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What to do when interest rates are low in 2020

It is no longer news that interest rates are falling across all tenors in Nigeria and the world over. Some countries in the West are already seeing negative interest rates. Yield hungry investors and retirees who depend on interest yields on their retirement accounts are scratching their heads thinking of what to do. So, with interest rates heading south, what should you do?



interest rates, investment bias, What to do when interest rates are low

It is no longer news that interest rates are falling across all tenors in Nigeria and the world over. Some countries in the West are already seeing negative interest rates. Yield hungry investors and retirees who depend on interest yields on their retirement accounts are scratching their heads thinking of what to do. So, with interest rates heading south, what should you do?

Get into dividend-paying stocks

Though not everyone has the guts or the risk appetite or tolerance to venture into the equity market, at times, hard times call for hard decisions. Although, it is not necessarily good to buy stocks based on their high dividend yield alone, buying stocks that consistently pay dividends with relatively high yield would not be a bad idea to weather the storm of low-interest rates.

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Get into high coupon long-maturity bonds

Though interest rate is falling, it does not reduce the coupon rates payable on bonds that are already in existence. By buying such bonds, you are buying into receiving interest income based on the coupons on the bonds, rather than current interest rate. The only issue is that you will buy such bonds at a relatively higher price because since the coupon on the bond is greater than the prevailing interest rate or yield, the bond will sell at a premium.

There is an inverse relationship between interest rate and bond prices, such that as interest rate falls, bond prices increase. Another downside to this strategy is that the issuers of the currently existing high coupon bonds may refinance the bonds by retiring them prematurely and replacing them with low coupon bonds of same maturity. Therein lies the reinvestment risk of bond investments.

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[READ ALSO: CBN boosts cotton production with N19bn loan  (Opens in a new browser tab)]

You can easily find high coupon bonds in the Nigerian market if you look closely. Examples of high coupon bonds in the Nigerian bond market include the DUFIL Foods bond with coupon of 18.25% and maturing in 2025. Union Bank, Flour Mills, Wema Bank and Sterling Bank, all have bonds with coupons in the upward of 15% and maturities of 2 to 5 years from now. Owning a bond investment that pays 18.25% per annum in a market where the prevailing interest rate is about 9.5% for a 5-year tenor, is a windfall.

Get into foreign securities

Another strategy that can help with managing the falling interest rate regime is diving into foreign securities. I did a piece not too long ago comparing investments in Ghana Treasury Bills and Nigeria’s, and it was obvious that if the exchange rate between the Ghana Cedi and the Nigerian Naira does not change drastically, there could be gain in venturing into Ghana’s Treasury Bills. Do some research on other African markets like Kenya, Mauritius, or Tanzania and find out where you can fit in and make some gains. Be mindful of the transaction costs and other regulatory requirements.

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Do your due diligence

The internet makes it easier now to engage in cross-border capital market transactions. Make sure you do your due diligence including understanding the various countries regulations on money laundry, capital gain taxes, trading commissions and fees and a host of others.

Be Warned that nothing in this article should be taken as an investment advise and you may not rely on it for your investment decisions as the author is not licensed to provide investment advice.

[READ ALSO: FG closes border to protect economic interests – Customs (Opens in a new browser tab)]

Uchenna Ndimele is the President of Quantitative Financial Analytics Ltd. and (both Quantitative Financial Analytics company website) is a leader in supplying mutual fund information, analysis, and commentary on African mutual funds. We provide reliable fund data; and ratings information that will add value to fund managers, the media, individual investors and investment clubs.

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Business Half Hour

How investing in US, UK stocks can be seamless – Tosin Osibodu

Tosin Osibodu discusses how investing in foreign stocks can be a more knowledgeable and transparent process.



Investing in stocks has always been touch-and-go for Nigerians, both at home and in diaspora. A typical tale of the-more-you-look, the-less-you-see, many Nigerians have experiences – both real and imagined – of how they have lost some money in the stock market.

Amidst all of these, startups offering an opportunity to invest in foreign or local stocks have the problem of trust to deal with, before they can successfully break into the market.

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chaka, Tosin Osibodu, said this was a major challenge for Chaka when it launched in 2019.

Tosin was a guest on Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour radio programme where he explained that with Chaka, investing in foreign stocks have become a more knowledgeable and transparent process that enables investors to make informed choices.

Chaka, as Tosin describes it, is a gateway that allows Nigerians to easily invest in local and foreign stocks, and also allows those in diaspora to invest in local stocks.

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According to Nairametrics’ investment analyst, Olumide Adesina, Chaka “makes it easier for many Nigerians to access world brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, General Electric, and provides top-class access to stocks listed.”

With Chaka, global stocks such as Apple, Alibaba, Google, Manchester United, the S&P 500 index and several others listed on NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and top brands from over 40 countries are only a tap away for investors.

Averting the sour experiences

Sour experiences in investing are usually a result of poor knowledge of the market, and little or no access to market insights. As Tosin explained:

“The market is not bad everywhere at the same time. The secret is knowing the right market to invest at any time, and having the right information.”

Information about market fundamentals, insights and knowledge of the right portfolio at any time will guide an investor towards taking the right buy-hold-or sell decisions, and the Chaka weekly webinars offer this.

Apart from the regular insights, investors can also rest easy knowing that they have the backing of financial regulators such as SEC, NSE, CSCS in Nigeria and SEC, FINRA, SIPC, IRS in the U.S. This is no mean feat for investment start-ups and Tosin admitted that getting the approval of these regulators formed a large part of the initial challenges.

Building automated trading systems to create wealth

During the years spent schooling as a systems engineer in the US, Tosin observed the ease of investing in the stock market, a direct contrast to what was obtainable in Nigeria. Though a systems engineer by training, he was passionate about solving the problem, and reducing access barriers to local and global markets.

Back in Nigeria, he teamed up with his life-long friend and cousin, Bolanle Osibodu to set up With a core financial expert and a systems engineer, the company was all set to get rolling.

The goal was simply to reduce barriers to trading stocks across borders, and help Nigerians cash into the emerging mine that was the stock market.

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With the Chaka solution, investors can register, get verified, buy and sell stocks the same day. The no-minimum investment rule also makes it open to beginner investors, allowing them to buy as much as they can afford.

For instance, even though the share unit of a company is worth $500, an investor may invest $100 and free up funds to build a well-rounded portfolio. According to Tosin, “if you are above 18 years and interested in investing, we don’t believe that you should be restricted by funds”.

It also has other unique features like the Naira or Dollar conversion on a per-asset-basis so that you can see how a Naira investment would perform in dollar assets or vice-versa. Its low transaction charges and wire transfer fees makes it even more affordable for Nigerian investors, especially since there are no hidden charges.


There are other companies who serve as digital brokers to Nigerian investors. But rather than see them as competitors, Tosin and his colleagues regard these startups as potential collaborators.

“Anyone that does what we do and shares same vision is a potential collaborator,” Tosin said.

One of the ways of collaborating is by providing execution services, white-label services and market automation technologies for corporate and institutional clients, so that these companies integrate Chaka into their operations to provide solutions for clients such as KYC verification, and user-onboarding.

Chaka partners with Citi investment capital in Nigeria and a global broker in the US, through which its offers are regulated by the relevant bodies. The aim of all collaborations is not just for profit but to improve client trust, increase foreign direct investment, and improve the investment income of Nigerians.

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“Our focus is to create an amazing customer experience, because the more you can service customers in the way they want to be serviced, the better it is in the long term. This is seen in our lower commission rates, seamless onboarding process, best prices. We are focused on giving the buyer the most transparent offer,” he explained.

With a team of technologists and financial professionals working around the clock, Chaka remains on course to continually improve investment offers, and provide better decision-making tools to customers.


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Investment Tips

How to invest in small-cap stocks

Small capitalized stocks according to the NSE are listed companies with a market cap below $150m.



Nigerians reveal why they pick their favourite banking stocks

There are two meat-pie shops in a city. One has two locations, while the other is a mega meat pie chain with 100 locations. Assuming they both have the same profit margin say 20% on cost of sales, which meat-pie chain will make more in terms of revenues?

Simple, the 100-location chain will have a higher sales volume and revenues because that chain can sell more pies. However, in terms of which restaurant is growing faster? Well, the answer is the smaller chain. How? The smaller restaurant is able to add say two more shops and grow by 100%, the larger chain can add 20 new location and just grow by 20%. A smaller base can grow faster than a larger base; its math.

READ: With $1 million, a delivery startup could acquire Trans-Nationwide Express Plc 

This is the same for stocks. All things being equal, a company with a lower share price is able to see an appreciation in her share price faster than another company with a higher-priced stock. Look at it this way,  a share price movement from N1 to N2 represents a 100% gain in market price, but a stock priced at N200 per share will need the share price to move to N400 for a similar gain of 100%.

A small capitalized stock will have a faster growth rate than a high capitalization stock because the lower-priced share can double faster than shares of higher-priced high cap stock. This is the lure of smaller capitalized stock; they can post price increases faster than large-cap stocks.

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READ: Global Stocks rise on high hopes for a COVID-19 treatment

Small capitalized stocks (small cap), according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, are listed companies with a market cap below $150 million. Capitalization is simply the total number of shares issued by the company multiplied by the share price of the stock. As at June 2020, small capitalized stock had a cumulative market value of N971 billion ($2.51bn). Small caps as a sector also outperformed the total NSE ASI index – the small caps returned a negative -6.61%  as compared with negative -18.31 returned by the broad NSE index of all listed stock.

Small caps stock is sometimes termed as growth stock because they still have tremendous opportunities for growth. In our earlier example, the meat pie company with just two outlets can grow to add hundreds of new outlets, thus boosting earning and subsequently the share price. This means when the investor is considering small-cap stock, he is looking for a high growth stock, in this case with a slightly higher P.E. ratio but trading at a price below future earnings. Small-cap investing is trading on price movement, not dividend per say, its trading not on market share but price movements,  It’s a momentum play. Whilst earning is important in setting a future direction for the share process, the investors is focused on price arbitrage to take advantage of mispricing. This makes trading in small caps very risky and capital can be lost.

READ: How BTC Whales can push BTC market value to $1 trillion

How does investor trade on small cap?

Since the driver is momentum trading driven by daily prices, a key metric to screen with is price movements of 15% band from 52-week price high of small caps (N60b in market caps) with an average 90-day trading volume of 2m shares with a Price Earning ration below 15 and Earning yield above 15%

From my screen, I get these candidates:

  1. Berger Paints
  2. Fidelity Bank
  3. Fidson Drugs
  4. First City
  5. May and baker
  6. Presco
  7. United Capital
  8. Vita form

Again, you can construct your own screen. What is key is to seek out a stock with a market cap below N60 billion, that is constantly trading but selling today at a price below its 52-week high. This pricing can simply be the result of COVID-19 induced slow down. Then buy that stock at a price that is “cheap” hence the lower P.E. Ratio, most importantly, you want to build in some risk management by buying high historical dividend yield stock to ensure if you have to hold, you receive a divided yield higher that the risk-free rate.

Stock trading is risky and you can lose your capital, the stocks listed above are illustrative and do not constitute buy or sell advise.

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Investment Tips

Nigerians reveal why they pick their favourite banking stocks

Experts give their opinions on their favourite banking stocks and why they chose them.



Nigerians reveal why they pick their favourite banking stocks

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It’s no longer news that Nigerian banks play a leading role in Nigeria’s financial system. However, the banking sector, which has over the years been the most liquid sector in the Nigerian stock market, has experienced significant price swings lately.

Also, based on recently released financial statements by the Nigerian banks, a high number of listed banking stocks in the Nigerian stock market have the potentials to reward investors with solid returns, as they remain fundamentally good and are expected to withstand the current unfavorable economic climate this year.

Nairametrics interviewed some financial experts, entrepreneurs, and corporate heads and asked for their opinions on their favourite banking stocks and why they chose them.

Their reasons for selecting these bank stocks were instructive and varied, from the usual tier-1 banking brands (GTbank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic Bank, Access Bank) to other emerging brands like Sterling Bank. See their responses below.

READ MORE: Jim Ovia: From a clerk to founder of Nigeria’s most profitable bank

Jerry Nnebue, Banking Analyst at CardinalStone Research

“Lower interest earnings (due to low yields and the slowdown in loan growth) and deterioration in asset quality are likely to pressure returns due to the pandemic. Prudential ratios could also be severely tested.

Nevertheless, we see opportunities in specific names due to depressed valuations and their ability to withstand the potential short-term pressures from the pandemic.

Notably, we favour GUARANTY, ZENITHBANK, and STANBIC on their stronger ROE potential and wider capital buffers over the regulatory minimum.

We are also optimistic about FBNH following the recapitalization of the commercial bank and the impact of years of loan book clean-up.”

READ ALSO: Exclusive: Best bank in Nigeria judging by the numbers

Silas Ozoya, Managing Partner/CEO SUBA Capital

“Investing in Nigerian banking stocks would mean me looking at their performance over the last 5 to 10 years. In terms of innovation, stability, growth, the dividends declared, and market capitalization.

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When you measure with those, a few banks would come to mind.

GTBank, Access Bank, Zenith would be my top three picks, then Sterling Bank would follow. Those guys have been doing some amazing product innovation that deuces sales for them.

Then finally, First Bank, because of its long time stability. It would function like the hedge in the portfolio.”

READ ALSO: GTBank, Access Bank, others attract foreign investment worth $5.85 billion in Q1

Yele Bademosi, CEO,

“GTB because they still have a very strong brand reputation amongst millennials and Gen Z and they’ve shown a history of innovation with products like **737**, Habari, and Quick Credit.

Access Bank, the merger between Diamond and Access creates one of the largest banks in Nigeria, whilst the jury might still be out on the success of the merger.

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I wouldn’t bet against the leadership team to make this a success.

Sterling Bank is my top pick because I think they have the largest potential for growth, they have a unique structure and clear focus areas that are centered around technology and innovation that I think could pay serious dividends in the future.


Their vision is bold and it’s going to be the execution that makes or breaks them.”

READ: Key new forecasts for Nigerian banks as they navigate COVID-19 pandemic

Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka, Co-founder Quba Exchange|Forbes Accelerator Cohort ’20

“Sterling Bank (STERL).

First of all, the Nigerian stock market is mostly suitable for long term investing, and as such, my investment criteria are leadership and innovation.

In the area of leadership, I’m very confident in Abubakar Suleiman’s leadership for Sterling Bank given his track record and age.

STERL also ticks the box of innovation with the introduction of its online bank (One Bank) which positions them to withstand and likely outperform emerging competitions in the online banking space.”

Omeiza Makoju, ACCA energy analyst

“In the last 6 months, the banking sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 scourge, the “staggered devaluation” of the Naira, stringent regulations from the CBN, and the drop in oil prices.

As a value investor, my favourite banking stocks in no particular order are GTBank, Zenith Bank, UBA, and Access Bank.

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I choose these banks because they have strong fundamentals and metrics. They are all dividend-paying with yields above 10% and the P/B (MRQ) of Zenith, UBA, and Access Bank shows that they are currently undervalued.

At a time like this where the Naira/USD Exchange rate and the inflation rate is rising,

I have also chosen these stocks because they provide some form of inflation protection in the absence of USD instruments.”

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