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AXA Mansard divests from its pension and real estate ventures

Note that AXA Mansard Insurance Plc did not give any reason for the reason to divest from the said ventures.

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AXA Mansard Insurance Plc

AXA Mansard Insurance Plc announced today that its shareholders have approved the company’s plan to sell its pension management subsidiary (AXA Mansard Pensions Ltd) and some undisclosed real estate investments.

A statement made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange said the shareholders reached the resolutions during the company’s Extra-Ordinary General Meeting which took place on Thursday, February 13th, 2020.

In view of this, therefore, the company’s directors were authorised to appoint advisors and other professionals whose services are necessary towards facilitating the divestment. The statement, which was signed by the Company Secretary, Mrs Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi, said in parts:

“That subject to regulatory approval; the Directors be and are hereby authorized to divest from the following investment assets in furtherance of the objectives of the Company: a. AXA Mansard Pensions Limited. b. Real Estate Investment(s).

“That subject to regulatory approval; the Directors be and are hereby authorized to appoint such advisers, professionals, and parties that they deem necessary, upon such terms and conditions that the Directors may deem appropriate with regard to the aforementioned divestments.”

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Note that AXA Mansard Insurance Plc did not give any reason for the reason to divest from the said ventures. However, Nairametrics understands that insurance firms in the country are trying to shore up capital from various means possible, in a bid to meet and beat the recapitalisation deadline set by the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM.

NAICOM announced the new recapitalisation requirement in May 2019 and gave them thirteen months to comply. The recapitalisation programme requires life insurance firms to meet a minimum paid-up capital of N8.0 billion, up from N2.0 billion previously. In the same vein, general insurance companies are required to raise their minimum paid-up capital to N10.0 billion from N3.0 billion previously.

The regulatory capital for composite insurance was raised to N18.0 billion from N5.0 billion previously while reinsurance businesses are now required to have a minimum capital of N20.0 billion from a previous N10.0 billion.

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AXA Mansard Insurance Plc’s latest earnings report for FY 2019 showed a 29% increase in gross premium written to N43.6 billion, up from N33.9 billion in FY 2018. The company’s profit after tax for the period grew by 17% to N2.9 billion during the period, compared to N2.5 billion in FY 2018.

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Financial Services

How foreign exchange risks and others affect the Nigerian pension industry 

A report has analysed risks militating against the Pension industry in Nigeria.

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This is why you should make voluntary contributions to your pension fund

Despite being one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Nigerian financial services industry, the Nigerian pension industry has been affected by various riskssuch as the volatility in the foreign exchange and other factors.

However, these risks have harsh consequences on the retirement income of contributors. For example, in Nigeria, whilst the pension assets in the last decade have grown by 21% annually, the growth in the value of assets when converted to USDhas been about 11% over the same period. 

READ: PenCom recovers N17.51billion from defaulting employers, imposes penalties

This is according to a recent report released on Pension Sector Forum by ARM Pension, with the theme “Pension Assets Risk Management in the Face of Uncertainties 

All other things being equal, the findings revealed that the Defined Contribution Pension scheme assets on a 10- year time frame, grew faster than Defined Benefits (CAGR 8.4% pa vs 4.8% pa). Increased member coverage and higher contributions were probable factors responsible for the growth In addition, most retirees might not have enough funds to maintain a decent standard of living, as retirement risk has been transferred to them. 

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Other risks outlined in the summit includeinterest rate risk, political risk, operation risk, and key macroeconomic risks such as unemployment, GDP, inflation, currency among others. 

READ: Is Zenith Bank thriving on the strength of sound financial indices?

With regards to who bears the retirement risk, 68% of the risk is borne from one’s sources, while 38% is from outside sources. 

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The report also stated that the total pension contributions received in the industry from 2017- 2019, was almost equally split between the private and public sectors at the end of Q3 2019 

Explore Economic and Financial Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

Way Forward 

In mitigating the risks inherent in the Nigerian pension industry, experts at the summit called for increased collaboration among stakeholders, engagement with all regulators, increased advocacy for corporate governance, increased awareness, and sensitization of contributors by stakeholders among others as viable options going forward. 

Key Highlights  

  • As of June 2020, only 11.3% of the Nigerian labour force had opened retirement savings accounts (RSAs), while pension assets stand at less than 10% of GDP. 
  • The total number of funds under management currently stands at N11.1 trillion. 
  • There are currently over 9.04 million subscribers and 32 operators. 

READ: Why May was bad for your Pension funds

To view the report, click to download HERE

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Financial Services

Nigerian fintech companies raised $600 million in five years – McKinsey Report 

McKinsey report has revealed that Nigeria’s fintech companies have raised over $600 million in funding in the last six years.

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fintechs, commercial banks, Events in FinTech industry in 2019, Nigeria's fintech industry 2020: The growth frontier of the new decade

In a space of five years, Nigeria’s fintech companies have raised over $600 million in funding, attracting 25% ($122 million) of the $491.6 million raised by African tech startups in 2019 alone – second only to Kenya, which attracted $149 million.  The period under review is 2014- 2019.

This information is contained in a recently published report by McKinsey titled “Harnessing Nigeria’s Fintech Potential.” The report highlighted the combination of youthful demographic, increasing smartphone penetration, and concerted efforts to driving financial inclusion as factors that interplay to produce conducive and thriving enabler or platform for the fintech firms in Nigeria.

READ: BOOM: CBN issues new circular that could force banks to lend to nearly everyone.

The report outlined some of the feedback against fintech companies ranging from poor user experience, underwhelming value-added from using some of the financial products, low returns on savings, and limited access to investment opportunities.

The report also showed that Nigerian fintech companies are primarily focused on payments and consumer lending,  having allotted an aggregate of 39% on payments to consumers, SMEs, and corporate FSP, and an additional 25% to consumer lending. The breakdown is depicted below.

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READ: Banks Vs Fintechs – Who should be Afraid? (Part Two)

On the driving factors behind the increasing choice of payment and consumer lending as an area of concentration by fintech companies, a part of the report read thus;

“The factors driving growth in each of these segments vary. Payment-focused solutions have surged over the past two years, spurred in part, by the central bank’s financial inclusion drive and favorable regulatory policies, including revised Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements for lower-tier accounts and incentives, to accelerate development of agent networks across the country. Paga, OPay, Cellulant, and Interswitch’s QuickTeller compete with mobile banking applications and bank unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) channels to send and receive transactions and bill payments.

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READ: PenCom recovers N17.51billion from defaulting employers, imposes penalties

“Fintech activity in lending is picking up, thanks to the fact that fintechs are able to leverage payment data to determine lending risk more easily, and utilize smartphones as a distribution channel. For example, fintech startups such as Carbon and Renmoney have successfully leveraged alternative credit-scoring algorithms, to provide instant, unsecured, short-term loans to individuals. A few fintechs, such as Migo, have also stepped up to offer unsecured working-capital loans to SMEs with minimal documentation. Banking fintech solutions have been fast followers here, with leading banks launching digital lending platforms like Quick Credit by GTBank and Quickbucks by Access Bank.”

In general, access, convenience, and trust have all played key roles in the increasing use of fintech products. For example, in the last six months, 54% of consumers have reported increased usage of their fintech products

READ: Key ‘side-hustles’ Nigerian Bankers supplement their income with

Why this matters

In line with the National Financial Inclusion goals of 2020, and owing to the fact that despite the remarkable progress recorded by traditional banking institutions, the vast majority of consumers are underserved.  Hence, the issue of accessibility especially in remote areas, affordability, and user experience have been a front-burner issue.

The aforementioned issues have created an opening that fintechs have been quick to take advantage of, providing enhanced propositions across the value chain, to address  major points in affordable payments, quick loans, and flexible savings and investments among others.

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READ: CBN grants licenses to 3 Payment Service Banks

Conclusion

Fintech accounted for only 1.25% of retail banking revenues in 2019, signaling a room for development. Despite recording a growth of fintech investments in Nigeria to the tune of approximately $460 million in 2019, majority of these investments were from external investors. This was only a small fraction (1.27%) of the $36 billion invested in fintech globally.

READNew report details how Nigerian fintech companies are expanding their business scopes

The report opined that full optimization of fintech companies in Nigeria can stimulate economic activity, by creating a multiplier effect, and can drive progress towards development goals. Economic impact will primarily come from expanding revenue pools and attracting foreign direct investment to the country. The sector can unlock a plethora of  economic benefits by driving increased fintech productivity, capital, and labour hours through digitization of financial services.

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Financial Services

Young female professionals in insurance are constrained by inadequate opportunities – Dive In

Young female professionals in the insurance sector are constrained by inadequate opportunities, a survey has revealed.

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A survey has revealed that despite the ambition to attain a top-level career, young female professionals in the insurance sector are constrained by inadequate opportunities relative to gender bias and unequal pay.

The survey, which was conducted by Dive In team, also found that female professionals in the sector face limitations on their rise to leadership amid other challenges.

The survey, which was disclosed at the Dive In Nigeria Festival webinar on Thursday, further highlighted that females are willing and ready to take up more challenging roles within the sector and have to resort to professional bodies for support and guidance in their careers.

At the webinar themed ‘Promoting Inclusion & Diversify in the Nigerian Insurance Industry for a Quantum Leap, which was attended by Nairametrics, the immediate past Managing Director, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Funmi Omo, one of the top 100 women CEOs in Africa, explained that equal opportunities, equal pay, female empowerment, and commitment from leadership in firms are crucial to the development of the sector in Nigeria.

She said, “Women should be seen as the backbone of any economy, and as such, they need to be given more attention. From the insurance standpoint, we need to have a more structural and deliberate approach to thrive. Diversity is very good, it brings about balance. Leaders have to step up to make the insurance sector more welcoming and structured. They need to be flexible and avoid being rigid and also take advantage of the newness and freshness of the younger generation. Do not micromanage them, let them explore, allow them to breathe, and make their own mistakes so they can see a future in the industry.”

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(READ MORE: First Bank empowers women through online community)

Some leading females in the industry also lent their voice to the younger female professionals in insurance & finance in a campaign titled “Letters to my younger self.”

They shared lessons that would help the younger generation develop a mindset and character required for success within the sector.

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Other speakers included Adetola Adegbayi, Executive Director, General Insurance Business Division, Leadway Assurance Company Ltd, a Legal Practitioner with extensive experience in Legal Research, Corporate Legal Practice, Insurance, and Financial Services; Nike Anani, Co-Founder African Family Firms, a firm dedicated to assisting second-generation family members (“NextGens”) in identifying and implementing new opportunities, shortening the journey from identification to impact.

On steps being taken to promote diversity and inclusion in hiring strategies, MD, African Reinsurance Corporation, Dr. Corneille Karekezi said, “We are aware that women are not well represented in the workplace and as such at Africa Re Group, we make special provision for women inclusion in nomination for senior roles, provision for tribal diversity and inclusion to drive equality within the corporation.”

He stressed that the mandate for them at his firm is, integrating Africa, and to achieve this, it is important that diversity and inclusion are promoted.

“Communications and the intention to achieve equality helps us ensure diversity and inclusion,” he added.

About Dive In

Dive In is a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures. Its mission is to enable people to achieve their potential by raising awareness of the business case and promoting positive action for diversity in all its forms.

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