Fidelity Bank Sets Industry Standard with Top Corporate Governance Rating

By Joke Kujenya

SOLIDIFYING its position as a paragon of corporate governance, Fidelity Bank Plc is noted to have been consistently meeting and exceeding the highest standards set by regulatory bodies.

As a leading commercial bank, it has now been awarded the prestigious CG+ rating under the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS), which assesses publicly listed companies against stringent best practices and standards.

In a recent compliance report, it is affirmed that Fidelity Bank maintains its CG+ status as a testament to its unwavering commitment to transparency, ethical business practices, and comprehensive disclosure. Shareholders and market analysts have lauded the bank’s adherence to these high corporate standards.

Mr. Godstime Iwenekhai, Head of Listings Regulation at NGX Regulation (NGXRegco), elaborated on the significance of the CGRS. “The CGRS is designed to enhance the governance frameworks of listed companies, providing a clear benchmark for investors to evaluate corporate adherence to accepted governance standards,” Iwenekhai stated. He emphasized that the CG+ designation underscores a company’s alignment with top-tier governance practices, granting them certain privileges within the stock market.

Achieving compliance involves rigorous processes, including timely submission of detailed operational results, full disclosure of all significant information, and precise reporting. Moreover, it ensures that the company’s shares remain unencumbered, facilitating efficient market operations and protecting investor interests.

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) has implemented a compliance tracker to uphold market integrity and safeguard investors. This tool ensures that listed companies adhere to high disclosure standards, releasing financial information and updates on material events promptly. This facilitates the NGX’s role in maintaining an orderly market environment.

Market experts underscore the critical role of corporate governance in investment decisions. Mr. Olatunde Amolegbe, Managing Director of Arthur Steven Asset Management, noted that a company’s compliance rating is crucial for investors, as it reflects adherence to listing requirements and helps in making informed decisions. “Stock prices are driven by available information, and the NGX’s disclosure requirements are vital for investors to assess a company’s performance accurately,” said Amolegbe.

Mallam Garba Kurfi, Managing Director of APT Securities & Funds, highlighted that a high corporate governance rating indicates robust and timely compliance, which is attractive to both local and foreign investors. “A high rating signifies excellent adherence to governance practices, which reassures investors about the safety of their investments,” Kurfi explained.

Mr. David Adonri, Managing Director of HighCap Securities, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that “CG+ signifies an excellent corporate governance rating. It reflects a company’s commitment to organized and ethical operations, maximizing benefits for stakeholders.”

Investors have identified Fidelity Bank’s strong corporate governance as a key factor in their investment choices. Dr. Faruk Umar, President of the Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), praised the bank’s governance structure, which ensures the safety of investments and instills confidence through a well-planned succession strategy and a board of capable independent non-executive directors.

Mr. Moses Igbrude, National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), attributed Fidelity Bank’s impressive performance to its steadfast governance practices. “The board’s commitment to good governance has been fundamental to the bank’s sustained growth,” Igbrude remarked.

Mrs. Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended Fidelity Bank for creating a lasting positive impression among shareholders. “The bank’s consistent leadership and impressive financial results over the past five years highlight its exemplary governance,” Bakare said.

Mr. Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, asserted that Fidelity Bank’s strong governance is the cornerstone of its sustained growth and investor returns. “Fidelity Bank stands out as a top investment choice, offering excellent returns and a promising future backed by solid corporate governance and customer service,” Okezie affirmed.

The NGX remains vigilant in enforcing governance standards, penalizing non-compliant companies with sanctions ranging from fines to trading suspensions and, in severe cases, delisting. This rigorous approach ensures that the market operates with integrity and protects investor interests.

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