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TRIBUTE: Albert Okumagba, renowned investment banker, who was banned by SEC

TRIBUTE: Albert Okumagba, renowned investment banker, who was banned by SEC
December 09
12:24 2020

Albert Okumagba, popular economist and capital market operator has passed on, at the age of 56. The Delta state-born financial expert was the former group managing director of BGL Group, a leading investment banking, and financial services group. 

He was said to have died in Abuja on November 19, 2020.

Born in April 1964, Okumagba attended Federal Government College, Warri from 1975 to 1981 and Kings College, Lagos in 1983. 

The late Okumagba is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan and University of Lagos, where he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, respectively. 

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He attended several courses in multilateral agency credit appraisals, World Bank Assisted Projects and Corporate Finance. He is also an alumnus of the Lagos Business School Chief Executives Programme (CEP).

Okumagba was a member of the Presidential Committee of “Public Private Partnership (PPP)” for 104 Unity Schools in Nigeria, was appointed a council member of The Nigerian Stock Exchange from November 2003 to September 2006 and chairman of the Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria from 2002 to 2006.

Prior to establishing BGL, he was manager and head of mergers and acquisitions at Centre-Point Bank Plc (now Unity Bank Plc).

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During his career at Centre-Point, Okumagba managed portfolios in corporate banking, multilateral agency credits and traded on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on behalf of CentrePoint’s stockbroking affiliate, CentrePoint Investment Limited.

He is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), the professional umbrella body for securities dealers in Nigeria, and was the president of CIS between 2014 and 2015. 

During his lifetime, Okumagba’s motivational skills were uncharacteristic of the average Nigerian manager, while his avuncular attitude towards his staff and his incentive schemes brought out the best in his team.

Under his watch as the group managing director, BGL Group, he midwifed the merger of Standard Trust Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) in 2005 ahead of the banking consolidation period.

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Chibundu Edozie, deputy managing director of BGL, described the merger as one of the audacious and unparalleled deals in the Nigerian financial sector which was made possible by the late Okumagba.

SUSPENDED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC)

The frontline capital market operator was suspended from operations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 20, 2015, when the commission found BGL Group guilty of complaints made by various investors.

SEC indicated that the companies and their officials breached extant capital market laws and rules that led to a loss of N5.77 billion to 32 innocent investor.

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According to the commission, it received 32 complaints between 2012 and 2015 against the BGL companies over certain conducts in relation to operations of their Guaranteed Consolidated Notes (GCN) and Guaranteed Premium Notes (GPN)

SEC slammed a life ban on Okumagba, saying the restriction was the final decision of its Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) in the matter of APC/1/2015: Rivers State Ministry of Finance & 31 Others V. BGL Plc & 31 Others.

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“BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited, and BGL Securities Limited be suspended from all capital market activities, all sponsored individuals of BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited whose particulars are contained in the commission’s record as at December 2014 be suspended from performing any capital market activity,” the SEC directive read.

“All suspicious transactions observed in the course of the investigation have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for further investigation; and BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited and all individuals involved in the management of the said companies have been referred to the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC), which will give all parties to the cases a fair hearing.” 

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Befitting of his stature, encomiums have continued to pour in for the renowned stockbroker. 

In his condolence message, Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta state governor, expressed deep shock over the death of Okumagba. 

Okowa said Okumagba died at a time when his contribution to the development of the lives of Deltans was most needed.

“We, however, take solace in the fact that the late Okumagba touched many lives through his professional services while he sojourned on earth and he remains a huge blessing to humanity,” Okowa said.

In a statement, signed by Adedeji Ajadi, registrar and chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Olatunde Amolegbe, president of the institute, described Okumagba as a professional imbued with laudable initiatives from which the institute benefited immensely.

“Okumagba was a dedicated stockbroker who demonstrated uncommon commitment to the Institute and the profession as a whole,” the statement read.

“An astute thinker and big dreamer, he initiated several laudable initiatives which benefitted the Institute immensely. His death is a great loss to the Institute and the Nigerian capital market.”

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