“Kgori Capital was built on the passion for driving change in Botswana and in the lives of her people through purposeful and impactful investment solutions,” these are the words of Alphonse Ndzinge, one of Kgori’s co-founders who today doubles as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of the company.
Kgori Capital is one of Botswana’s pioneering, independent and fully citizen-owned financial services firms. Established in 2012, the company recently marked its 10th anniversary with a colourful gala dinner for its clients. Ndzinge says from humble beginnings as a complete start-up 10 years ago, the company is proud of the collective contribution that its team has made in building a leading Botswana-based investment management firm.
“We have been privileged to manage money on behalf of several of the largest and most sophisticated institutional investors in Botswana,” he told The Business Weekly & Review in an interview. “Since inception to-date, the business has been awarded over 25 institutional client mandates and currently manages assets for hundreds of individuals through our unit trust investment products.” Acknowledging that the early days were challenging, particularly in a highly competitive industry of asset management, the 10th anniversary is a milestone that Ndzinge is proud of.
“The milestone is a significant achievement for the board, management, staff and shareholders of Kgori Capital,” he said. “We are appreciative to all our stakeholders for being part of our journey and for placing their trust and loyalty in our team over the last decade.” Ndzinge emphasised that the company is not where it is today by mistake. Right from the onset, he said, they knew that they needed to demonstrate that a Botswana firm could not only compete but excel in an industry that was not sufficiently represented by firms with meaningful citizen participation.
“In other words, we wanted to prove by example that Botswana businesses such as ours can box with the very best even on the international playing field,” he asserted. “We were motivated by our own ambition and that of our clients to constantly strive to do more, do better and scale greater heights.” Highlighting some of Kgori Capital’s achievements over the last decade, Ndzinge noted that from day one, as a business they took on responsibility for growing the financial services industry in Botswana. This, he explained, was done by playing a leading role in growing a stronger savings culture by being a key driving force behind broadening financial inclusion in society.
“Kgori Capital is committed to giving back, building and supporting communities it operates in,” said Nzinge. “To that end, we have launched several high-impact social projects over the years. We have always believed the journey of transformation starts with the transformation of mindsets, and that is education.” Understanding that while Kgori Capital is a business, it has also over the years come up with lasting Corporate Citizenship Investment initiatives. “Our corporate citizenship initiatives have therefore maintained an education threading with programmes like the Kgori Press Club, the Internship Programme, Unpacking Jargon (financial dictionary) and being the lead sponsor of the Botswana Pensions Society Conferences in the past.”
Ndzinge pointed out that today Kgori Capital has established and proven 10-year track record of delivering excellent investment outcomes and an industry-leading client service experience for its clients. “We are also proud to have one of the most qualified, committed and experienced teams of investment professionals in the industry,” he said. But although the company has had a fair share of achievements over the last decade, it has also experienced some challenges too. “There have been a lot of challenges in the sector and for us as a business too over the last decade,” he noted. “But most challenges were always seen as an opportunity to introspect further, and no matter how negative they were, have always yielded many positive results.”
This in turn has led to many improvements to the business and reaffirmed that Kgori Capital’s core business and its way of doing business is of world-class standard. Ndzinge said in overcoming these challenges, they believed from the onset that sound business structures, practices and ethics can make a business wholly resilient. “Equally critical to overcoming challenges and growing has been our ability to attract, retain and motivate talented individuals in every area of our business,” he asserted. “We believe in having the very best team in order to be able to deliver excellence for our clients and overcome challenges.”
In addition, he said, they have also continued to make investments in the company over the years, specifically in technology to enhance their clients’ service experience and to achieve greater operational efficiencies. Some of the challenges that Kgori Capital faced are not exclusive to it but are common to the industry as a whole. “The industry has grown significantly in the last few years,” Nzinge pointed out. “Although this is a welcome development, the industry has been faced with, and continues to face, a number of pressures such as achieving and demonstrating regulatory compliance.”
Another factor that he identified is growing competition with many players entering the asset management industry. “These organisations’ resources will place further pressures on asset management firms who may not be able to provide their services at competitive prices.” There is also a rise of technology-driven competition and new products that are forcing firms to re-evaluate where and how they reach the market, which can be costly. But on the whole, the MD of Kgori Capital noted, market volatility and price movement are accelerating the industry and asset class levels dramatically. “Because of these factors and others, many investment management firms are adjusting their budgets and financial strategies,” he said.
As the company marks its 10 years of existence, which have had both the good and the bad, it remains enthusiastic about the future. “We are very enthusiastic about the future of the business as we embark on our next chapter with purpose and vigour,” said Ndzinge. He emphasised that he and his Kgori team will continue to work hard to deliver excellent and industry-leading results for their clients. The driving force for them, he emphasised, is their collective desire to serve the country and to do so proudly. “This is because we need, as Botswana businesses, to make it clear that Batswana can and will do great things,” he said. “We need to invest and believe in ourselves.”