Book Review: ‘Mindset: Structured Thoughts and Integrated Perspectives’ -By Dayo Abinusawa
Don’t be fooled by the simple title of the remarkable book, “Mindset: Structured Thoughts and Integrated Perspectives” submits Dayo Abinusawa. The title’s antecedent by Seye Adetunmbi is insightfully illustrated on page 13 “Mindset: Structured thoughts …” when he writes…
“I came to the conclusion that this inclination of mine to write as dictated by my mood and professional callings has to do with mindset. This is why I couldn’t think of a better name to give this book […], considering the fact that it contains multidimensional and structured thoughts that cut across various aspects of human activities.”
Few guides are adequately qualified to lead readers through the intricacies of financial market operations and practice, which is now so seemingly accessible that retail investors can now manage their own assets through electronic trading.
Adetunmbi is a conservative capital market practitioner, yet was an early proponent of innovation in the Nigerian Stock Market, and led the partnership with Novare, a leading South African investment advisory and management firm, as CEO of Index Asset Management (he transitioned from Index in 2008 to lead Value Investing Limited as Chief Responsibility Officer).
What makes his book such an exciting read is that it’s not exactly the academic monograph its title implies. Instead, it’s as much autobiography as exposition — a practitioner that can be regarded as being in the vanguard of the capital markets, and who is still in the game, and a leading Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.
So, although readers will not learn about, say, stock charts and how they vary in their construction, they will travel with Adetunmbi to meet remarkable characters in the Nigerian financial markets and economy. Any insight into trading particularly in emerging markets would not be complete without an insight into the evolution of the Nigerian Stock Market (1961–2003), under the management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which began the year 2020 as the world’s best performer, according to the Financial Times. The NSE All-Share Index was even up more than 9 percent in the week of 10 January 2020, putting it top of the table among more than 90 markets tracked by Bloomberg.
The NSE plays a key part in Adetunmbi’s story, but in addition to contextualising it as a pioneering institution, he shares anecdotes, including this memorable appeal for restraint:
“As we capital market practitioners are aware, NSE is the oldest self-regulatory body in the capital market. Most of the rules and regulations governing the stock market that suit the olden days are still very much intact. Until they are reviewed to reflect the present setting, players in the market just have to be diplomatic.”
A similar sentiment is present in the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist, Oliver Williamson, on economic governance and the boundaries of the firm. Williamson found that the efficient organisation of economic activity entails matching governance structures with the transactional attributes of uncertainty, frequency of exchange, and the degree to which investments are transaction-specific, in a discriminating way.
Adetunmbi writes about elements of these attributes in governance:
“Everything depends on who is in charge, his/her inspiration and motive for getting involved in governance, all other things being equal. Make the governed a priority. Have a classified consideration for the […] masses by being their true representative in the real sense of it, you will get the policies and government matters right.”
One merit of Adetunmbi’s perspective in this book -“Mindset Structured Thoughts…” is his emphasis on the role of delayed gratification in individual endeavours and national polity, from those manipulating prices of moribund stocks to the detriment of the unsuspecting innocent investors, to seemingly decent people choosing to participate in a questionable government, whose concerns might arguably diverge from the illustration in chapter 65 that mortality is non-negotiable. No wonder Adetunmbi notes that “the resultant effect was often manifested in putting down [his] thoughts.”
Dayo Abinusawa, Educator | Entrepreneur | MBA (Glasgow), PhD (Cantab)