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CBN Granted Order To Freeze Trove, Bamboo, Others Accounts For 180 days

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A federal high court in Abuja has granted the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze accounts of six fintech companies.

The companies include that Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses, and Trove Technologies Limited.

In a court paper accessed by the News agency TheCable on Tuesday, the apex bank said it is investigating “illegal foreign exchange trading” by the fintech companies.

It sought the court injunction to freeze their account details for 180 days pending the completion of investigations.

In April, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the investing public on the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms, facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets according to a report by The whistler.

The regulator had advised capital market operators who work in concert with the referenced online platforms to desi

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted an exparte motion which sought temporary freezing of bank accounts belonging to certain online investment and trading platforms where Nigerians are transacting business online.

The motion was filed by Chief Micheal Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, on behalf of the Central Bank Of Nigeria Governor for the purpose of probing the defendants’ financial activities in Nigeria.

Defendants are Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses and Trove Technologies Limited.

The CBN alleged that Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, and Trove Technologies Limited were complicit in operating without a license as asset management companies “and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.”

Aondoakaa told Justice Ahmed Mohammed that the foreign exchange deals done with the defendants were part of what was making the Naira weaker to the United States dollars, hence, the need to block 15 of their accounts for about 180 days.

Part of the motion reads: “An Interim Order of this Honorable Court empowering the Plaintiff/ Applicant to direct the Head Offices of ZENITH BANK PLC (Churchgate Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC (Plot 635, Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (142, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.), ACCESS BANK OF NIGERIA (999c, Danmole Street, Off ldejo Street, Off Adetola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), VFD MICROFINANCE BANK (Elephant House. 5, Floor, 214 Broad Street, Marina Island, Lagos), to freeze forthwith all the bank accounts of the Defendants/ Respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry conducted by the CBN.”

According to an affidavit filed by a Senior Supervisor of the CBN, Christiana Gyang, the apex bank had reviewed the activities of the defendants to determine their alleged involvement in illegal foreign exchange (FX) dealings.

She stated that the investigation showed that the platforms were violating Nigeria’s trading laws.

It says, “Rise Vest Technologies Limited was Incorporated In October 2018 with objects of technological and business consultancy. The shareholders of the company at incorporation were Eke Eleanya Urum and Rise Vast Technologies Limited (USA). The company partners with companies involved in payments and settlements as well as internal and international remittances.

“However, information on the company’s website indicated that it is an asset management company, which provides a platform for customers to invest in foreign instruments using an app called “Risevest”.

“Our review revealed that the company consummated its asset management activities through its account 1017556580 with Zenith Bank Plc, which recorded a turnover of 1.97 billion between January 1, 2019, and April 27, 2021.

” Inflows to the account were mainly from retail investors through two Payment Service Solution Providers (PSSPe): Flutterwave (588.61 million) and Monnify (N967.58 million).

“Outflows from the account were to a PSSP – Paystack (500 00 million) and cryptocurrency traders Ike BuyCoins (N110.00 million) and Beltlum Venture (N350.00 million). Inquiries on the transactions confirmed that the transfers to Buy coins were for the purchase of cryptocurrency.

“The above is indicative that Rise Vest Technologies Limited traded in cryptocurrencies in contravention of the CBN circular referenced BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/014/001, dated February 5 2021.”

The motion added that “Bamboo Systems Technology Limited is owned by US-based Bamboo Global LLC (99.99%) and Oluwole Raiph Olugbenga (0.01%).

“The company was incorporated in December 2018 to carry on the business of software design, implementation, development, maintenance and consultancy amongst others. It is related to One Global Med. Technology, BSTL Lambeth and Grag Concepts Limited.

“Further reviews showed that Bamboo Systems Technology Limited operates an online App, “Bamboo”, that provides a medium for investors to buy and sell stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Index funds and derivatives listed in major exchanges in the U.S.”

Furthermore, Aondoakaa told the judge that the CBN was worried about how monies were going out of the country.

“We need to write the Embassy, we need to go to the Foreign Affairs….the Minister will serve the US to seek assistance so that we can block these linkages,” the lawyer added.

In his ruling, Justice Ahmed said “having listened to senior counsel to the applicant, on the motion Exparte filed in August, it is granted as prayed”

He said that any person who feels aggrieved about the freezing order is entitled to approach the court within the period so as to seek redress.

He then adjourned the matter to February 20, 2022, for hearing.

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Flutterwave, 9PSB Partner to Boost Growth of Inclusive Financial Services in Nigeria

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Flutterwave and 9PSB

Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company and Nigeria’s very first payment service bank, 9PSB on Monday entered into a partnership agreement that will help facilitate seamless financial services for Nigerians.

In a joint statement issued by both companies, the partnership seeks to create a seamless payment ecosystem by aggregating and simplifying transactions for banking agents, merchants, and consumers.

The partnership will also support the drive for economic growth through empowerment of the SME sector, entrepreneurs in FinTech and other industries, as well as contribute to the transformation of the informal sector to formal.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, held at the 9PSB head office in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac remarked that the collaboration between 9PSB and Flutterwave represents an important milestone in making banking services accessible to all.

According to her, the partnership supports both companies’ commitment to expand accessibility and serve as last-mile delivery of solutions to the unbanked, under-banked and underserved. She said, “9PSB, being focused on the presence in unserved, rural, and remote areas, has a unique business model that provides Agent Banking as a Service to our partners to drive financial inclusion. Expanding on our promise to deliver relevant products, with this partnership, our existing agents, partners, and customers will have a single point of entry to enjoy various products and services provided by Flutterwave.”

With this partnership, Flutterwave and 9PSB are jointly launching a suite of products to enable other corporate entities, FinTech, technology and other industries to take advantage of the robust end-to-end system available for payments, collections, and transactions for both the banked and financially excluded Nigerians.

Commenting on the choice of 9PSB as its settlement bank, Founder and CEO, Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola noted that both companies share the same vision and are committed to one goal of powering seamless financial services. “At Flutterwave, we believe in an ecosystem of shared value that transforms and impacts society. We are showcasing the power of strategic partnership and cross-sectoral collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s financial ecosystem,” he said.

A paper published by the CBN—Financial Inclusion in Nigeria; Issues and Challenges, admits that there is global consensus on the importance of financial inclusion due to its key role in bringing integrity and stability into an economy’s financial system as well as its role in fighting poverty in a sustainable manner. The partnership between 9PSB and Flutterwave keys into various calls for interconnectivity and interoperability amongst stakeholders in the financial sector in accelerating the country’s financial inclusion drive to create prosperity and grow the economy.

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RobinHood, WeBull, Others Trading Apps Hit 14 Million Users Globally, Twice More than a Year Ago

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Trading App - Investors King

Over the past years, trading apps have revolutionized the way people interact with the world’s financial markets and stock exchanges, making it simple and easy to trade online, whether at home or on the go. The number of people using these apps to make investments and monitor market trends has grown constantly each year, but in 2021 it surged to all-time highs.

According to data presented by BuyShares, RobinHood, WeBull, Fidelity Investments, E*Trade and eToro, as the world’s top five trading apps, doubled the number of users in the last year to nearly 14 million as of July.

RobinHood Hit 7.3M Monthly Active Users, Double the Second-Ranked WeBull

Stock trading has been moving to mobile for quite a while, and tech companies have been working on well-designed trading platforms to provide top-notch service to a new, tech-savvy set of users. That shift first started in the United States, where Robinhood has attracted tens of millions of users. On the other hand, the European market is still fragmented, with a handful of stock-trading apps slowly expanding to new markets.

According to AirNow data, RobinHood is by far the most popular trading app in the world. In July 2020, the app had around 4.3 million monthly active users. However, user numbers spiked in the first half of 2021, reaching a peak of over 9 million in May 2021. In July, around 7.3 million people worldwide used RobinHood to trade and make investments, 70% more than in the same month a year ago.

With 2.7 million monthly active users, or twice less than the leading RobinHood, WeBull ranked as the second most popular trading app globally. However, statistics show WeBull witnessed the biggest growth, with the number of users surging by 265% year-over-year.

Fidelity Investments ranked third with 1.8 million active users, 38% more than in July 2020. Morgan Stanley’s E*Trade and eToro followed, with 1.1 million and 1 million monthly active users, respectively.

RobinHood Reached 11.9M Downloads in 2021, Close to Other Top Four Apps Combined

Stock trading app developers are constantly innovating and adding new features to make portfolio management easier to do on the go. For example, many of the latest-gen trading platforms now feature AI-based tools to help users evaluate investment risks.

Besides having the largest user base, RobinHood also witnessed the biggest number of downloads this year. In the seven months of 2021, the trading app was downloaded 11.6 million times, close to the other top four apps combined, with almost one-third of all downloads happening in January.

WeBull was downloaded 5.6 million times in this period, 2.3 million more than the third-ranked eToro. Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade round the top five list, with 1.9 million and 1.2 million downloads, respectively.

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Verve Partners OBMEET To Give Cardholders 50% Discount

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Verve-Investors King

In furtherance of its drive to strengthen the payment landscape across the globe, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, Verve, has announced its partnership with OBMeet, a video conferencing and networking company, to give Verve cardholders a 50% discount on the platform.

The discount which is currently running till December 31, 2021 avails Verve cardholders added value for the services they enjoy on the OBMeet platform.

With this collaboration, Verve cardholders accessing the OBMeet no longer have to worry about the incidental challenges associated with such video conferencing and multi-streaming platforms, such as complex payment structure, capital flight, inconsistent exchange rates etc.

Speaking on the discount, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, said the partnership with OBMeet to reward Verve cardholders with a 50% discount on the selected packages is a demonstration of Verve’s commitment to reward its cardholders’ loyalty.

Eromosele said the firm is stirred to partner with OBMeet because they share a similar vision of delivering an invaluable experience to their esteemed customers.

She explained that the partnership will guarantee Verve cardholders faster and safer payment experiences on the OBMeet platform.

She said: “Consistent with our mantra of being ‘the rewarding way to make payments’, Verve cardholders are not only rewarded with seamless, faster, and convenient payment solutions, but they also enjoy more rewards in discounts as much as 50% on the OBMeet platform, from now till December 31, 2021.”

Vincent Ogbunude, Divisional Head of Verve, commented on the firm’s commitment to delivering top-notch digital payment solutions to Nigerians.

“It is no gainsaying that Verve has consistently delivered innovative payment solutions to Nigerians and the Africa continent.

“We are continuously seeking opportunities to ease payment pain points for Verve cardholders as well as Africans and this partnership with OBMeet is a testament to that commitment.

“We are confident that our cardholders will enjoy seamless payment on the OBMeet platform and the 50% discount offer is added value to the invaluable payment experience the Verve card provides,” he said.

Speaking on the partnership, Emmanuel Gabriel, founder of OBMeet stated that the collaboration is instrumental for companies, institutions, content creators, Small and Medium Enterprise, entrepreneurs to overcome the many challenges of capital flight, complex payment systems inherent in accessing video conferencing and multistreaming platforms.

He said: “Our focus is to give everyone around the world the opportunity to connect, build ideas and express themselves in a new way.

We are focused on creating economic value via the OBMeet communication platforms which bridge communication gaps and language barriers around the world.”

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