The 'panic' in the panic withdrawal syndrome
The crisis that ravaged the Ghanaian banking sector has taken its toll on the investment sector with several companies facing panic withdrawals from their customers.
Such bad news in the financial industry is being attributed to the famously mentioned “weak economic fundamentals”, such as undercapitalisation, non-performing loans, poor credit risk management, lack of capacity, and to some extent bad corporate governance.
Historically, Ghana has not witnessed any severe panic withdrawals since the financial industry became robust.
According to experts, the seeming consistent manner the Bank of Ghana hit at the non-performance of local financial institutions was what started the panic among the citizenry. Ghanaians are yet to come to terms with the shock of having seven local banks being merged by the Central bank as a result of liquidity challenges.
For many, what actually broke the camel’s back was when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered gold trading firm, Menzgold Ghana Limited, to suspend their operations with the public. As a result, the company placed a temporal halt on all extra value payments and any new business related to their Gold Vault Market. Expectantly, some depositors lost confidence and started agitating, for the mere reason that they feel the industry is sinking and their investments were gone.
SEC also asked all Fund Managers to stop offering guaranteed returns on investment to their clients to sanitise the industry and protect the integrity of the capital market.
Following all this development, the industry has been hit with panic withdrawals from their customers over fears of safety of their deposits despite assurances from all regulators.
Why panic withdrawals need to stop
Funds deposited in investment firms like Databank, Gold Coast Fund Management are safe. These financial institutions have been in existence for over twenty years and have solid track records. They obviously wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise their hard earned reputation.
From all indications, the investment houses are currently restructuring their product offerings in line with SEC requirements. Panic withdrawals will cause unnecessary fear and eventually worsen the plight of the industry. People need to pause and think before they spread false rumours.
Gold Coast Fund Management for instance has started making significant progress in transforming the Structured Finance product that thousands have benefited from to become an even more beneficial one.
The Bank of Ghana has stated that the industry is now stronger than ever and is well-positioned to translate the gains made so far from various reforms as directed by SEC and the Central Bank.