Fintech startup Cowrywise secures license from the SEC to digitize investments in Nigeria

NIGERIACowrywise, a fintech startup, has been granted a Fund/Portfolio Management License by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), enabling it to operate as a fully-fledged funding management company.

Securing a Fund/Portfolio Management license from the SEC emboldens the startup in its ambition of onboarding 10 million retail investors to the formal investment management industry by 2025.

With the new license, the startup plans to offer more for its partners (fund managers) and investors on its platform.

Cowrywise also said it will be making its APIs public to help fund managers across the world access its services and open up more investment options to serve customers in Nigeria better.

“Digitizing the investment management infrastructure is an important next step in our vision to democratize access to investment products,” the startup said.

“These APIs do not just apply to fintechs; any company can embed investment features in their products as our investment API simplifies regulatory, compliance, and technical hurdles.”

“This is a demonstration of our resolve to support technology innovation in the development of the Nigerian capital market while making investor protection a priority.”

Emomotimi Agama – Head of registration, SEC

It currently has 300,000 registered users and closed a US$3 million funding round in January to help it expand.

“We are excited to issue the first license in the fund/portfolio management category to a fintech player in Nigeria, Cowrywise. This is a demonstration of our resolve to support technology innovation in the development of the Nigerian capital market while making investor protection a priority,” said Emomotimi Agama, head of registration, exchanges, market infrastructure and innovation at the SEC.

Launched in 2017 by Razaq Ahmed and Edward Popoola, Cowrywise offers easily accessible, goal-oriented savings and investment products with more competitive performance rates than traditional alternatives.

The startup currently has 21 different mutual funds available through its platform, which allows users to get started saving and investing with as little as NGN100 (US$0.25). The Cowrywise platform leverages internal algorithms to recommend investment products that meet the individualised needs of each consumer, many of whom had previously never made an investment.

With the latest development, Cowrywise becomes the second fintech startup in Nigeria to secure a license from the SEC after the regulator granted the inaugural one to Chaka a few days ago.

However, Cowrywise is the first fintech to get a licence in the fund/portfolio management category. Chaka, on the other hand, got a Digital Sub-Broker licence.

According to Techcabal, these developments point to an improving relationship between the Nigerian capital markets regulator and the several fintech players that provide investment services in the country.

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