FACTBOX – Nigeria’s financial market reformers

LAGOS, March 28 (Reuters) – A triumvirate of reformers at
the head of Nigeria’s central bank, its Securities and Exchange
Commission and its state-run “bad bank” has turned Nigeria’s
financial markets inside out over the past 18 months.

Some analysts question whether they will continue to enjoy
political support and such a free rein after nationwide
elections next month. [ID:nLDE72M0ZA]

Following are profiles of the three reformers.

CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR LAMIDO SANUSI

— Lamido Sanusi, 49, won an international reputation as a
reformer because of the bailout of nine commercial banks just
weeks after he took the helm of the central bank in 2009. Many
bankers say this saved the financial sector of sub-Saharan
Africa’s second biggest economy from the brink of collapse.

— Sanusi sent shockwaves through the corporate
establishment, sacking the chiefs of eight of the banks and in
doing so felling pillars of Nigeria’s financial aristocracy, who
had long seen themselves as beyond the reach of regulators.

— His fierce independence and readiness to tackle
vested interests stem partly from his status as the grandson of
the 11th Emir of Kano, one of the most powerful traditional
rulers in Nigeria; his royal lineage appears to help him
cut through the turbulence of Nigerian politics.

— He was highly respected before joining the central bank,
having served as the chief executive of First Bank (FIRSTBA.LG: Quote, Profile, Research).
Prior to that he was chief risk officer at First Bank and
at United Bank for Africa (UBA) (UBA.LG: Quote, Profile, Research), two of the country’s
largest lenders.

— Sanusi has degrees in economics and Islamic law from
Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, northern Nigeria, where he
taught economics before going into banking in 1985.

— He has regularly spoken out about the need to fight
corruption, not only in the financial sector but in the political
system in Nigeria, winning him powerful enemies at home as well
as friends in the international investment community.

SEC DIRECTOR GENERAL ARUNMA OTEH

— Within months of taking office, Oteh announced tighter
financial market regulation including stricter requirements on
everything from corporate disclosure to capital raisings.

— Nine months into her tenure, she sacked the head of the
stock exchange and suspended its chairman in what she said was a
move to restore investor confidence amid a raft of governance
concerns. The outgoing bourse chief’s political connections had
long made her seem untouchable.

— Before taking the helm at the SEC, Oteh served as a vice
president of the African Development Bank from March 2006 and
prior to that as its director of treasury. Previously, she
worked in corporate finance, consulting, teaching and research;
she holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

— Oteh has regularly spoken about her vision of Nigeria’s
capital markets as a pillar of the country’s efforts to finance
badly needed new infrastructure.

AMCON CHIEF EXECUTIVE MUSTAPHA CHIKE-OBI

— President Goodluck Jonathan asked former Wall Street
investment banker Chike-Obi to head the Asset Management
Corporation of Nigeria, a state-owned “bad bank” which absorbs
non-performing commercial bank loans, in September 2010.

— Chike-Obi moved quickly to buy bad loans from the
distressed banks rescued in Sanusi’s bailout as well as margin
loans industry-wide. AMCON expects to have issued 1.5 trillion
naira ($10 billion) worth of bonds by the end of March in return
for bad loans, and to have recapitalised the nine rescued banks
by the end of June.

— Before coming to AMCON, Chike-Obi was founder and
managing partner of Madison Park Advisors, a financial
consultancy based in the U.S. state of New Jersey and
specialising in hedge fund and private equity investment advice.

— He previously held senior positions in Wall Street firms
including Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Guggenheim Partners.

— Son of celebrated Nigerian mathematician and opposition
politician Chike Obi, who came close to finding a proof for
Fermat’s Last Theorem, he graduated from the University of Lagos
with a first-class degree in mathematics and has an MBA from
Stanford business school.
(For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the
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(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

FACTBOX – Nigeria’s financial market reformers