turbulent for financial markets around the world, including Nigeria. The Nigeria Stock Exchange's (NSE) all share index has recorded double digit negative returns in the last two years, crashing from an all-time high of 66, 731.20 in March 2008.

With a current all share index of 22,985.00, investors seeking for long-term returns can venture into the capital.

'Accordingly, in tune with the theme of this conference: 'Connect. Inform. Optimise,' we urge all participants to connect with each other and network as much as possible; obtain information about your investment targets, and please remember that Stanbic IBTC has an excellent research team with award winning analysts and robust reports available to assist you to decide on your investment priorities.'

Major crossroad
But Mr. Peterside could not resist the urge to comment on the present political reality in the country and the uncertainty that it has generated both locally, and on the foreign scene.

'When the idea of this conference was first discussed some months ago, I never imagined that the range of questions from the overseas participants would include several with a political slant,' he said. 'As we all know, these questions were prompted by recent political developments. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide answers to some of the most pertinent political questions. I can however, assure you that many of us are asking these same 'hard' questions to key members of the Executive and Legislative arms of our government and we promise to give you meaningful feedback as soon as we have credible answers…

'My personal belief is that Nigeria is currently at a 'major crossroad.' The crossroad I speak of is in the political arena and in some ways it is about a struggle between Good and Evil, a struggle between the Truth and Lies.'

But he assured investors that 'the truth will soon prevail.'

'The foundations upon which Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited built its business model from day one was a desire to attempt to tell investors the truth at all times regarding the things that we do know and to be humble enough to admit what we do not know… we are in the business of attempting to guide investors and interacting with them continuously. We are however, not in the business of deliberately deceiving or misinforming them.'

A major player
Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers is owned by the Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of the South African-owned Standard Bank Group, and is said to account for over 20 percent stock market in 2009.

The bank, through its wholly owned stock broking and asset management subsidiary, IBTC Asset Management Limited, has several excellent mutual funds including the IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund, which is Nigeria's largest mutual fund with a net asset value in excess of N25 billion (as at December 2007). It is the only bank that has a direct subsidiary that is a pension fund administrator, through the market leading IBTC Pension Managers Limited (IPML).

As at 30th September, 2009, indicated profitability declined to N3.7 billion, a 65 percent decrease from the same period for 2008. For capital adequacy, the Stanbic IBTC Plc has a 33 percentage ratio, compared to the 10 percent statutory requirement by the CBN.