How to Open A CSCS Account and Trade Stocks In Nigeria

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Whether you are investing in the shares of quoted companies, or in unquoted shares traded at the OTC platform or you are investing in government bonds; you should have a CSCS Account.


  • It is a requirement for investing in securities traded in Nigerian capital market
  • CSCS is the primary depository service provider for the Nigerian capital market
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has given a deadline to eliminate the issuance of physical share certificate and to hold all investment in shares electronically,
  • It is easy to monitor your investment portfolio with a CSCS account
  • It guarantees the safety of your investment

What is CSCS

CSCS is an acronym for Central Securities Clearing System. The Central Securities Clearing System Plc is a subsidiary of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) which started operations in 1997 as the major financial infrastructure for the Nigerian capital market.

Thus, the CSCS is the Central Depository for the Nigerian capital market with the responsibility for storing, clearing and settlement of securities transactions.

Specifically, we can identify the functions of the Central Security Clearing System in the Nigerian capital market as follows:

  • It serves as a Central depository for share certificates of companies quoted on The Nigerian Stock Exchange.
  • Serves as a Sub-registry for all quoted securities
  • It issues central securities identification numbers to shareholders; and
  • It is the Custodian for local and foreign instruments.

In order to effectively play this role the CSCS operates a computerized depository system.

To understand this role properly, consider the relationship you have with your bank. When you earn some money, you will likely have to make the decision of either holding the cash (in your pocket, bedroom or shelve) or you deposit it in your account with your bank.

To know how much you have in your account, you will ask your bank to print your account statement. If you have any need for your money you simply withdraw.

Why would you keep your money in your bank account rather than holding unto it? For safety and probably growth, I suppose.

In the same vein, when you buy the shares of a company and you are issued with a share certificate as evidence of your investment, you have a choice to either keep the share certificate in your bedroom or deposit it with the CSCS for safe keeping.

How CSCS Operate

The CSCS keeps it secured electronically. Any other investment you may make through the secondary market will also go into your account with the CSCS. If you wish to know how much shares you have, you ask the CSCS for your account statement which will show the companies you have invested in, what volume of shares you hold in each company and what the shares are worth as at the date of the statement.

When you give your shares to the CSCS to keep for you, CSCS opens an account for you and assigns you an account number. With this number you can buy more shares, sell what you have, or even transfer ownership to your dependent as you wish.

The CSCS was established to help strengthen the capital market and give investors a better investing experience. Prior to when CSCS was established there were inefficiencies in the system which discouraged people from investing.

For example, delivery of share certificates could take between 3 months to 12 months and settlement of transactions could take weeks. Verification of signatures was a herculean task and was major reason why transactions were not facilitated easily.

There was also many cases of misplacement and loss of certificates and theft.  Above all it was easier for fraudulent stockbrokers to sell investor’s shares in an unauthorized  manner.

The overall market risk was very high due to undue delay in processing trades.  Long transaction cycle led to manipulations by operators.  Above all, there was general lack of transparency and trust in the market.

How do I Open A CSCS Account Now?

Your first step to open a CSCS account is to approach a registered stockbroker. You can get the list of approved stockbrokers from the website of the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The stockbroker will first open an account for you with his firm to track your internal transactions or dealing. 

Thereafter, he processes your CSCS account.  The CSCS account warehouses your shares and other securities that you may wish to buy.

Opening an account is simple and involves the completion of KYC documents. For many Stockbroking houses, the requirements will include the following:

For an individual account

  • Brokerage Account Opening Forms
  • A CSCS Account Opening Form
  • A means of Identification (either of National ID, Drivers License, International Passport)
  • Passport Photo
  • Utility Bill

For a corporate account, provide the above documents in addition to the incorporation documents of the company.  Also required is a board resolution authorizing the opening of the investment account.

On satisfactory perusal of the documents, your stockbroker will prepare the account opening documents.  He vets and forwards the documents to CSCS which will now open the investor’s account.

You get a trading account number and a Clearing House number (CHN). The Clearing House Number (CHN) ties your account to the stockbroking house.

How Much Does it Cost to Open A CSCS Account?

Opening a CSCS account is free though your stock broker may charge you a small amount to defray administrative cost. Some stockbroking houses may also require that you deposit a certain minimum amount for trading as a condition for opening accounts for you.

You can request to open a Special Account. The advantage of having a special account is that you have direct control of your portfolio as the account is not tied to any stockbroking house and as a result your stock broker cannot manipulate your account or trade on it without your authorization.

The problem associated with a regular cscs account is the fact that your stockbroker has direct access to it because it is tied to the stockbroking firm. There has been cases where unscrupulous stockbroking houses sell stocks out of the portfolio of their customers without due authorization.

Subscribing to the CSCS Trade Alert is one sure way of knowing what goes on in your account. With this you are alerted anytime there is a transaction on your account and that way you will know if your broker is fondling your account dubiously.

Final Words

Opening a CSCS account is an important requirement for investing in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Your first step is to identify a reliable stockbroking company to do business with and the rest of the steps are easy.

If you are desirous of opening a CSCS account or trade stocks and need help, feel free to contact us immediately.  We can help you do that through our reliable partner stockbroking firms.

Feel free to contact us.

To your investing success.

Buchi creates content and leads the Team at Kobotalk Management Services; a business development and investment consultancy firm. He provides strategic advisory to help SME's, small business owners and HNI's grow profitable business and make informed investing decisions.

54 Comments on “How to Open A CSCS Account and Trade Stocks In Nigeria”

    1. To change your broker, you have to open a new cscs account with the new broker and conduct all subsequent transaction with this new broker.

      If you desire, consolidate the two accounts by transferring the account you had with the broker you don’t trust any more to the new one.

    1. I opened a CSCS account many years ago. The stockbroking firm seems not to be existing again. I know the number and even used to purchase the MTN shares recently. please, how can I have access to the account without the stock broking firm that opened it for me?

      1. You can have access to your account in either of two ways:

        1. Transfer your account to a new stockbroking firm and start accessing your the account through them or
        2. Go to cscs with your KYC document and evidence of share purchases. They will take your biometric and on confirmation that you are the true account holder, print your statement. Thereafter you may request to have an online access. This comes at a cost.

        I’ll recommend you get a stockbroker and move your account. That way the stockbroking company helps you in most of the things that relate to your investment.

          1. Approach any firm, open a new account and request that your account in an inactive house be transferred.

            They will give you the relevant forms to fill and walk you through the process.

    1. We are located at No. 4 Stella Sholanke Street, Off Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Ajao Estate, Isolo, Lagos. You can also call or send me WhatsAPP message via this number 08122292208

  1. I invested in access bank some years ago I have investors account number and my clearing house no.but did not know how to locate the investment and want to sell it.

    1. Contact your stockbroker. Since you have an investor’s account and a clearing house number, it means you either bought the stocks at the secondary market through a stock broker or you already have a cscs account which you must have opened via a stockbroking firm. Contact them

    1. After opening a CSCS account with a stock broker,how can I trade on my account by myself that is buy and sell stocks,process my dividend and get other benefits wothout a stock broker sir ..

      1. To trade on your account by yourself, ensure that the brokerage firm through which you created the cscs account have an online trading portal. You create an account on this portal and follow through the process. On the portal you are able to place your buy and sell orders, view and monitor your portfolio. For dividend processing, you have to follow up with the Company Registrars if you choose not to involve your stockbroker. However, there are instances that will need the broker’s input.

        Not that online real time trading of stocks is just evolving in Nigeria and not all the brokerage firms have developed the capacity or technology to offer this option. For many of them you still have to give your broker instruction to buy or sell stocks on your behalf. But there are a couple of them that are equiped and they do provide online trading portals for interested clients. Firms like Meristem, StanbicIbtc Stockbrokers, Greenwhich, etc., provide such trading portals.

  2. I bought shares for my son about 15years ago certificate was not sent to me. so i have not registered with CSCS or any broker, I only know the account number of the shares from the bank through the unclaimed dividend posted by the bank. How do I go about it so that my son can get the shares and dividend back,

    1. Go to the Registrars of the company they will give you the necessary forms to fill to dematerialize the shares.

      You will also have to open an account with a stockbroking firm to complete the process.

      Thereafter, you complete an e-dividend mandate so that all accrued dividend and subsequent ones will be directly credited to your son’s account.

      I assume that you bought the shares through public offer and that you signed the documents.

      Alternatively, you can first open an account with a stockbroking firm and let them handle the dematerialization process on your behalf.

    1. Yes, it’s possible for the children of a late shareholder to inherit the holdings of the investor.

      But how you go aboutit will depend on whether the late investor prepared a Will or died intestate. If the late investor had a Will, then the named Executor of the Will will act according to the wishes of the man. It is easy in this case.

      But where the late investor died without a Will (intestate), then you have to go through what is called Share Transmission to be able to benefit from the late man’s shareholding. This usually involves getting a Letter of Administration from the Probate Registry and further processes as may be required by the company registrars and CSCS.

      Your stock broker can guide you through the process of Share Transmission.

      If you so desire, get in touch with me for details.

      1. There’s no limit to the amount of shares you can buy; only your pocket will decide.

        Even with 2,000 Naira you can buy shares but you know that what you earn is proportional to what you invest. So don’t expect to make 100k with an investment of 2k. Hope you understand.

  3. My name is Aderemi. Thanks so much for this platform. Somebody help me to open a CSCS account through a stockbroker in 2007 and gave me an evidence that has a user name to access my account which I checked once. Thereafter I wanted to check the site but did not open telling me I have to subscribe. Ever since I misplaced the evidence given to me and did not remember the username and password and since then I don’t know what is happening to my share. I use to receive alert of e-dividend of first bank plc but for the past 2 years now I did not receive any. Just last week I contacted the person that help with the registration but he told me will need to go to the broker and have not heard from him. Before I came across this platform, pls advise.

    1. If the stockbroking firm through which your cscs account was opened is still in business, it’s best to contact them so that they help resolve your challenges. If however, the firm is no longer in business, you will have to go to CSCS yourself. CSCS is located at the Stock Exchange building on Customs Street, Marina, Lagos.

      Go with any evidence that you invested in the stock market. It could be a dividend warrant, any receipt from your stock broker, previous cscs account statement, etc. They will take your biometric, update your records and give you a print out of current statement.

      You will have to reactivate your access to online portal of cscs to enable you continue to check your account online. This may cost you a token.

      With regards to your unpaid dividend, you can approach the Registrars of the company(ies) which shares you hold. They will confirm and regularize your account. It may mean that you fill an e-dividend mandate form so that your outstanding and subsequent dividend are credited directly to your bank account.

      To make all this easy for you, you can simply open an account with a stockbroker of your choice and have them help you resolve these challenges. Many stockbroking firms will do these as part of their regular service to their customers free of charge or for a small amount of fee.

  4. Good day Sir,
    I can’t remember my CSCS account and I can’t remember my stockbroker either & I’m interested in trading in the stock market. How do I go about it?

    1. Do you have any evidence that you invested in stocks? This may either be a receipt issued by your stockbroker, dividend warrant or an old cscs statement of account.

      Take any of this to a stock broker of your choice, open a new account and give them the instruction to aggregate your holdings. They will know what to do.

      You can also approach the Registrar of the company or companies that you invested in with a proof that you are the investor. They are also able to help.

      Finally, if you have any of those documents I mentioned earlier, you can go to CSCS yourself and request for a printout of your account.

      Hope this is helpful?

      Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Hi Buchi,

    Well done for putting this out. I find the content very useful and insightful.

    15 years ago I bought shares from three companies but I have lost all the share certificates. Luckily, a friend directed me to the e-dividend website created by SEC to help people to recover their shares and dividend. Using the website, I was able to trace two of my shares. Also, I was able to trace some dividends cheques issued to me by the third company, which I was not able to cash. This cheques has my names and share certificate number as expected. Could the cheque be sufficient to trace and claim back my shares and dividend through a stock broker?

    I will be in touch if I need further information in recovery shares and dividends.

    Kind regards

    1. Yes, with the dividend warrant you can approach the Registrars of the company to update your account. This may mean that your cscs account is credited with your shareholding including accrued bonuses. Your stockbroker will be willing to help you out if you so desire.

  6. I lost my CSCS account and equally can’t remember my stockbroker, how can I retrieve my cscs account?

    1. Contact me personally let’s talk about it. You may have to engage the services of a stockbroker.

  7. Hello, I’m Annie Emmanuel from Calabar, I have an account with ARM LTD. which I opened myself, now I want to open the cscs account, how can I find a direct contact of a stockbroker to help me out in the opening of the cscs account.

    1. I guess you invested in ARM mutual funds. The company also has a stockbroking subsidiary, ARM Securities Ltd which you can contact to help you open a CSCS account and trade stocks for you. Visit their website to get their contact details and other information you may require. Since you are based outside Lagos, you can make use of their online portal to trade directly.

      Should you want to deal with a different stockbroker, you can send me an email, chat me up or call.

  8. How can I have access to my cscs account I really need to have access to my account for personal reasons

    1. First, if you don’t know your account number, ask your stockbroker to give it to you. You can then sign up for online access. Your stockbroker will give you the forms to fill.

      You can also handle this yourself by going to the CSCS office located at the Stock Exchange Building on Customs Street, Marina, Lagos with any evidence of stock purchases or dividend warrant and you will be availed of your portfolio details.

  9. I was recently contacted by a stockbroker that he needs the sum of #2million naira to open a CSCS account.Please how possible is this statement?

    1. You certainly do not need NGN2 million to open a CSCS account. I want to believe that you did not understand what the stockbroker meant.

      Every stockbroking company has a minimum amount they accept to open accounts for new customers but that deposit is applied to buy stocks into the account of the customer and not to open cscs account.

      As a matter of fact CSCS doesn’t charge investors money to open account but the stockbtoker may charge a token for account opening to cover admin expenses.

  10. I have an issue i bought some shares in the year 2007, and had a CSCS account but i cannot remember what it is Resort Securities was the broker i was able to login into my account with the login provided, For period of time they were offline and for the past 8 years have not been able to access my account. My question is how can one retrieve a forgotten CSCS account.I have tried severely to contact Resort Securities to resolve the issues nobody is responding and the proximity is not helping it is very frustrating. Please advice.

    1. Resort Securities was off the market for some time because they had some issues with the regulators but they are back now and are trading. You can go to their office at No.94 Broad Street, Marina Lagos to resolve your issues. You can also go directly to CSCS at their office at Stock Exchange Building also in Marina, Lagos with a valid means of ID and any evidence to show that you invested in the stock market (such as a receipt from Resort Securities, dividend warrant or contract note). With these, CSCS will avail you of your account details and the portfolio therein. Alternatively, you could give a mandate to another stockbroker or capital market consultant to assist you since it appears that you do not reside in Lagos. Hope this is helpful. Good luck

      1. The address of cscs you gave is same with what I have in my last report I got from them as at 2007 , have really been around so I don’t really know if they have sent anything since then. Please how can access my cscs to see my shares updates .do they have a website ?

        1. You can access your portfolio online but you have to register on the cscs portal and pay the necessary fees. For individual investors it is about NGN2,500 per annum and N5,000 per annum for corporate accounts. Go to, click on sign up, provide the required information and pay the fees using your debit card. You will be supplied with your log in details.

          But the first place to start in resolving your matter is to contact Resort Securities. As I said, they are back to the market and I believe they will resolve your issues.

    1. A CSCS account can be opened in one day provided your KYC documentation is in order. Similarly, share certificates can be verified and reflected in your cscs account within a week provided there are no queries on the verification request. Issues that usually arise with share certificate verification mostly revolve around signature irregularity. This can be avoided by including a banker confirmation of signature as part of the documents forwarded to the registrars in support of the verification processes.

        1. If you already have an account with a stockbroking firm, give them the mandate to liaise with the registrars to get your stock holdings credited directly to your CSCS account. If you do not have an account yet, approach a stockbroker of your choice and they will take it from there based on your instructions. You can also go to the Registrars yourself to get them to credit your cscs account with your stock holdings. It may require you fill a simple form, produce a banker confirmation of your signature and fill an indemnity form.

      1. Most firms can now complete the account opening process online. In that case, you fill the forms online, upload relevant documents and they take it from there. So you don’t have to physically go to their offices to open account.

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