Access Bank Nigeria Plc has warned of the dangers of ongoing regulators induced stress in listed companies, as it may further worsen economic advancement.
Shareholders sounded the issue at the Access Bank’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Wednesday, shortly after endorsing final dividend payment of 40 kobo, and qualifying the 2016 audited accounts of the bank.
Chief Timothy Adesioyan, chairman Nigerian Solidarity Shareholders Association, reflecting on the impact or regulation on companies performances said that the instance by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that companies accounts should be endorsed by a certified chartered Accountant, could be a clog in the wheel of progress of many companies.
He said that while the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) has taken a popular stand on the issue by not insisting such accounts be signed by chartered accountants, the NSE sticks to its gun.
“We challenged the FRC and they listened to us, but the NSE appears to be insistent on this which is not good for the retail shareholders. The retail shareholders should be allowed to have a say in the companies of which they are part owners”
Sir Sunny Nwosu, founding chairman of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) said that large liquidity of banks retained by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), could further be deployed by the originating banks to boost earnings and also reward investors better.
He said that hence such funds are non interest yielding, the benefit of such large amount is denied the masses through direct application to economic activities or earnings in the form of higher dividend from banks.
Nwosu while lauding the bank directors for posting strong growth and rewarding the shareholders, however called for robust interim dividend which he said will assist the shareholders to overcome the current economic scenario.
The banks’ shareholders represented by their various leaders, applauded the bank’s board for registering remarkable performance recorded in the 2016 financial year, irrespective of the challenging operating environment as well as the uncertain regulatory setting.
Access Bank Nigeria reassured its shareholders that the bank is positioned to offer sustained returns to all stakeholders as a corporate organization positioned to outlive its founders.
Chairman, Access Bank Plc, Mosun Belo-Olusoga commended the shareholders for their support. “Our bank has always maintained a balanced dividend payout ratio based on residual dividend policy. We will remain focused in our pursuit of shareholder value and to continue to provide the stability and strategic direction the bank requires to deliver operational excellence.
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, while responding to shareholders’ questions ,assured that Access Bank is continually positioning, offering more value and returns to shareholders and stakeholders.
The GMD noted that Access Bank’s proactive risk management practices and focus on high quality organisations ensured that the bank maintained an non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 2.1 per cent, well below the industry average, whilst retaining a healthy balance sheet growth. Prudential ratios remained strong and well above the regulatory limits with capital adequacy and liquidity ratios of 21.2 per cent and 43.6 per cent, respectively, consequently allowing the necessary headroom for growth.
On Etisalat exposure he said” We took good business risk. It is a N40 billion loan. As of today, Etisalat is meeting their credit obligation in terms of interest and principal.”
Wigwe said: “We remain cautiously optimistic about the macroeconomic environment in 2017. Nonetheless, our objective of delivering sustainable shareholder value remains unchanged. “We have good Capital Adequacy Ratio that supports our business. Many of the strategic choices we made over the years were validated when tested by the economic recession.”