In Nigeria, the only Exchange for investing in publicly traded shares is the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which commenced operations on 5th June 1961 as Lagos Stock Exchange. It was transformed into the NSE on 2nd December 1977 with branches in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kaduna.
Regular trading on the NSE runs from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM on working days. Registered Dealing Members can trade from their office through the online portal of the NSE or on the floors of the exchange in Lagos or other locations where NSE has an office.
To invest in shares of listed companies on the NSE, you need to open an account with a Stockbroker that is registered as a Dealing Member of the Exchange. You can find the latest list of dealing members on the website of the NSE at http://www.nse.com.ng/Pages/default.aspx. Most stockbrokers will require only a modest sum in the neighborhood of fifty thousand Naira (N50,000) to open an account. Some will accept share certificates or a transfer of shares from another Stockbroker in lieu of cash.
Once your account has been opened, you will be assigned a unique Clearing House number (CHN) and a Stockbroker account number by the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS). You need only one CHN but can have multiple stockbroker account numbers depending on how many brokers you have.
Your account is maintained by the CSCS who act as clearing house for the NSE. Your shares are held in this account and no paper certificates are issued. Although you can opt to have paper certificate, I will strongly advise against doing that as it will limit your ability to trade.
You can have online access to your CSCS account by registering through your Stockbroker and you will be able to see all your stockbrokers accounts registered under the same CHN. The current charge for online access is N2,500 per year and I strongly recommend you register immediately your account is opened as it will enable you monitor your investment.
In general, I advise you select one of the many medium/small-sized stockbrokers outside of the top ten stockbroking firms. This is because the large firms will probably be too busy for your rather small account in the beginning. Your orders will therefore be down the pecking order and may not get executed promptly and at the best price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Stockbrokers and all quoted companies. The main purpose of the SEC is to protect investors and market participants. There are laws in place that require companies to disclose adequate, accurate and timely information to investors. In addition, Stockbrokers and the NSE are required to comply with certain standards of behavior. The SEC ensures all market participants play by the rules and are empowered by law to deal with market infractions by participants. You can find more details about the SEC on their website. http://www.sec.gov.ng