Mr. Franklin Nechi is the Chairman of Optiva Capital Partners Limited, a leading Investment Immigration Wealth Management Company. In an interactive session with MARCEL MBAMALU and other journalists, he spoke about his firm’s commitment to support Nigerians get access to global investment opportunities. Excerpts.
You have an organisation that is 13 years and still running. Is it safe to assume that you have grown from an insurance brokerage firm and evolved into a full-fledged wealth management organization and it did not happen by chance. What factors and values are key in driving this evolving institution?
The story of Optiva Capital Partners cannot be told without reckoning with the environment. It has been a challenging business environment, policies that have made it difficult in terms of operating environment, but one of the things we have prioritized as a company has been to recognize our staff, and then the customers. Optiva Capital has been about staff and customers. So by selecting the best in the market and motivating them, and creating greater opportunities for employees, training and incentives, to create and develop loyal staff because that loyalty is key to progress. So where we are able to channel everybody’s eye to the goal and creating an environment that is conducive for growth that has been key to our progress. When you have highly motivated staff then they are able to deliver on your promises to your customers. So we have developed a culture where the staff are constantly seeking to give more to the client, which is our goal.
In Nigeria, assets under Management at the end of 2022, of which Investment Immigration is a sub-set is estimated to be N3.5 Trillion, according to Agusto and Co., a reputable rating firm. Agusto & Co. expects a moderate increase in the size of the Industry’s managed assets, with an estimated average growth rate of 15.9% over the next three years. How is Optiva positioned to take advantage of this growth projected by Agusto?
If you look at the projections in terms of growth that talks about a need to provide solutions, so how have we prepared to take advantage, basically to leverage the need that already exists in the market. So what we have set out to do first of all, over the years we have strengthened and worked on our network of international partners and have strengthened that base and right now we can say that we have a rich network of international partners. Why are these important? To be able to provide the solutions, in terms of investment immigration, investment services and advisory.
These are very specialized solutions that require professionals, so our network of international partners across investment immigration, advisory, forms part of our confidence to be able to continue to expand our offerings of solutions. So when it comes to investment immigration, you talk about the holistic view, looking at all the jurisdictions. So at Optiva Capital we have got the whole range of investments. So depending on what our clients need would be, if they are looking for global access, if they are looking for immigration, then basically we have got that, so that is one of the ways we have put in the platforms to leverage this anticipated growth.
So, tell us about some of your partnerships in Investment Immigration for Citizenship By Investment (CBI)
One of our success stories is our ability to develop partnerships with strong and well recognized reputable institutions. One of them is Stuart Financial with headquarters in Montreal, Canada, a global company with offices in many countries. They are the financial intermediaries to the Quebec government, and they are members of the investment regulatory Council of Canada. A very strong institution, they have never had any African partner before now, and we are their only African partners. Not only that, we are engaged with them in Greece, Portugal, and of course here in Africa, for Federal Start-up programme in Canada. So for them to have that level of confidence in us, that should tell you something. We also have Green and Spiegel, which is Canada’s oldest and largest immigration law firm based in Toronto, specializing in corporate and personal immigration services. They have offices in five countries including the USA, and we are their only African partners. Then you have the Heng Sheng Group, which is another global group with footprints in many countries like USA, China, Singapore, Grenada. They have the largest investment in the Caribbean right now, a $2.4 billion investment. They are building the Grenada National Resort. We are equally their only African partner because prior to our relationship with them they had pockets of relationship but as soon as we came everything was subsumed into our relationship. Then we have Range Developments, an award-winning developer of luxury resorts offering Citizenship By Investment programmes in Grenada and the Caribbean. We are not exclusive because Range has other partners. We also have Anchor Capital, easily the largest trading investment banking group in South Africa with Asset Under Management of over Seven Billion US Dollars. We are their only partners right now. There is also AIL, an international insurance group, and also TIW Capital Group, a global asset management company in South East Asia with offices in Singapore, India, and UAE. Then we have CTP in Tampa, Florida, USA, which develops and manages over 760 old peoples’ homes. So we have a very strong and robust operation and we hope to grow it.
Investment immigration is a premium service and thereby not promoting financial inclusion? Can you expand your offerings to attract more participants to take advantage of your services?
First of all its about everything we are doing right now. We have laid the right foundation, we have got the solutions, supported by international financial partners, and we have got the distribution. So what we are doing is deepening the market, the number of clients, the number of people who walk through our doors and we provide the solutions. Right now we have provided the solutions to thousands of families and you can actually see our commitment, our investments in the Nigerian space both in terms of our footprint, the quality of our people.
In terms of offerings, for Nigerians who are not looking to or cannot afford Investment Immigration, what are the other offerings to clients that a holistic wealth management and investment advisory group can give for better returns on investment?
When you talk about our commitment and our holistic offering of solutions that means for different people across different life stages we have got solutions. Investment immigration in nature is a premium service, it is legislated and introduced by acts of parliament in the various jurisdictions that we deal with and it is for high networth individuals to be able to bring in investments to spur economic growth in those particular jurisdictions. But apart from that, at Optiva Capital Partners we have our holistic offering when it comes to wealth management. With investment immigration you have to deal with different options, so if you are looking at Canada there are different investment amounts. But looking at investment services and advisory, what we have is still a full range of investment for clients so whatever their life stage is, whether they are new entrants into the workplace, or middle level management or they are new families in their thirties or in their forties, we have got investment solutions for them that are well designed.
Finally, what is your parting shot for Nigerians seeking to explore the wonders of the world, various cultures, boundless opportunities, and global connections?
The first message is that if the world were to be like a book, if you operate in one country, you are reading only one page. People should begin to see the world as one because that is how it is configured right now, especially in the business world, so you have to see yourself as operating in all of them so that you will be able to take advantage of what exists in all the places. Also, look at life as a marathon and not a sprint, which means that if you are rich today you also have to be thinking about tomorrow by making plans for tomorrow so that there will be long term wealth. So if you have visas, which are access to travel today, how do you make them permanent? There are people who thirty years ago could travel to where they wanted to but today they are denied visas, so its important people think of second citizenship, so you get your umbrella before it starts raining.