April 20, 2024

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Nigeria’s Trustee Industry and the Changing Times

4 min read

As a developing and competitive sector, the Trustee industry in Nigeria has clearly reflected room for growth as more clients become aware of the need to have Corporate Trustees appointed for their transactions. Individuals are also increasingly taking up the options of setting up Trusts and writing Wills to protect their wishes and secure their Estates.
Firstly, the Trusteeship business plays a relevant role in Nigeria’s investment climate to a very large extent.

The Trustee provides a level of comfort and security to transaction parties dealing at arm’s length. It performs its fiduciary duties to act in their best interest whilst holding the parties accountable to the terms and conditions of the operating agreement and relevant regulations.This is necessary for boosting public confidence in the transaction process while encouraging the overall growth of the economy.

Secondly, the intrinsic planning role of the Trustee helps to protect Estates and facilitates inter-generational wealth transfer.

In a recent interview with Charles Omoera, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited (SITL), he discussed the role of a Trustee to individuals when it comes to planning their Estates using Trust structures and the long gestation period in finalising transactions. Omoera highlighted the involvement of Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited in combating the low level of awareness in the industry. 
He said: “There are several benefits associated with putting Estate plans in place and people need to be aware that they can have a seamless transfer of their wealth to their beneficiaries. On the challenge of the gestation period, we continue to follow up with parties in this regard and leverage relationships to cut short the delays.” 
Omoera recommended measures for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement to make the Trusteeship industry more attractive. 

He said: “I believe the Securities and Exchange Commission has been very proactive in ensuring that Trustees continue to function as they should in protecting the interests of their clients while upholding the high ethical standards expected of them.

However, scheduled periodic engagements and joint enlightenment sessions on the important role of Trustees would help protect the capital market and enhance the development of the Trustee industry.”
When asked about efforts taken by the organisation to protect clients from the negative impact of the pandemic, Omoera said the company has continued to work with both corporate and private clients through this challenging period. 

Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited operated remotely and efficiently to continue to serve clients by utilising virtual engagements and social media interactions. The firm continues to educate on the importance of estate planning and also to provide institutional trust solutions to current and would-be clients. 

He highlighted transparency as one of the values that the organisation upholds. According to him, “With a reputable outlook, we operate on transparency. It is evident in our operational processes, from the commencement of engagement with a client and throughout the lifetime of the transaction.” 
He added: “Our proposals/pitches, clearly outline all the necessary information for a client to make informed decisions. There is full disclosure, and there are no hidden charges as each product/ service offering clearly states the processes involved and applicable fees. We also ensure that reports are provided to our clients regularly with updates where necessary.” 

Speaking on the significant milestones in the industry over the organisation’s ten years of existence, Omoera said SITL pioneered the Simple Will service offering. This covers the balance in an individual’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) and personal bank accounts. Irrespective of their Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) or bank, individuals are encouraged to write their Wills.

Shedding more light on the company’s pioneer initiatives and innovative solutions, the SITL Chief Executive said: “As corporate Trustees, we pioneered loan agency and escrow agency services as well as employee share option plans in the Trustee industry. We put efficient structures in place to assist clients in achieving their objectives. We have in our team one of the five Nigerians eligible to use the designation of Trust Estate Practitioner (TEP) by the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP),” he said. 

Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited as one of the players in the highly competitive industry creates and administers Trust structures that satisfy clients’ objectives both locally and internationally. As a part of the Standard Bank Group which has served its customers for over 157 years, the organisation is centred on integrity and delivering value to its customers and offers a unique experience. 

The firm has also been a part of several groundbreaking transactions that has positively impacted the Nigerian Capital Market as well as the country. Its most outstanding achievement remains the numerous corporate and private clients that it has served satisfactorily and continues to serve.

Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited has supported organisations to set up incentive schemes for their employees under its Employee Share Option Plan in addition to other bespoke Trust arrangements.

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