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SEC advocates tech adoption to deepen financial inclusion

By Helen Oji
09 December 2021   |   3:45 am
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called on capital market stakeholders to leverage technology and expand access to financial services and deepen inclusion.

Director-General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called on capital market stakeholders to leverage technology and expand access to financial services and deepen inclusion.

Addressing journalists in Lagos at the weekend, Director General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda, said technology plays a critical role in expanding access to affordable financial services.

Yuguda, who was represented by the Commissioner for Operations at SEC, Tayo Obisan, said aside from expanding access to affordable financial services, it also provides cost effective means of reaching the untapped market especially in the rural areas.

According to him, there are over 191 million and140 million active mobile subscribers and active data subscribers respectively in Nigeria as at October 3, 2021.

Therefore, he underscored the need for participants in the market to leverage technology to close the huge financial inclusion gap that currently exist in the market and bring the unbanked into the financial space

He pointed out that closing this gap would help reduce the cost of providing financial transactions as it involves little or no infrastructure cost and offers the highest outreach.

“Leveraging technology to offer financial service has an advantage over traditional means because it breaks down geographical constraints. It also simplifies the means of serving existing customers for example through the use of mobile banking agents to perform banking transactions.

“Financial institutions are increasingly using electronic channels to onboard clients and address customers queries and bring financial product offerings to the prospective users.”

On measures adopted so far by the commission to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria, Yuguda said the commission is currently working with Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to accelerate financial inclusion to collective investment schemes.

In addition, he said the commission is proposing a hackathon challenge to help develop a comprehensive suite of mobile internet-based services targeted at having an end-to-end process of the entire capital market.

Deputy Director HOD Securities and Investment Services of SEC, Abdulkadir Abbas said there is need for an active collaboration of all market stakeholders to help drive the initiative.

According to him, adoption of technology can help open up the capital market and bridge the gap of the unbanked which has created room for the proliferation of unregistered outfits that have continued to swindle investors of their resources in the market.

He said: “Average age of participation in the capital market is 53 years whereas the power is in the youths. We need to bring these youths to play on the capital market.

“We need market infrastructure to drive this initiative and some tools to help onboard people in the rural areas. We have these requirements, it is the starting point,” he said.

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