Pension funds trustee, Petra Trust Ltd, has beefed up its capital base and roll out capacity with equity investment from emerging markets financial inclusion investor, LeapFrog Investments.

LeapFrog, which has experienced and technical expertise in penetrating the informal sector, will now claim 25 per cent stake in Petra Trust, the indigenous corporate trustee, and bring on board management support services and training.

The partnership would also enable Petra to tap into the rich experience of LeapFrog in the financial services market in emerging markets, especially Africa and Asia, in strengthening its board an operational capacity.

The Managing Director and Co-Founder of Petra Trust, Mr Kofi Fynn, said in an interview shortly after that the partnership would enable them to scale up their penetration of the pensions market, particularly the non-formal sector where it was difficult to penetrate.

Mr Fynn and the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Chris Hammond, described the investment as landmark and a vote of confidence in the country?s pensions industry.

Mr Hammond said the LeapFrog would also bring advisory service to help Petra achieve its aim of offering opportunity to every Ghanaian to have a secure future through pension.

The reformed pensions industry occasioned by National Pension Act, 2008 (Act 766) makes funds available also to the private sector to manage for competitive returns through a contributory Three-Tier Pension Scheme to replace the previous Social Security CAP 30 and related schemes.

Both partners are attracted by the vision of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to see about five-fold growth in the second-tier contributory pensions industry over the next three years.

The Country Head of LeapFrog, Mr Doug Lacey, said the company had 18 investments across Africa and Petra was the second company in Ghana it was investing in, although it was evaluating some others.

?We are attracted to Ghana because of the conducive investment climate and the strong regulatory framework. We also invest in companies with quality management teams and the Petra Team stands out as the most impressive we?ve encountered,? Mr Lacey said.

The Education and Training Manager at the NPRA, Mr Emmanuel Awuku Dagbanu, who represented the authority at the press announcement, commended the two partners for the investment.

He said it was good for the growth of second tier pensions market, adding that the authority would meet various informal sector groups to educate them on the need to participate in the schemes. This will include churches, informal sector groups, chiefs and opinion leaders as well as at community durbar grounds.

?We would speak the local languages of the people and tell them the benefits and how they can participate. This will open the way for more trustees to venture into the informal sector,? Mr Dagbanu said.

About Petra Trust

Petra Trust is one of the top three trustees in the pensions industry (by assets). The trust offers a full suite of pension trustee services to employers and individual contributors.

Established in 2011, the company is run by investment practitioners with decades of asset management and finance experience in the United States and West Africa.

It currently has in trust the pension funds of about six of the country?s top 20 largest companies.

The company has a strategy to penetrate workers in the informal and semi-formal sectors through expanded sales force, channels, automation and innovative development.

LeapFrog Investments

LeapFrog Investments is a specialist investor in the financial services sector of emerging markets, particularly in Africa and Asia.

It recently exited its involvement in Express Life, a life assurance provider in Ghana, where it grew its portfolio from about 60,000 subscribers to over 700,000 subscribers, mostly in the informal sector.

LeapFrog?s portfolio companies provide insurance, savings and pensions products in countries such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The company?s most recent private equity fund yielded US$200 million for the first close in September 2013.

Source Graphic Business


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