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FCMB Group moves to acquire 96% stake of AIICO Pensions

FCMB Pensions Limited, a subsidiary of FCMB Group, says it has entered into an agreement that will see it acquire 96 percent stake of AIICO Pensions Limited.

The move is part of a deliberate strategy to grow the group’s investment management portfolio and build on the inherent synergies between its pensions and banking business, the firm said in a statement disclosed on the Nigerian stock exchange.

The statement which was signed by Donald Kanu, company secretary, AIICO Insurance Plc, noted that AIICO Pensions would cease to be a subsidiary of AIICO Insurance Plc at the conclusion of the proposed sale.

The acquisition by FCMB Group serves as one of several proactive steps, along with digitisation, that the company has embarked upon to enhance its market position and competitiveness as the industry braces itself for the commencement of Retirement Savings Account (RSA) portability.

According to the firm, Investment funds’ performance has been receiving greater traction amid a low interest rate environment.

In this regard, FCMB Pensions also strengthened its investment committee with the addition of Titi Odunfa Adeoye to its Board of Directors. Mrs. Adeoye is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Sankore.

The new Director holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a BBA in Accounting (summa cum laude) from Howard University and is a Certified Public Accountant (Gold Award).

Adeoye’s skills in investment strategy were honed at firms like Goldman Sachs in New York. Her area of expertise is strategies for the creation, growth and preservation of individual or family wealth with a focus on “alternative” asset classes.

Analysts have already seized on the announcement expressing broadly positive views of its impact for both FCMB Pensions and FCMB Group.

One investment banking analyst described the move as, “a positive move and a statement of intent from FCMB’s management to leverage its non-banking businesses to drive profitability”.

FCMB Group had since increased its stake in Legacy Pensions (now FCMB Pensions) to 91.6 percent in 2019 and now has full control of the business.

The pension arm of the lender has since grown its assets under management (AUM) to N325 billion with 350,000 customers as at March 2020, while that of AIICO Pensions is estimated at N126 billion with over 240,000.

A combined AUM of N451 billion and almost 600,000 customers will take the entire Group’s customer base to 8,000,000 and its total AUM (inclusive of all investment management activities) to over N560 billion.

In addition, the enlarged pension business will benefit from FCMB’s extensive distribution platform, comprising 205 branches, a strong web and mobile presence; and the recent the launch of its Pensions’ online enrolment platform.

Another analyst described the move as a, “landmark transaction giving a mid-tier player a great opportunity to bulk up”, further remarking that, “we believe the combined entity will be better positioned for stronger organic AUM growth and fee income contribution to the Group’s performance”.

Speaking about the announcement, Ladi Balogun, Chairman of the Board of Directors – FCMB Pensions, remarked that, “the business intends to use its scale to positive effect towards investing in the growth of the Nigerian economy, while ensuring safety and the most competitive returns for its customers”.

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