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Fidelity Bank boss urges investors to take advantage of stock prices



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THE Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has urged investors to take advantage of the current low prices of stocks, saying that it is the better to invest when prices are low.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) to Fidelity Bank, Okonkwo said most investors are still reluctant to buy shares because of their experiences during the last market down turn.

“Now that prices are low, is the best time to invest and as things turn around, people will harvest. Unfortunately, for many Nigerians the only time they knew about the market was when the market was booming, people were putting their money and they lost their money. So many of them are still skeptical about shares,” he said.

He therefore tasked CAMCAN members on investor education, saying there is need for stakeholder education on financial inclusion in order to increase the numbers of domestic investors participating in the market.

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“We need stakeholder education more now because we would be relying on journalists to let the people know, especially those who keep their money out of financialsystem that financial inclusion is not just about people opening accounts in banks. It also includes accessto capitalmarket that is those who do not know about shares. That is not only on opening accounts but also to learn to assess the capital market. This will increase domestic investors’ participation in the equity market,” he added.

Okonkwo disclosed that from the experience of Fidelity Bank in its savings promotion, creating awareness is very important in the financial inclusion drive. “Our promo boosted our retrial business significantly just because awareness was created. And I believe if enough awareness is created about investment opportunities in the market, retail participation will increase significantly,” he said.

The bank grew its deposit base to N829.9 billion in the half year ended June 30, 2016, from N769.6 billion recorded in the same period of 2015, an increase of 7.8 per cent. Its net loans rose impressively by 23 per cent from N578.2 billion to N711.0 billion, demonstrating its unwavering commitment towards supporting critical sectors of the economy.