Mr Adeleke Alex-Adedipe is a partner at Duale, Ovia and Alex-Adedipe, a full-service commercial law firm. He is Chairman of the Annual Business Luncheon of the Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA). In this interview he speaks on the role of the CMSA in the capital market, its contributions to the development of its legal framework, membership and the luncheon.

Law is seen from different perspectives. What’s your guiding philosophy?

The law is an important tool for social engineering and more importantly, it should be used as a means of utility. The functionality of the law is just as important. The law is a double-edged sword and it is our duty as lawyers, lawmakers, policymakers, etc to wield same in the course of justice.

Does the Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA) have the same philosophical underpinning?

The CMSA was established with the primary objective of addressing the marginalisation of solicitors in capital market operations vis-à-vis other professionals, such as accountants, brokers and stockbrokers. It is set up primarily as a platform to articulate and promote the interest of legal practitioners specialising or dealing in capital market transactions. The Association is also concerned with developing the legal framework within which the capital market operates and pursues these objectives by organising training sessions, workshops and seminars for its members on topical issues arising in the capital market.

How have you engaged with the regulators or government agencies on addressing the gaps?

The Association is recognised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a registered trade group representing the interests of solicitors engaged in capital markets activities. We play a strategic role in the development of the capital market. More interestingly, we also work with the SEC to ensure we develop and create a more robust capital market space. We do our best to implement innovatively, some changes discussed with the Commission.

How would you rate CMSA in terms of contribution to the development of the legal framework for capital market operations?

I believe the Association has done well over the past years to drive conversation within the sector. For example, we have to consider the Annual Business Luncheon, which carefully examines topical issues in the capital market. There is no gainsaying that the Association has been very impactful and has been a pillar in the capital market space in Nigeria.

Your 2022 Annual Business Luncheon will hold on Thursday. Why the choice of the theme?

The theme is “Capital market and syndicate funding: Availability of capital market to small-scale investors.” The dynamism of Nigeria’s capital market has provided an opportunity for small-scale businesses to explore varying avenues to access funding. However, due to the peculiar economic conditions within Nigeria and the sparsity of information concerning investment options for small-scale businesses, entrepreneurs and business owners tend to overlook the Nigerian capital market when considering funding options.

Who are qualified to attend?
Professionals within the legal space, capital market ecosystem and other capital market enthusiasts.

What is the registration process?
Registration could be done online through bit.ly/CMSA2022 and it allows for physical and virtual attendance.

Is it free?
Yes. It is free.

Who are the sponsors of the luncheon?
It is organised by the Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA) with sponsorship from member firms, private companies and other individuals.

Can you run us through the programme and what participants should expect?
The programme is studded with interesting conversations and experts in the space to navigate the possibility of startups and SMEs accessing funds and finances within the capital market. There is a keynote speech from Temi Poopola of NGX Ltd on the importance of the event, and a Fireside chat with Mr. Tomiwa Aladekomoon of Big Cabal on “Capital market startup and financing for SMEs: Options & current obstacles for capital raising”.

Why are SMEs’ access to the capital market in focus?
Access to finance is a major factor hindering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria from optimally performing their role as catalysts to economic development. In search of a way forward, the luncheon is focusing on how SMEs in the country can access funding through the capital market. The event will hold on June 23 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. There will also be a panel session on “Capital market startup, financing and syndicate funding: ability of SMEs to access the capital market”. The session will be moderated by Vincent Iweze, Partner, Pentagon Partners and Vice Chairman, CMSA, while the panellists are Gbadebo Adenrele, MD, United Capital; Funso Akere, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Capital; Zelda Akindele, Partner, Templars; and Olu Oyinsan, Managing Partner, Oui Capital.

Who qualifies to be a member of the CMSA?
Membership in the CMSA is open to law firms that are registered with SEC as solicitors and market operators. Upon such interest, the executives of the CMSA shall audit prospective members on behalf of the Association.

As a key player in Nigeria’s capital market, what regulatory lapses or gaps have you observed?

The theme is particularly is focused on these lapses and we try to answer questions in those regards.

To Register for the Annual Business Luncheon, please follow the link https://bit.ly/CMSA2022

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