You’ve probably heard of it, but often wondered what it was. During good and bad economic times, their ratings are widely sought after by economists, policymakers and investors. And besides, they have a lot to say about loans/credits and the economy in general.
Headlines like these are their own…Agusto affirms Coronation Merchant Bank’s rating at A+ with a stable outlook”, “Fitch revises the national ratings of GTBank and Zenith Bank”, etc You guessed it right, we are talking about rating agencies.
What are rating agencies?
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) simply defines credit rating agencies as “institutions which, as a business, professionally assess the investment qualities of debt issues”. In Nigeria, there are roughly three that have been approved by the SEC, namely:
- Agusto & Co Ltd
- Datapro Ltd
- Global Credit Rating Co Ltd
Note that this article is intended as a profile for each of these companies. We’ll focus on what they do, when they were incorporated, and other important information about them. But before diving into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to take a quick look at a rating agency’s registration requirements, according to the SEC.
Requirements for Registration as a Rating Agency in Nigeria
There are six criteria for registering as a rating agency with the Securities and Exchange Commission. See requirements below.
- Payments: As you might expect, the first is payment. Prospective rating agencies are required to pay at least N1.3 million. Payments are for different purposes, including filing/application fee (N50,000), processing fee of N200,000, registration fee of N1 million and payment for the “sponsored person” which amounts to 50,000 N.
- You must have a minimum paid-up capital of N150 million, with a fidelity insurance bond representing approximately 25% of the minimum paid-up capital.
- In the meantime, there will be a lot of forms to fill out, and you’ll need to fill them out exactly as specified—Form SEC 3A duly signed for the Company; SEC Form 2 and 2D for Sponsored Persons/Compliance Officer, and SEC Form 2 and 2D for Company Directors.
- You will need to submit a copy of your CAC Certified Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association, CAC forms showing status of share capital, return of allotment and details of directors etc.
To learn more about the rest of the requirements for registration as a rating agency with the SEC, click the link here. Now, let’s focus on rating agencies.
About Agusto & Co Ltd
Founded in 1992 by Mr. Olabode Agusto, Agusto & Co started out as a business information company aiming to provide useful information about businesses and economies. In 2001, it was licensed by the SEC to operate as a rating agency, becoming Nigeria’s first-ever indigenous credit rating agency.
The company has since branched out and adopted a somewhat pan-African approach, with a presence in some of Africa’s key markets such as Kenya and Rwanda. The main services it currently offers include:
- Industry Research, with various reports covering banking, asset management, construction, hospitality, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and more.
- Agusto & Co also offers credit risk management services to banks and fintechs. Information available on the company’s website claims that its credit scoring models are “tried and tested”.
- Portfolio analysis/rating validation
- Personalized search
- Review of Policies and Processes
The management of the company is currently headed by Mrs. Yinka Adelekan who holds the position of Managing Director. Other notable personalities on the board include – Femi Akingbe who is the Chairman, Olabode Augusto and Isaac Babatunde who are the Director and Executive Director respectively.
The company is based in Lagos, has around 41 full-time employees and generates up to $4.55 million in annual sales, according to information gathered from Dun & Bradsheet.
Datapro Ltd was established in 1995 by Abimbola Adeseyoju. Almost twenty-five years after its creation, Datapro has successfully positioned itself as a specialist in the areas of compliance, corporate governance and fraud risk management consulting. The company’s services include the following:
- Credit rating
- Compliance Solutions
- Data Protection Compliance
- Debt recovery
- Business information services, etc.
Not much is known about the company’s management team and board of directors. The information is not only available on its website. However, Nairametrics was able to verify that the founder, Abimbola Adeseyoju, currently holds the position of Managing Director.
Global Credit Rating Co Ltd
Founded in Nigeria in Nigeria in 1996, Global Credit Ratings is a subsidiary of Duff & Phelps which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company says on its website that it is responsible for the majority of credit ratings in Africa, with its reports exceeding those of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch all combined.
Global Credit Ratings provides rating services, support services and subscription services. Some of its specific focus areas include:
- Financial institutions: banks and non-bank financial institutions
- Insurance: short-term insurance, life insurance, reinsurance & health care
- Corporate and public sector debt: corporate and industrial borrowers; real estate funds; parastatals, utilities, state governments and local authorities
- Structured Finance & Securitization.
Information about the leadership and composition of the company’s board of directors is not readily available on its website. But you can read more about global credit ratings by clicking here.
Finally, it is important to note that although credit reports such as Moody’s, S&P and Fitch are very popular in Nigeria, they are not Nigerian rating agencies; or at least based in Nigeria. This is why their profiles have not been included in this piece.