Direct Cash Settlement Kicks-off in Nigeria's Capital Market
Wednesday, December 23​, ​2015
As part of the ongoing initiatives to protect investors and eliminate fraudulent activities in the Nigerian Capital Market, stakeholders in the market under the leadership of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and The Nigerian Stock Exchange will, with effect from January 4 2016, commence the Direct Cash Settlement initiative, which is the direct payment of proceed of sale of securities into an investor’s nominated bank account.

This was contained in a statement released by the Steering Committee on Direct Cash Settlement. The committee maintained that with the effective take-off of Direct Cash Settlement, investors in the Nigerian Capital Market would be credited directly with the net proceeds of stock market transactions which would address the illegal sale of investors’ securities.​

Direct cash settlement is a process where cash proceeds from trades executed by brokers on the Exchange settles directly into investors’ bank account. It starts when a client gives his broker the mandate to sell his or her shares. Once those shares are sold, payment is made directly into the client’s account. This is in contrast to the current practice where proceed from sale of securities is paid directly into the stockbroker’s account and stockbrokers then deduct transaction fees and remit the balance to the client’s account. Historically, issues have arisen on occasions when the proceed of sale were not remitted into the clients’ accounts, thereby necessitating the need for the initiative.

According to the DG of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, he stated that “with the Direct Cash Settlement initiative, the moment securities are sold, the consideration will be paid into the client’s account. I am happy to report that at the last CMC, our members unanimously agreed that the Direct Cash Settlement initiative will commence on 4th of January 2016. So, we believe this will also improve investor confidence in the market”.

As against the current general practice where the proceed of sale for investors’ transactions go into the bank accounts of the brokers for onward disbursement to their clients, the practice under the ‘Direct Cash Settlement’ would be to send the net proceeds directly from the clearing and settlement system to investors’ accounts while the existing practice of payment through brokers would only happen where clients opt not to participate in the initiative.

Under the proposed framework for Direct Cash Settlement, brokers were mandated to forward their clients’ bank account details to the CSCS, the agent of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for the clearing and settlement of securities traded on the Automated Trading System (ATS) of the NSE for clients opting to participate in the Direct Cash Settlement initiative. Se​ttlement of subsequent trades carried out on the ATS would then be effected by direct payment into the client’s account as provided to the CSCS.

Investors are encouraged to contact their stockbrokers for more information on how to opt in to the Direct Cash Settlement initiative.​