Ali is a young Nigerian who just completed his mandatory one year service after school. He was able to save up a tangible amount. He is worried that he might spend the money organising his home-coming since he was the life of the party. Ali also thought of leaving the money in his account but remembered how Nigerian banks will take their cut through charges.
He remembered hearing of stock investment while serving (though, he didn’t take it seriously). Ali asked his friend, Taye if he knew anything about the Nigerian stock market as he is thinking of investing in stocks. Taye, in his shallow knowledge, told Ali that he will watch his money disappear, that it’s another scam. In Taye’s own words, “what are they buy and what are they selling? If you put your money you will watch it disappear, you can ask those who invested and lost their money in 2008 when they said the market crashed. When they are done scamming you they will say market don crash.”
Ali decided to spend the money on partying instead of losing part to bank charges or the stock market. He later met Kufre, his old classmate who is into stock investment. Kufre told him everything he needed to know about the stock market. At that point, Ali wished he had met Kufre two weeks earlier. Maybe he would have invested his savings in the stock market and be counting his blessing but it was too late.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has its head office in Lagos Island, in Nigeria’s commercial capital. A stone throw from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN)’s Lagos office, much of the traffic is from the surrounding offices. The staff are courteous and there’s literally one activity or the other every other day.
Despite shareholder education by the NSE and several stockbroking firms, Nigeria’s youth clearly do not understand the workings of the market or see it as a profitable venture. Only 2 respondents out of the 15 surveyed stated that they were investing in the stock market.
Nigeria’s youthful population which one would expect to be active participants are no where to be found. The ignorance about the exchange is shocking and cuts across all demographies. University educated, SSCE, Male. Female. Those located within and outside the state.
Clutching I phones and sipping expensive liquor, Nigeria’s young middle-class label the NSE as a place for the rich when the very devices they own could easily get them bluechip shares.
Nairametrics wondered why and sought the opinions of some youths to get their opinions, experiences and biases about the NSE.
So why are young people not investing in the stock market? The responses are revealing.
George is in his early 30s and based in Abuja runs an interior décor firm for a living. He does not invest in the stock market because he has little understanding of it and does not think it is lucrative.
“I don’t understand how the stock market works. I get alerts all day from a business blog about trades but I don’t know what it means. I would rather invest in a business that would give me returns and I can see how it works.”
Faith, 34 is based in Bayelsa state and runs a catering business. A graduate of Banking and Finance, she surprisingly is not keen on investing in the stock market.
“I don’t know many people who are investing in the stock market or have made money from it. They taught us a bit about it when I was in school, but aside that I haven’t meet many people who invested in it. Even the lecturers that taught about it, did not tell us any good things about investing.”
Ado brings in electronics in the country for a living. He shuttles between Lagos and Ondo State and earns between ₦200,000 to ₦400,000 a month. While he owns a few shares which his parents bought for him, he has not bothered to invest in the market or follow up with e-registration.
“Bros. The dividends I used to get where small. Now because of the e-dividend thing, I don’t even get them anymore. I don’t have the time to be going to the bank because of ₦1,000 or ₦2,000. I make more money from my business so I would rather put more funds than the stock market.”
Nomzy is 25 and a fashion designer. While she makes between ₦50,000 to ₦100,000 every month, she does not invest in the stock market because she needs to be enlightened.
“I don’t invest in the stock market because I need to be enlightened. I think one needs lots of money to start investing. All I see on the TV and read in the Newspapers are millions and billions. I don’t have that kind of money.”
Gbenga, an Engineer earns about ₦200,000 a month but feels he does not have enough money to invest in the stock market. He would rather invest in units of a money market fund.
“I don’t have money to invest in the stock market. It is for big people. I put aside N10,000 a month in a money market fund.”
Anu is 32 and bakes cakes for a living. Based in Lagos, she earns about ₦300,000 to ₦500,000 a month but investing in the stock market is a no-go area.
“I don’t understand anything about the stock market. I am not very good with numbers and all I see and hear on the TV and Radio are big big numbers. I would rather invest in my business or maybe buy a plot of land.”
Tina is in her mid-30s and a medical doctor based in Abuja. While she earns about ₦300,000 a month, she has no intentions of investing in the stock market anytime soon.
“My parents invested in the stock market, but now regret it. The share price has crashed compared to how much they invested in at the beginning. I would rather do foreign exchange or maybe a mutual fund when I have cash.”
Ola is 32 and runs a mechanic workshop in Lagos. He has a bitter experience about the stock market and is not keen on any further investment in it.
“Omo. This stock market thing did not pay me. Since 2005, when I last invested in it, I have not seen much gain. I have not recovered the money I invested in it. The bankers that asked me to buy the shares have since moved on. So what was the benefit? My certificates are gathering dust in my cupboard, I don’t know what to do with them.”
Ikechukwu, 27 sells spare parts in Ladipo. He earns about ₦10,000 to ₦30,000 daily. He knows little or nothing about the stock market and is not interested.
“I don’t know anything about the stock market, so I don’t invest in it. Can I get my money now now. I would rather invest in a business that I can be seeing money on a daily basis.”
Omotoke is a fashion blogger and studied law in the University. She makes anywhere between ₦100,000 to ₦400,000 monthly. She does not invest in the stock market because she does not understand it.
“I don’t know much about the stock market. If someone can explain it to me, may be I would invest in it. I mostly keep cash using these fintech apps then I buy dollars because I travel a lot.”
What needs to be done
Education is key in everything. The NSE and stockbroking firms need to put a lot more effort not only educating young people but doing it in a manner that they can understand.
Stockbroking firms may have embraced social media platforms with enthusiasm, but merely to disseminate information produced in the traditional format.
The government also has a role to play by reforming the country’s educational syllabus in line with modern trends. It’s shocking that graduates of law, and banking and finance have no clear understanding of the stock market.