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Actis exits Sigma Pensions

Anna Lyudvig
Nov. 4, 2022, 1:06 p.m.
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Actis, through its holding company Actis Golf Nigeria (AGN), has received regulatory approval to exit its investment in Sigma Pensions, a Nigerian Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to First Ally Asset Management, a Lagos-headquartered asset manager and First Guarantee Pensions (FGP), a subsidiary of Access Holdings. 

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Actis, through its holding company Actis Golf Nigeria (AGN), has received regulatory approval to exit its investment in Sigma Pensions, a Nigerian Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to First Ally Asset Management, a Lagos-headquartered asset manager and First Guarantee Pensions (FGP), a subsidiary of Access Holdings. 

Sigma is a Tier One Pension Fund Administrator with contributors across the private, federal and state sectors and a pan-Nigerian branch network.

Actis’ partnership with the organisation dates back to 2015, when a majority stake in the company was acquired from the founder, Umaru Modibbo, who has continued to hold a minority stake in the business and support its ongoing success.

Sigma operates in an underpenetrated pensions sector and Actis’ value creation strategy was underpinned by long-term secular trends including a young, growing population and a growing formal sector.

Over the last six years, Actis has worked with Sigma to implement a broad range of value creation initiatives, which included: investing in the management team and making several key senior hires including the current CEO, Dave Uduanu; appointing a Chief Investment Officer and a fixed income specialist, which has facilitated an optimisation of Sigma’s bond portfolio and improved returns from Sigma funds; appointing a Chief Technology Officer to drive digital transformation, operational efficiencies, and business model optimisation; improving risk management and corporate governance by reconstituting the Board and recruiting two Non-Executive Directors with extensive Financial Services experience; refreshing and extending the brand to deepen penetration both geographically and demographically; restructuring, expanding, and investing in Sigma’s sales and marketing function to drive revenue growth; and embedding the highest standards of business conduct, which has included the implementation of policies and guidance relating to Anti-Bribery & Corruption for the industry.

Natalie Kolbe, Non-Executive Director for Actis, said: “Sigma has transformed during the course of our partnership, and we are delighted that Access Bank, as one of Nigeria’s largest banks with a large distribution platform, is set to support the Company across its next phase of growth. The market Sigma operates in is ripe for consolidation and I have no doubt that with the dedicated backing of Access Bank, they will go from strength to strength.” 

Actis’ partnership has seen Sigma emerge as one of the top five and most reputable PFAs in the industry.

Despite the economic challenges in Nigeria during Actis’ investment period, Sigma has emerged with top quartile investment returns, strong double-digit growth in assets under management and revenue, and one of the lowest-cost to income ratios in the industry.

Today, Sigma has c.800k contributors, c.N600m in AUM, 253 employees and is present in all 36 states in Nigeria.

David Uduanu, CEO of Sigma Pensions, said: “Together, we have grown Sigma into a leading operator, with top quartile returns, for its satisfied savers. This would not have been possible without Actis’ assistance embedding best-in-class governance standards, revamping our funds and their respective portfolios, as well as fine-tuning our sales, marketing, and compliance functions. Today, Sigma is recognised as a solid platform in a sector ripe for consolidation – our future is bright and we’re grateful for Actis’ partnership.”

Folaseto Akin-Olugbade, Non-Executive Director for Actis, added: “Since 2015, we have supported Sigma as it overhauled its corporate governance, customer services, operations and executive leadership. Today, Sigma is a stronger organisation, something that is reflected in its investment returns and operational performance. We wish the company every success in its partnership with Access.”
The Sigma exit builds on Actis’ track record of exiting to strategic buyers in Africa, as illustrated with the recent exit of Mouka Foam to Dolidol, GHL Bank to First National Bank Ghana and Compuscan Holdings to Experian Plc. 

 

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