Sunday, November 29, 2020

Alexander Forbes CEO says business as usual after BPOPF pulls out

Amid the commotion of BPOPF separating administration functions from Alexander Forbes Botswana Group, the CEO of Alexander Forbes Botswana, Paul Masie, insists it will be business as usual for the Group. The contract which came into effect in April 2001 ended in May 2016. 

In an interview with Sunday Standard on Friday, Alexander Forbes Botswana Chief Executive Officer Paul Masie, stated that when the fund was established there had always been a plan to internalise the functions, benefits administration, data services, trust services, investment Management Services and financial Services. More so, he said Alexander Forbes was aware of this since 2005 as there was a conscious plan to build capacity for BPOPF.

“It is not unusual for that to happen and the first stage started in 2005 until the final conclusion through the appointment of a consultancy,” said Masie.

Masie said the contract between Alexander Forbes and BPOPF came to an end in May 2016 when the latter revealed they would be taking over the administration of the fund.  The CEO admitted that although BPOPF pulled out, its membership has remained very high which enables them to achieve economies of scale. He is of the view that even though the BPOPF membership was high, the amount of fee per member from the fund was significantly lower than a normal pension fund.

“Yes, the impact is there because we are losing clients,” Masie stated.

He also said the costs are getting reduced, adding that in the near future things would have significantly changed. In Botswana, he says, the company has been in existence for the past 19 years before BPOPF was established and acknowledged that BPOPF has immensely contributed to overall profitability of Alexander Forbes.

Quizzed on whether the separation would affect employees, the CEO said they were fortunate enough that some employees were aware of this move which made them to ask for voluntary exits. He also said the voluntary separation with employees was optional, adding that there was no retrenchment.  

“We have other plans that we are working on within the company which we believe will necessitate us getting more members of staff,” said the CEO.

He is of the view that if the outgoing voluntarily staff members could join BPOPF; it would be good for them as he does not take pride in seeing them unemployed. “BPOPF is not our competitor and it would be unsettling if my employees were going to compete,” he said.

Going forward, Masie said the business is still viable, adding that they are exploring the possibilities of retail services. He confirmed that they are diversifying the business with a couple of other initiatives which he did not disclose for competition reasons.  

“We are a financial services company committed to positively impacting on the financial wellbeing of our clients. Deeply rooted in Africa, yet globally distinctive, Alexander Forbes has the knowledge, expertise and experience to help you secure your financial well-being by offering integrated financial solutions,” he stated.

Some of the Alexander Forbes clients include Bank of Botswana, top commercial banks, financial institutions, Mascom, retail stores, large parastatals, to mention but a few.  

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.