The nation’s banking industry, yesterday, witnessed the entry of NOVA Merchant Bank Limited, making it the fifth in the country, but with a pledge for fresh thinking and ideas.The acclaimed unique offer from the bank would be channeled specifically into wholesale banking, investment banking and asset management.
Headquartered in Victoria Island, Lagos, the bank’s pledge means that it is a new way to sourcing and unlocking long term finances needed in the infrastructure investment and end to capital flight due to outsourcing of advisory services in the country.At the inauguration of the bank that attracted business leaders and industrialists, the bank reiterated its objective to re-establish merchant banking as a key economic driver by exploring local and international sources for long-term funds.
The promoter and Chairman of the bank, Phillips Oduoza, said 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.
“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,” he said.Oduoza assured that NOVA is equipped with talented people and cutting-edge technology, necessary to deliver its mandate as a merchant bank.
“We are the first ‘green field’ licence in merchant banking. We didn’t convert from being a representative office or from being a discount house. So, from day one, we have been licenced to operate as a merchant bank.”We are the first merchant bank that does not have any legacy history associated with it, as we are a greenfield merchant bank. In essence, we don’t have to deal with issues of carrying-over staff and technology from a legacy operator.
Declaring the bank open, the Special Guest of Honour, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, commended the promoter of the bank, describing him as a thoroughbred professional, with a strong track record of achievements in the banking industry.He also expressed confidence in the quality of the board and the senior management team.
The Managing Director of the bank, Chinedu Ikwudinma, who explained the strategic direction of the financial institution, said offering of trade services, project financing, cash management, corporate solutions and advisory services will be focused on.Similarly, in investment banking, it would be looking at mergers and acquisition, advisory services, securities and trading, wealth and asset management as well as debt and equity capital management.
Listing the bank’s uniqueness, he said that its products and business model were specifically designed around merchant banking, while top notch and seasoned bankers adorned its board for best practices in corporate governance.”There are three executive directors and six 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.”