Five discount houses have operated in Nigeria, starting with three in 1993. The two others joined later, beginning operations in 1995 and 1996. A long period of market presence, obviously, but much are they known and to what extend are their services known about? To the general public, the answer will be a clear ‘little’. However, they do have their primary constituency – the Central Bank, other banks, financial institutions and fund managers – and to this group, their activities may be well-known. However, discount houses offer services that the general public can benefit from, but largely doesn’t know about.
Given that the discount houses were, at inception, expected to make a huge contribution to developing the money market and adding a lot of steam to the economy through their intermediation in short-term securities trading, it won’t be misplaced to argue that more awareness by the public, and indeed, participation, is needed. Because we strive here to highlight opportunity areas for our readers to tap into, this article is an effort at showcasing the services of discount houses and the areas where ordinary folks can take advantage. This is an opener. In further articles on this sub-sector of the financial system, more searchlight will be beamed at their specific areas of operation and perhaps the unique services of individual operators.