NOVA Merchant Bank
Limited yesterday commenced
operations in Lagos. A newly
licensed merchant bank with
a focus on wholesale banking,
investment banking and asset
management, has formally
opened its doors for business.
Speaking at the launch, the
promoter of the Bank and
its Chairman of the Board of
Directors, Mr. Phillips Oduoza,
says “Banking is changing
globally with the emergence of
new entrants and the infusion
of non-traditional business
models leveraging advances in
technology. We believe Nigeria
should not be left behind.
Therefore, NOVA is here to
bring a new experience in the
banking industry. That was
why we selected the name,
NOVA, which means new. We
want to do new things.”
Speaking further, Mr.
Oduoza reaffirmed his belief
that the number of merchant
banks in Nigeria is still very
low and there is opportunity
for more, considering the key
role merchant banks play. “The
major international financial
institutions involved in
investment banking are doing
very well. Today, we do not
have any of such institutions
in Nigeria and this is the space
NOVA plans to occupy not only
in Nigeria but across Africa.”
Speaking on the mission and
services of the bank, Oduoza
said: “On investment banking
we are looking at mergers and
acquisition, advisory services,
intermediating venture capital
activities coming into the
country looking for where to
invest.
Banking hall “What we have
in Nigeria today is that there
are lots of companies that have
been challenged by what had
happened in the past. Out
there in Europe and in the
United States, there are various
funds and investors who are
somewhat apprehensive about
Africa. “They have monies
they want to invest in this
market because yields in their
countries are low. So, we look
to intermediate on those flows
and bring them to this market.
So, those are some of the things
we would be doing in this
market.”
Speaking further, Oduoza
said that Nova Merchant Bank
is poised to expand the frontiers
of banking in Nigeria with
innovation and technology,
stressing this informed the
choice of its name. He said:
“The reason why we chose
Nova, is because we want to
come in with new ideas, fresh
thinking, fresh technology
and be able to change the way
customers are served. “Our key focus is in wholesale banking, which is
corporate and investment banking.
Dwelling on the strength of the new
bank, Mr. Oduoza, who until recently was
the GMD/CEO of a leading pan-African
Bank, noted that NOVA is equipped
with talented people and cutting-edge
technology, necessary to deliver its
mandate as a merchant bank. “We have
structured our products and designed our
business model around merchant banking.
We have carved a niche for ourselves and
we believe strongly we will deliver in this
area,” he promised the customers.
On corporate governance, he assured the
highest standards are maintained at NOVA.
“There are three executive directors and six
“We are projected to spend an additional
3.1 billion US dollars, if we are to follow
the existence approach of developing
identification in Nigeria. The incredible
benefit of this programme is at stake and
we must get it right this time,’’ Osinbajo
said.
The vice president further said the major
challenge facing identity programme was
the lack of a working record system and
practical approaches.
He said changes had been made to the
process of enrolling on the digital national
identity to ease the procedure, which
included reduction of identity attributes
from 75 to 10.
Osinbajo emphasised on the gains of the
digital identity number, stating that the
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would
easily enforce traffic offences through
unified identity system.
He added that bank transaction would
also become easier, saying that the benefit
derivable from the technology cannot be
quantified.
He said: “it covers over all security
benefits in an environment of current
anonymity’’.
Mr Aliyu Aziz, Director-General,
National Identity Management
Commission (NIMC), had called for
collaboration among agencies handling
non-executive directors. So, we have twice
the number of non-executive directors
as executive directors. Out of those six
directors, we have four independent
directors. These board members are well
accomplished and capable of independent
opinion.”
Declaring the Bank open, Alhaji Aliko
Dangote, the Special Guest of Honour,
commended the promoter of the Bank
who he considered to be a thorough bred
professional with a strong track record of
achievements in the banking industry. He
expressed his confidence in the quality of
the board of directors of the Bank and the
senior management team.
The Managing Director of the Bank,
data to help actualise the eco-system approach
of national identity.
He said the digital identity was meant to
give every Nigerian a unique identity, boost
development and promote security in the
country.
“The plan of giving every Nigerian a unique
identity within a period of three to five years
programme can only happen if we all work
together. Nigeria is a very special country where
people without identity live well and eat three
square meals and there has been a lot of issues
related to this identity.
“Policies developed must be articulated and
refined in such a way that government agencies
will work together, share infrastructure and
investment to serve their customers who are
potentially the same citizens and residents.
“We should give Nigeria a world class identity
management, infrastructure, which will boost
security and socio-economic transformation,’’
he said.
Also, Mr Mahmood Mohammed, Chairman,
House Committee on National ID commended
the Federal Government for the huge amount
spent on the project so far.
Mohammed, therefore, assured the
stakeholders of the National Assembly’s support
in actualising the digital national identity. He
also called on similar agencies to work together
and ensure a unified database and identity for
Nigerians.
Chinedu Ikwudinma further explained the
strategic direction of the Bank stating NOVA will
focus on wholesale banking by offering trade
services, project financing, cash management,
corporate solutions, advisory services etc.
In investment banking, the Bank would be
looking at mergers and acquisition, advisory
services, securities and trading, wealth and asset
management as well as debt and equity capital
management.
The bank corporate headquarters located at 23
Kofo Abayomi Street Victoria Island, Lagos.
At an impressive ceremony attended by
business leaders and industrialists, the Bank
unveiled its objective to re-establish merchant
banking as a key economic driver by providing
long-term funds and advisory services.

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