EMMANUEL OKWARA, country manager for Equiti Nigeria in this interview with GODSGIFT ONYEDINEFU, speaks about online trading and the peculiarities in the Nigerian market.
Can you tell us about Equiti and what it’s offering in Nigeria?
Equiti is a pioneering world-class and multi-award-winning fintech company. What we do is provide a platform for people to trade in the global financial market.
When we talk about the global financial market, it comprises so many assets; we’re talking about currencies, we’re talking about precious metals like gold, and commodities like agricultural products, and we’re also talking about stocks.
On our platform, you can trade the Euro stocks, the US stocks, and some other indices also. So, this comprises the financial market that can be traded on the platform that we provide.
Online trading is not fraudulent; the problem is that a lot of people in the time past and even presently have used online trading as an excuse to scam people
We are a broker. A broker is like an agent that gives you access to the platform. An individual does not have the financial capacity to trade in the global financial market; you need to go through a licensed broker which is Equiti.
Since your launch in the Nigerian market, how has the journey been so far?
We’ve just been in Nigeria for seven months. But Equiti as a company is a multinational company that has been existing for over 13 years right now, but for Nigerian business, we started on August 2nd, 2021, and so far, it’s been good.
We’ve been trying to get the word out there for people to also learn how to trade profitably in this global financial market. The huge problem we have in Nigeria is people trading profitably and understanding how to trade in this market.
So, what we’ve been trying to do is to do a lot of financial literacy / empowerment programs; that’s why we do run training or workshops weekly where we train people on how to trade by themselves and it’s free training.
And apart from the training, we do in Abuja, we’ve also done a couple of wealth creation seminars outside Abuja. We have done this in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Ibadan. We are also planning on going to other states. We aim to properly sensitize people in Nigeria for them to understand that they can trade in this market by themselves.
Is Nigeria your primary market to launch into other African markets?
No, we started in Kenya. Our plan for Africa started in Kenya three years ago and we were the first to secure the License (capital market authority) to be able to do business in East Africa.
And then Nigeria follows suit right now, and we are also planning to expand to South Africa and other African countries.
Equiti operates across continents and countries. What are the peculiarities in the Nigerian market?
The peculiarity in the Nigerian market is that the business is not new. When you talk about online trading, it’s not a new business in Nigeria. We have many companies that are into the same business in Nigeria.
The last time I checked Nigeria has over 300,000 online traders, but we’ve been having a common problem; people don’t understand how to trade profitably, and this is what sparked up our interest to enter into the Nigerian market to change the narratives of people and make people understand that there are some digital technologies that can help them trade profitably.
Also, what we have done is to bring in experts in terms of our trainers and therefore we have one of the best contents in Nigeria when it comes to educational content on how to trade.
Nigerians are not new, when it comes to online trading it’s just that the concept people have in mind is wrong, and that’s why we’re here to change the narrative.
Why should Nigerians use your service?
Nigerians should use our service, firstly, because of the brand. Equiti is a global brand that has been in business for 13 years. We have offices on different continents, and we are well regulated.
And apart from that, if you look at the leadership structure, the people behind the Equiti story, are highly experienced people that have been in this industry for more than two decades.
Another reason why people should trust our brand is our content in terms of the educational structure, which we have been doing. We have one of the best in Nigeria right now as we speak.
People that come for our training can testify about what we do. We are very concise and comprehensive when it comes to our training. And apart from that, we try to make the onboarding process very easy.
There are several fintech and online trading technology businesses in Nigeria. What sets Equiti apart?
What sets us apart is standard, in the sense that we have come up with a lot of products in the market, like currently in our platform, we have what’s called a research terminal and smart report.
What that does is help traders to analyze different assets and assist you to place trade after having speculated the market. It gives you a report of different assets daily and it helps you trade profitably.
And aside from that, we have the latest trading platform, the Meta-trader 5 which makes it easier for clients to trade.
Online trading seems fraudulent to most people, so how do you intend to make your offerings attractive to such individuals?
Well, online trading is not fraudulent; the problem is that a lot of people in the time past and even presently have used online trading as an excuse to scam people. And I can tell you most of those scams didn’t trade with people’s money, they just used online trading as an excuse to collect money from people.
That’s a problem I always have with people and that’s why we focus more on education. Why give your money to someone when you can learn to do this yourself? I always tell people there are three Ps in forex, that’s process, patience, and practice.
If you want to be a tailor, you have to learn how to sew if you want to be a barber, you must learn how to barb, so why is it that when it comes to making money, people don’t learn how to make money, that they have to give their money to someone, if you give your money to someone, you are at the mercy of that person.
What are some of your expansion plans for Equiti in Nigeria and across the African continent?
We have a very big expansion plan I can tell you. We have come to dominate the markets because we’ve got good plans. Right now, in Nigeria, we started in Abuja, we have an office presently in Abuja, but we have plans of expanding to Lagos and Port Harcourt.
We also have plans to have some satellite offices across the country in major cities like Ibadan, Calabar, Benin, and Enugu. That’s why we’ve started forex traders’ hangouts in Nigeria, whereby you meet with online traders in that city and rub minds, know what the problem is, and how to solve the problems people face trading assets, by showing the software we have, and how the software can help you as a trader.
After that, we’ll go back to the city to launch a wealth creation seminar for beginners. The reason we’re doing this is just to sensitize people, it’s a very big expansion plan. We plan that in the next couple of months, we should have our offices in Lagos, Ibadan, and two other satellite offices.
Another thing we want to do in Nigeria is to promote financial literacy. The problem we are having is that, when it comes to financial literacy, the percentage in Nigeria is very low. Imagine, Kenya has a higher percentage in terms of financial literacy than we and Kenya is just 50million in population while we are 220 million people.
So, we want to change the narratives via Financial literacy, we plan to be able to train people when it comes to financial literacy, to train over three million Nigerians before 2025.
What inspired your decision to help Nigerians in this financial market?
Why am I doing this? Firstly, I’m a Nigerian, I believe in Nigeria and the government cannot do everything, let’s tell ourselves the truth. I heard the president say there are no more jobs, technically, it’s true.
There are no more jobs, our population is growing every day, and we’re not producing anything, and funds are borrowed to service debt, so, there can’t be jobs. So, the only people that can move this economy effectively are the private sector.
One of the best empowerments anybody can have is financial empowerment, and that’s why countries like Cyprus have become a financial center. And the best place to do this is Nigeria, so people should come and learn how to do this for free. It’s like personally empowering yourself.
What does it take to be a part of Equiti, for interested persons?
For those of you that want to be a part of Equiti as a client, you need to also sign up an account, go to our website, http://www.equiti.com/Africa so, you register an account; once you register an account and you will be assigned an account manager that can assist you to get active.
You need to submit your valid ID for verification, just like we open an account at the bank and the account is approved within 20 minutes. You can start funding your account with $100 for instance, and there’s a welcome bonus of 30 percent.
Now for a beginner, if you fund your account, I will not advise you to start trading because you don’t even know what to trade, but you only fund it to secure the bonus.
There is a demo account with $10,000, you just use it to demo trade, and what happens in the demo is what happens in live. The only difference is that the emotions are not involved because this is not your money, it’s free money.
Our training is free, free things are not usually valued. We used to train people for N50,000. We have offices everywhere in the world and it’s doing very well.