Stakeholders say asset owners, investment managers’ alignment will drive Responsible Investment


By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos, Dec. 1, 2020 The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) say relationships between asset owners and investment managers must be healthy for sustainable investment to thrive.

They made the assertion at the “Responsible Investing: Challenges and Opportunities for the Nigerian Investor” webinar, co-hosted by the NSE and PRI on Tuesday in Lagos.

Ms Nichole Martene, Head, Africa and Middle East of PRI, during her presentation said that the organisation was established to create more sustainable financial systems globally.

Martene said that though there were challenges, the NSE was ahead of its counterparts in most African countries in terms of developing a sustainable investment environment.

According to her, Responsible Investment is a strategy and practice to incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in investment decision and active ownership.

She said that Responsible Investment (RI) would help asset owners to maximise their returns in a way that was sustainable and responsible in the long run.

She expressed the belief that capacity building on responsible investment data, tools and opportunities should be the core of exchanges to educate investors and asset owners.

The Head, Shared Services Division of NSE, Bola Adeeko, said that there was the need for a stronger concerted approach to leverage individuals and organisations to forge ahead leaving no one behind.

Adeeko said that NSE was committed to playing it’s role for sustainable economic growth as well as ensuring sustainable business practices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In spite of the prevailing finance shortcomings, COVID-19 pandemic presents unforeseen challenges that have abruptly disrupted the implementation efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is clear that we need to adopt a more radical approach to move the needle, we need a stronger and more concerted collaborative approach that leverages the unique strength of individuals and organisations to forge transformative pathways that create a world where no one is left behind.

“As a member of the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSEI) and World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the NSE is committed to playing it’s role for sustainable economic growth of ensuring sustainable business practices,” he said.

“We recognise the importance and urgency to rewire investment process to ensure that capital acts for the long term by create innovative financial structures that better serves sustainable businesses and the economy at large.

“Our collaboration with PRI will serve as one of the pathways to achieving this objectives. We will continue to partner with PRI in engagements to build a better understanding on the most pressing challenges and opportunities for responsible investments of ESG comparatives in Nigeria.”

Adeeko also said that such engagements wold help to foster a robost and healthy financial ecosystem.

Mr Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, NSE, said that Nigeria must urgently create friendly policy framework that will attract Foreign Direct Investments.

Chiemeka said: “We have been active in improving corporate governance among listed companies.

“The corporate governance rating system of the NSE is designed to rate companies listed on the NSE based on their corporate governance and anti-corruption culture, thereby improving the over all business culture and trust in Nigeria’s capital market and business practices.

“Nigeria urgently needs to create friendly policy framework that will attract foreign direct investments.

“The exchange will continue to support the market through initiatives such as the collaboration with PRI to ensure that key market stakeholders are positioned to leverage the big shift to the responsible investments.”

Ms Anastasia Guba, Director, Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa of PRI, said that RI would create a sustainable market and a prosperous world.

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