Friday, October 30, 2020

BPOPF likely to exit its investment in Bona Life

Following the appointment of Former Managing Director (MD) of Alexander Forbes Botswana, Paul Masie as the Statutory Manager, Bona Life Directors have no control of the company anymore.

It is not clear whether or not the recent decision by Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) to place Bona Life under statutory management will eliminate risks facing the for the benefit of pensioners and policyholders.

Majority shareholder, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) initially injected P50 million in the business and it went down terribly by 90 percent.

The first investment that Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP) made was in Bona Life which at the time was envisaged to be a prime provider of insurance products.

Six years later the P50 million that BPOPF invested for 40 percent of the equity is now worth a mere P2. 7million.

Bona Life was one of the annuity providers for pensioners including BPOPF members, and of the P800 million annuity business about P500 million was BPOPF pensioners. Information reaching this publication is that BPOPF has resolved to exit the investment and that it will not put in further working capital.

Contacted on Friday, BPOPF Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Boitumelo Molefe said that it is unfortunate that BPOPF is perceived to have the means to invest in anything and everything.

“We are guided by an investment strategy that speaks to earnings and growth expected by members slush that rescues ailing businesses,” said Molefe.

Molefe indicated that they also have a local private equity fund that serves the SME sector, worth P1 billion.

Contacted on Friday, Bona Life Statutory Manager Masie stated that his immediate role is to take care of day to day business and to ensure that it continues to meet its obligations to all stakeholders.

He spoke of section 47 of the Insurance Industry Act 2015 which outlines substantially the duties and functions of the Statutory Manager.

“I report to NBFIRA as frequently as will be required by their office to fulfill their mandates and for me to fulfill mine,” said Masie.

Further quizzed, Masie said the main objective is to ensure that all policy holders are protected to the greatest degree possible annuitants or pensioners included.  He added that the current process is aimed at fostering such.

“I cannot get into details regarding the operations or finances of the company. I would prefer not to go into the operational and financial affairs of the company as doing do would offend several agreements that are already in place,” he said.

Back dated to 27th July 2018, the High Court of Botswana, had previously placed Bona Life’s business associate Capital Management Botswana (CMB) under statutory management and at the time Peter Collins got appointed as Statutory Manager of CMB and as Statutory Manager he was in full management, control and authority of CMB forthwith.

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