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Meet Tomi Somefun, the woman in charge of Unity Bank Plc 

As is the case all over the world, there are few women heading top executive positions in Nigeria’s corporate space.

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Nigerian CEOs, What led to fire outbreak - Unity Bank, Unity Bank Plc makes new appointment , Unity Bank introduces USSD code in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo languages

As is the case all over the world, there are few women heading top executive positions in Nigeria’s corporate space. While this is something to worry about, it becomes even more worrisome when those few women who manage to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, find themselves caught up in some unfortunate circumstances which tend to overshadow their competence and accomplishments.

This is the story of Mrs. Tomi Somefun, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s troubled Unity Bank Plc and our corporate personality of the week. Get to know her.

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About Mrs. Oluwatomi Ayodele Somefun: her academic background 

Mrs. Somefun was a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education in English language. Although she was never a trained accountant nor economist, she went on to acquire other important professional certifications after her university days. Today, she is a prominent Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Having undergone graduate studies at both the Harvard Business School and University of Columbia Business School, Mrs. Somefun is an alumnus of both prestigious American institutions of study. In the same vein, she has participated in quite a number of local and international training programmes which are specific to her banking profession. An example of such is the INSEAD Fontainebleau, in France.

She currently belongs to different professional bodies, including the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Institute of Directors (IOD), among others.

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Building a career as a professional

Mrs. Somefun is a modern Nigerian woman who has successfully maintained a professional career spanning at least thirty-three years. Note that while most of these years of experience have been in the financial sector, she also has experiences cutting across other sectors.

In her early days, she started out working at KPMG as a Senior Audit Assistant between 1982 and 1986. From there, she went on to work at Arthur Andersen in 1986 as a Senior Auditor. She has also been employed at Ventures & Trusts Limited, between 1989 and 1992, as an Associate.

Prior to her current appointment, Mrs. Somefun worked at Credit Bank Limited and UBA Plc. She was also the MD/CEO of UBA Capital & Trustee Limited and the Founding Managing Director of UBA Pension Custodian Limited: two of UBA Group’s major subsidiaries.

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Mrs. Somefun also served as a Non-Executive Director on the boards of directors of UBA Foundations, UBA Trustees, UBA Nominees and UBA Registrars.

In the course of her career with Unity Bank Plc, she has served as an Executive Director in charge of Lagos and the South-West region of Nigeria until August, 2015.

As though to cement her long-standing career in treasury, investment and commercial banking, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, on August 12th, 2015, assumed her new role as the Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank Plc. She took over from the bank’s former CEO, Mr. Henry James Semenitari, as the first woman ever appointed to that position in the history of the retail bank. She is also one of the few women holding CEO positions in Nigeria’s many banks.

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Awards and recognitions

Meanwhile, as an attestation to her accomplished banking career, Mrs. Somefun, in 2016, was named as one of the top 25 most distinguished Chief Executive Officers of quoted Nigerian companies for the 2015 financial year.

Associating her name with the troubles in Unity Bank Plc

For a while now, there have been several indications of Unity Bank’s financial troubles. The problem boils down to some factors, including an overall low capitalisation at the bank as well as high volume of non-performing loans borrowed mostly by some former and current members of the bank’s board of directors.

In early 2018, Unity Bank Plc was somehow involved in the scandalous Milost Global Inc drama. Recall that Milost had proposed to invest as much as $1 billion in the bank. The deal never sailed through, even as it left behind trails of scandal and an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Recently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange sanctioned Unity Bank Plc by suspending the trading of its stock. This was due to the tier 2 bank’s failure to release its 2017 financial report on time. Note that the report, which was expected as at December 31st, 2017, never made it to the public domain until recently.

As the troubles in the bank persist, it can only be hoped that Mrs. Somefun and her team are doing everything possible to proffer much-needed solutions. This is important because Unity Bank Plc cannot afford to go down, at least not under her watch.

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Patricia

Emmanuel covers the financial services sector for Nairametrics. Do you have a scoop for him? Well then, contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Osarodion Osabuohien

    December 29, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Please help me to recover my money. I made two transfers to the account name “JOHNSON WILFRED OTHUKE” OF UNITY BANK by 8:05pm on thursday the sum of 50,000(investment) and on friday by 2:40pm the sum of 15,000 (withdrawal fee) which sums up to be 65,000. ony to find ouit that it was a scam, and am not able to contact the group or the Admin any more. Please help me. i bank with ecobank and my Account number is 4981046625. account name is OSABUOHIEN OSARODION MARSHAL. tHANKS IN ANTICIPATION

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 9th of July 2020, 499 new confirmed cases and 5 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continue to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 30,748 confirmed cases.

On the 9th of July 2020, 499 new confirmed cases and 5 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,302 samples across the country.

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To date, 30,748 cases have been confirmed, 12,546 cases have been discharged and 689 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 171,931 tests have been carried out as of July 9th, 2020 compared to 169,629 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 9th July 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 30,748
  • Total Number Discharged – 12,546
  • Total Deaths – 689
  • Total Tests Carried out – 171,931

According to the NCDC, the 499 new cases were reported from 24 states- Lagos (157); Edo (59); Ondo (56); Oyo (31); Akwa Ibom (22); Borno (21); Plateau (19); Kaduna (18); Katsina (18); Bayelsa (17); FCT (17); Delta (14); Kano (11); Rivers (10); Enugu (8); Ogun (6); Kwara (4); Imo (3); Nasarawa (2); Osun (2); Abia (1); Ekiti (1); Niger (1); Yobe (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 11,827, followed by Abuja (2,365), Oyo (1,604), Edo (1,562), Delta (1,337), Kano (1,302), Rivers (1,294), Ogun (1,063),  Kaduna (907), Katsina (646), Ondo (606), Borno (584), Gombe (524), Bauchi (519), Ebonyi (503), Plateau (497), Enugu (439), Abia (401),  Imo (359), Jigawa (318).

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Kwara state has recorded 311 cases, Bayelsa (299), Nasarawa (236), Osun (212), Sokoto (153), Akwa Ibom (134), Niger (125), Benue (121), Adamawa (100), Anambra (93), Kebbi (86), Zamfara (76), Yobe (62), Ekiti (46), Taraba (27), while Kogi and Cross River state have recorded 5 cases each.

 

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
July 9, 202030748499689512546175137
July 8, 2020302494606841512373171927
July 7, 2020297895036691512108170127
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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FEATURED

How fund managers can help in period of low yield

With inflation holding steady, the low yields end up translating to negative returns.

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It is often said that he who must find gold, must dig deeper because such is not found on the surface. With the current trends in interest rate, yield has become like gold, and those that must find it, should dig deeper than they have done before. It is no longer news that yield in traditional asset classes is approaching historically low levels. Indeed, yields are so low that yielder hunters are literally stuck. In one of my last pieces, I noted that the low yield had driven pension funds to the point of abandoning treasury bills as an asset class. The picture gets scarier and disheartening when viewed in real terms. With inflation holding steady, the low yields end up translating to negative returns when discounted for inflation.

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Source: CBN

Now that Treasury bills seem to be out of the question due to sub-zero yields, what can investors turn to? Here are a few things that investors could think of doing;

Invest in Money Market Funds: Money market funds have been the darling asset class for most Nigerians, due to their conservative nature and the fact that money market funds seem to be much easier to understand. The present low yield in the World market is also affecting money market funds but they still remain much higher than what is obtainable from Treasury Bills.  Unfortunately, a great majority of fund managers do not have the yield of their money market funds on display when I visited their websites, below is a list of the prevailing money market yields in Nigeria for those that could be gleaned from the various website:

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It may pay to shop around for yield as different funds present with different yields, as can be seen from the table above.

READ ALSO: SEC’s new rules on collective investment schemes: A step in the right direction

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Fund Managers to the Rescue: One of the implications, if not the major implication of the ultra-low interest rate is that investors in yield driven asset classes, like money market funds, will either make minimal returns or no returns at all, especially when inflation is factored in. Unfortunately, most of these money market funds pay fees to the fund managers. To help the situation, it is time for fund managers to reduce or waive some of the fixed fees they charge investors like management fees. Investors should, therefore, ask fund managers for a renegotiation of the fee structure in such a way that the burden of low-interest rate is shared between the fund managers and the investors. Fund managers in places like the US are already doing this.

Loss Carryforward Provisions: Another way that investors can manage this situation is for them to ask fund managers to insert loss carry-forward provisions into the mutual fund agreement or prospectus. A loss carryforward provision is one which states that the fund manager does not get paid any incentive fee unless and until the fund attains its last known highest asset value. By having loss carryforward provisions, investors are afforded the time to recoup on losses before being charged further incentive fees.

Explore economic research data from Nairametrics on Nairalytics

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Look for High Dividend Yield Stocks: Though stock investment remains riskier than money market funds and fixed income fund investments, in a low yield environment, it may pay to look for and invest in high dividend stocks that have a history of regular and consistent dividend payments.

Warning: Nothing in this article should be taken as investment advice and the author should not be held liable for using it as such.

 

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Currencies

Naira weakens as forex turnover falls by 88%  

The opening indicative rate was N387.32 to a dollar on Wednesday.

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Forex turnover fell by 88% on Wednesday at the I&E window weakening the exchange rate to N386.76/$1. The exchange rate at the black market however remained flat at N461/$1 for the third consecutive day this week.  

NAFEX: The naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Wednesday,  closing at N386.75 to a dollar, compared to the N386.50 that was reported on Tuesday, July 7, representing a 25 kobo drop. This is as traders continue to mull over CBN’s adjustment of the exchange rate at the SMIS window. The opening indicative rate was N387.32 to a dollar on Wednesday. This represents a 14 kobo drop when compared to the N387.18 to a dollar that was recorded on Tuesday.       

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Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the naira remained stable as it closed at N461 to a dollar on Wednesday which was the same rate that it exchanged on Tuesday.   

READ MORE: Unify exchange rates to foster economic growth – NISER 

Nigeria maintains multiple exchange rates comprising the CBN official rate, the BDC rates, SMIS and the NAFEX (I&E window). Nairametrics reported last week that the government has set plans in motion to unify the multiple exchange rates in line with requirements from the World Bank. Nigeria is seeking a world bank loan of up to $3 billion.     

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Forex Turnover    

Meanwhile, forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window recorded a decline on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, as it dropped by 88.4% day on day, a huge decline from the figure that it achieved on Tuesday at the foreign exchange market. This is according to data from the FMDQOTC, an exchange where forex is traded by foreign investors and exporters.       

According to the data tracked by Nairametrics, forex turnover decreasedfrom $103.37million on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to $11.96million on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, representing an 88.4% drop on a day-to-day basis. This is a reversal from the decent turnover that was recorded the previous day and is a far cry from the $200 million mark that was achieved in January and last week.  

Rate Adjustment  

Nairametrics reported on Wednesday that the CBN official rate has been adjusted from N360 to a dollar to N381 to a dollar as reflected on the website of the FMDQ.  However, the official rate quoted on the website of the CBN remains at N360/$1.  

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According to Reuters, “the naira eased 5.5% on the official market on Tuesday, after the central bank sold dollars to lenders at a lower rate, bowing to pressure from international lenders to unify its multiple exchange rates.” Reuters also reported “the naira eased to 380.50 in off-market trades, from 360.50 close on Monday” quoting sources from traders.  

Nairametrics cannot confirm if the latest adjustment is reflective of the SMIS rates or if the central bank has now taken a bold step towards unification and adjusted its official rate. Reuters claims it’s a move to “unify the exchange rate”.  

Explore economic research data from Nairametrics on Nairalytics

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What this means: Unifying the Naira around the NAFEX rate is effectively another round of devaluation. If this is carried out and forex liquidity improves, then it could lead to an exchange rate strengthen in the parallel market just like it occurred in 2017.  

The parallel market rate is currently N461/$1 and could converge to the NAFEX rate meaning those who bought above the NAFEX rate could lose money if they sell.  

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Patricia
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