• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Innovation & Resilience: Zedcrest’s redefinition of the African financial services landscape


Over the years, the global financial ecosystem has witnessed a positive trajectory in the development — and disruption; one might add — of activities conducted across the continent.

This disruption cannot be alienated from the technological advancement that has swept the globe, leading to the birth of various sub-sectors and the modification of existing ones.

For financial services institutions such as Zedcrest Group, this implied something more — the unveiling of lucrative yet largely untapped terrain in global financial services and markets.

Zedcrest Group is a financial services group that focuses on delivering cutting-edge services in verticals spanning securities dealing, investment management, consumer & small business finance, and proprietary investments.

The company was recognized by ‘the Financial Times’ as ‘Africa’s Fastest Growing Financial Services Company’ in 2022. The company also has a BBB- investment grade rating from GCR, a leading credit rating agency in Africa and an affiliate of Moody’s investors’ services.

Notably, the digitization of financial services signified a gradual shift from brick-and- mortar institutions to a more flexible system of engaging the financial services market. Yet, none of these developments can be detached from the significant impact that the COVID-19 era had, in triggering this disruption, albeit positive.

The pandemic brought a forceful shift in conducting businesses. It became the paradoxical driver of the global economy — eroding the physical means of doing business while simultaneously bolstering the use of digital services in facilitating transactions. More than this, the pandemic forced a new reality upon the global economy — that emerging Small-and-Medium sized businesses, which are usually the foundation upon which the socioeconomic infrastructure of society is built, were just as important as the larger corporations.

This new reality allowed startups — particularly financial technology startups — to rapidly evolve into an essential cog in the wheel of the financial ecosystem. The explosion of FinTechs in the financial services industry can be said to have been a timely intervention — a sub-sect that was birthed to solve the immediate problem of conducting financial transactions for many, and with this explosion came many positive ripple effects: the gradual introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) as a leading technology in the fintech market, the growth of blockchain and regulatory technology (regtech) segments of the fintech market, and the emergence of peer-to-peer lending (P2P) among others.

As of the first half of 2020, global fintech investment totaled $26.4 billion, and as of 2023, the global fintech space is worth over $179 billion. Moreover, for various developing regions, such as the African continent, the fintech space created a minefield of lucrative opportunities for many — be they financial service providers (FSPs) or consumers.

For financial institutions such as Zedcrest Group, strengthening its position as a principal investor through its venture capital business has been aggressive as the company continues to support some of the most notable startups in Africa.

Through its Venture Capital Subsidiary- Zedcrest Capital, Zedcrest is invested in sectors ranging from energy, exploration & production, agriculture, manufacturing & financial services. The company is also a strong supporter of many emerging & innovative technology businesses, including Leatherback, AltSchool, Indicina, Simpu, Julaya, and Abwaab. Other startups backed by the firm include Bento Africa, Flex Finance, Lenco, Helium Health, Bankly, etc.

These companies have radically transformed their sectors, positively impacting millions of lives. AltSchool, for instance, launched AltSchool Africa, an edu-tech & talent optimization business to help many youngsters learn, and then gain employment as qualified technology workers without the rigors of the conventional four-year undergraduate degree program. Similarly, Leatherback, a multi-jurisdictional finance and payment infrastructure platform, that is enabling global mobility of businesses and people across many countries is already well recognized for its work in simplifying trade for cross-border businesses and immigrants, it’s a so-called community of “NOMADS”.

Unsurprisingly, the many efforts by Zedcrest in supporting businesses across the continent have earned the firm several international and local awards, including the 2022 Financial Times ranking for Africa’s Growing Companies as the Fastest- growing Financial Services Company in Nigeria. It was also recognized as the ‘Best Proprietary Investments Firm in Nigeria’ in 2019 by Global Business Outlook and the ‘Proprietary Investment Company of the Year’ at the International Standard Leadership Summit & Excellence Awards, which the World Quality Alliance organized in the same year.

Zedcrest’s commitment to corporate social responsibility is evident through its numerous initiatives. They have impacted the lives of over 10,000 individuals through education and skill-building programs, healthcare initiatives, and sustainable community development projects. Every year, the Group’s 500+ staff are organized into different project teams that seek to outdo one another in community support programs under the group’s “Employee Volunteering Scheme”.

In the past decade, Zedcrest Group has left an indelible mark on the African financial services landscape, shaping the industry and empowering individuals and businesses alike. This month, as the company celebrates its remarkable 10th anniversary, Zedcrest stands tall as a powerhouse in providing cutting-edge financial solutions for Africa and Africans. With an unwavering commitment to excellence and a relentless drive for innovation, Zedcrest has not only revolutionized the way financial services are delivered but has also become a symbol of hope and empowerment for countless individuals and businesses across the continent.

The company remains unflinching in its commitment to position itself as Africa’s leading financial powerhouse that offers various fintech products that cater to the emerging financial needs within this region through its other subsidiaries- Zedcap Partners, Zedvance Finance, and Zedcrest Investment Managers.

Its Securities-dealing & Inter-dealer brokerage firm- Zedcap Partners has led the development of the Nigerian fixed-income and currencies markets, providing market access and the best execution to a plethora of institutional clients in the Banking, Pension and Asset Management Industries. Zedcap Partners is also a partner of choice for about 50 foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) who are active in the African fixed-income and currencies markets. The annual FMDQ members-choice award for the ‘Best Brokerage service in Nigeria’ that Zedcap Partners has won consecutively for the past 4 years is a solid testament to the excellent services of the Zedcrest group in the very competitive and highly specialized securities markets.

Another subsidiary- Zedvance Finance, is a market leader in the consumer finance industry and has also provided affordable credit solutions to over a million individuals, helping them realize their dreams of education, entrepreneurship, and improved standards of living. Zedvance boasts a customer satisfaction rate of over 95%, reflecting its commitment to delivering exceptional financial solutions and building strong relationships with its clients. The company has embraced technology to enhance the accessibility and convenience of its services.

As Zedcrest commemorates its 10th anniversary, the anticipation surrounding the launch of Zedcrest Wealth- the digital product of its asset management business- Zedcrest Investment Managers, reaches a fever pitch. While the details remain shrouded in secrecy, one thing is certain – Zedcrest Wealth is poised to revolutionize the way individuals and businesses manage and grow their wealth. Drawing upon Zedcrest’s decade-long legacy of excellence and a deep understanding of the African markets, Zedcrest Wealth promises to be a game-changing platform that combines innovative financial products, cutting-edge technology, and personalized guidance to unlock the full potential of wealth creation.

Zedcrest’s 10th-anniversary celebrations culminated in a gala night where Zedcrest Wealth was unveiled. As we celebrate Zedcrest’s remarkable journey of the past ten years, let us stand together in anticipation of a future redefined. With Zedcrest Wealth on the horizon, the possibilities for financial empowerment are limitless. Undoubtedly, Zedcrest Group has shaped the African finance ecosystem, and with the immense possibilities of the Nigerian fintech space, there is no iota of doubt that more inroads will be made towards the attainment of a robust and lucrative future for all.