You’ve most likely heard of them but often wondered what they are all about. During both good and bad economic times, their appraisals are widely sought after by economists, policymakers, and investors. And they have a lot say by the way, about loans/credits and the economy in general.
Headlines such as these are peculiar to them —’Agusto affirms Coronation Merchant Bank’s rating at A+ with stable outlook’, ‘Fitch revises national ratings of GTBank and Zenith bank’, and so on. You guessed it right, we are talking about rating agencies.
What are rating agencies?
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) simply defines credit rating agencies as “institutions which, as a business, professionally evaluate the investment qualities of debt issues”. In Nigeria, there are just about three of them that have been approved by SEC, namely:
- Agusto & Co Ltd
- Datapro Ltd
- Global Credit Ratings Co Ltd
Note that this article is intended as a profile for each of these firms. We shall be focusing on what they do, when they were incorporated, and other important information about them. But before we dive right into that, it is important to first take a brief look at the requirements for registering a rating agency, according to SEC.
Requirements for registering as a rating agency in Nigeria
There are six yardsticks for registering as a rating agency with the Securities and Exchange Commission. See the requirements below.
- Payments: As you can expect, the first one has to do with payment. Prospective rating agencies are required to pay at least N1.3 million. The payments are for different purposes, including filing/application fee (N50, 000), a processing fee of N200, 000, a registration fee of N1 million, and payment for ‘sponsored individual’ which goes for N50, 000.
- You must have a minimum paid-up capital of N150 million, with a fidelity insurance bond representing about 25% of minimum paid-up capital.
- Meanwhile, there will be plenty of forms to fill, and you will be required to fill them exactly as specified —Duly Executed Form SEC 3A for the Company; Form SEC 2 and 2D for Sponsored Individuals/Compliance Officer, and Form SEC 2 and 2D for Directors of the Company.
- You will be required to present a copy of your CAC-certified Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association, CAC Forms showing Statement of Share Capital, Return of Allotment, and Particulars of Directors, etc.
To read more about the rest of the requirements for registering as a rating agency with SEC, click the link right here. Now, let us focus on the rating agencies.
About Agusto & Co Ltd
Established in 1992 by Mr. Olabode Agusto, Agusto & Co initially started off as a business information firm that aimed to provide useful information about businesses and economies. In 2001, it was licensed by SEC to operate as a rating agency, thereby becoming Nigeria’s very first indigenous credit rating agency.
The company has since diversified and adopted a somewhat pan-African focus, with presence in some of Africa’s key markets such as Kenya and Rwanda. The main services it currently offers include:
- Industry Research, with various reports covering banking, asset management, construction, hospitality, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, etc.
- Agusto & Co also offers credit risk management services to banks and fintechs. Information available on the firm’s site claims that its credit rating models are ‘tried and tested’.
- Portfolio analysis/rating validation
- Customised researched
- Policy and process review
The company’s management is currently headed by Mrs Yinka Adelekan who serves as the Managing Director. Other notable individuals on the board of directors include – Femi Akingbe who is the Chairman, Olabode Augusto and Isaac Babatunde who are both Director and Executive Director, respectively.
The company is based in Lagos, has about 41 full-time employees, and generates as much as $4.55 million in annual sales, according to information gleaned from Dun & Bradsheet.
Datapro Ltd was established in 1995 by Abimbola Adeseyoju. Nearly twenty-five years after its establishment, Datapro has successfully positioned itself as a specialist in the areas of compliance, corporate governance, and fraud risk management consulting. The company’s services include the following:
- Credit rating
- Compliance solutions
- Data protection compliance
- Debt recovery
- Business information services, etc
Not much is known about the company’s management team and board of directors. The information is not just available on its website. However, Nairametrics was able to verify that the founder, Abimbola Adeseyoju, currently serves as the Managing Director.
Global Credit Ratings Co Ltd
Established in Nigeria in Nigeria in 1996, Global Credit Ratings is a subsidiary of Duff & Phelps which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company claims on its website that it is responsible for majority of the credit ratings in Africa, with its reports surpassing those of Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch all combined.
Global Credit Ratings provides ratings services, support services, and subscription services. Some of the its specific focus areas include:
- Financial Institutions: banks and non-bank financial institutions
- Insurance: short term insurance, life insurance, reinsurance & healthcare
- Corporate and Public Sector Debt: corporates & industrial borrowers; property funds; parastatals, utilities, state governments & local authorities
- Structured Finance & Securitisation.
Information about the firm’s management and board composition is not readily available on its website. But you may read more about Global Credit Ratings by clicking here.
On a final note, it is important to note that even though credit reports the likes of Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch are quite popular in Nigeria, they are not Nigerian rating agencies; or at least Nigerian-based. This is why their profiles were not included in this piece.