Leapfrong To Inject GH¢375m In Financial Services Sector

Express PixGhana’s growing financial services sector will be given a big boost by investments totalling GH¢375 million (US $100m) from a new fund announced yesterday by LeapFrog Invest-ments.

The GH¢1.5 billion (US $400m) fund will invest in high growth businesses in Africa and Asia.

LeapFrog is the world’s largest dedicated equity investor in emerging markets financial services, with partner companies serving 22.7 million people across 16 countries. Ghana is a priority country for the firm.

“With its liberal, stable market and forward-looking investment climate, Ghana is a regional leader,” said Doug Lacey, LeapFrog partner.

He said: “Given the vast number of consumers demanding financial tools for the first time, the Ghanaian financial services sector is an exceptional investment opportunity.”

While Ghana’s economy is growing fast, less than 16 per cent of Ghana’s 20 million consumers save at a financial institution and only five per cent have insurance.

But recent regulatory reforms have helped to make these products available to the majority of the population for the first time.

As a result, there is rapidly expanding demand for financial services. The pensions market, for example, is expected to expand by 400 per cent in the next four years.

An early pioneer of insurance in Ghana, Mr. Lacey has over 30 years executive experience in insurance in Africa. He was recently named a Top 10 Industry Leader by Africa Asset Management.

“With our new fund we’ll be looking to invest in financial services businesses with strong management teams, a focus on the emerging consumer, and an appetite for growth and profitability,” he said.

LeapFrog’s fund will make equity investments of up to GH¢180m in any one company. These must be established businesses that deliver insurance, savings, pensions, investments, credit, remittances or payments.

LeapFrog has a strong track record in Ghana. In 2012, LeapFrog took a majority stake in leading life insurer Express Life in what was at the time the largest private foreign investment in Ghana’s insurance industry.

In March 2014, after successfully building the company, LeapFrog sold its stake to Prudential PLC, which was making its first step into insurance in Africa. And earlier this year, LeapFrog took a 25 per cent stake in leading independent pensions provider Petra Trust.

Kofi Fynn, Managing Director of Petra Trust said, “We decided to partner with LeapFrog because we found them to be unique for the specialist, hands-on operational support they offer to company leaders.”

He added: “LeapFrog is helping us build our reach into new markets and into the emerging consumer market in particular. They have extensive experience and deep know-how.”

Backers of the new LeapFrog fund include leading development financiers CDC, DEG, EIB and FMO; six of the world’s leading insurers; three of the world’s leading reinsurers; major pension funds; and global asset managers.

By Times Reporter

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