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Access to global markets vital to business growth – Optiva

Ms Jane Kimemia is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Optiva Capital Partners Limited, a leading Investment immigration and wealth management company. She speaks about the global investment climate and the need for local investors to gain unfettered access to global markets in this interview with ANOZIE EGOLE

In Nigeria, Assets Under Management at the end of 2022, of which investment immigration is a sub-set is estimated to be N3.5tn, according to Agusto and Co. The research firm expects an estimated average growth rate of 15.9 per cent over the next three years. How positioned is Optiva to take advantage of this projected growth?

If you look at the projections in terms of growth that talks about a need a need to provide solutions. So how have we prepared to take advantage of this? It is basically to leverage the needs that already exist in the market. So what we have set out to do is that first of all, over the years, we have strengthened and worked on our network of international partners. We have strengthened that base such that right now we can say that we have a rich network of international partners.  Why are these important? They are important for us to be able to provide the solutions, in terms of investment immigration, investment services and advisory services. These are specialised solutions that require professionals, so our network of international partners across investment immigration and advisory services is part of our confidence. This enables us 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 the whole range of investments. So depending on what our clients’ needs would be, whether they are looking for global access or immigration, basically, we have got that. So that is one of the ways we have put up the various platforms to leverage this anticipated growth.  Number two, when it comes to investment advisory, we are still talking about the strength of our partnerships. This means that looking at the global space, for example, if you look at the New York Stock Exchange, and Frankfurt Stock Exchange, there is a multiplicity of investment options. Talking about that multiplicity, we break it down to what our clients can invest in because through our partnerships we develop products based on investment strategy; we bridge the gap between what we see globally and the client’s aspirations. This is then shown in the real products that they can invest in.

How has expansion driven your business growth? 

When it comes to business distribution, we have invested heavily in branches with 17 branches presently and four more coming shortly. If you look at our distribution, we are where our clients are, where they do business, their homes, and we continue to expand to reach our clients. We are looking at Aba, ASPAMDA, to also tap into the informal market where you have clients who do business- these are traders. They need to travel, they need access to passports that allow them to do international travels, they need to save because they import in international currency, and they need to invest in international currency.  We are also heavily invested in people because of our commitment to learning because there is a lot of learning that is required in order to say you are an expert in the wealth management space. So at Optiva Capital, we are committed to lifelong learning. So these are some of the ways we are leveraging to take advantage of the anticipated growth

In terms of returns on investment relative to other forms of asset management services, how does immigration investment help investors seeking to obtain alternative citizenship or residency in other countries?

When you talk about return on investments, say you invested in mutual funds, basically, you are looking at an increase in the valuation of what you are investing in, whether it is financial assets or real estate. It is about the increase in valuation and dividends. So on the whole; you are looking at return on investments. When it comes to investment immigration, you are looking at the return on investments not only in financial terms; it’s in both direct and indirect returns. Some of our clients are traders, people in business, and business executives, these are high-networth individuals; global access is very important to them so second citizenship or permanent residency in a number of jurisdictions is important to them. This means that they have a world of opportunities because there are so many people who have lost opportunities to do business because they were carrying only one passport, they have to go through long visa queues to get access to some markets. So when you think of return on investment on immigration investment, the first thing is global access which gives them access to business that they ordinarily would not have accessed.  With investment immigration also, clients can optimise their spending. If you are a Canadian permanent resident, you have an opportunity to optimise your spending. In education, for instance, the fees you will be paying as an international student are like times 12 of what you will be paying as a Canadian resident; so that is a huge saving and a return on investment. One of our clients had arranged for their daughter to go and study Medicine in the United States, but they have a Grenada passport, when they looked at the options, they realised that Grenada has one of the finest schools of Medicine, Saint George’s University, and their daughter will go to university as a resident of Grenada, as a citizen of Grenada, and will pay $20,000 as against $100,000 per annum. So, the benefits are immense. Talking about return on investment, if you look at the United States EB5 programme, there is a return of five per cent because the client will invest $800,000. There is a guaranteed return for five years, but also remember that their end goal is citizenship, it is a green card leading up to citizenship, but in the meantime, there is a return on investment because every year they will earn about $40,000 from that particular investment. But very importantly they have invested in a currency that safeguards the value over time.  Lastly, think about the return on investment across generations because once you obtain citizenship or permanent residency, it is for you and the generations to come, which translates to access to world-class education opportunities, and trade opportunities, that’s what it is.

Can you be more specific in terms of your partnerships in investment immigration for Citizenship By Investment?

One of our success stories is our ability to develop partnerships with strong and well-recognised 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 the Federal Start-up programme in Canada. We also have Green and Spiegel, which is Canada’s oldest and largest immigration law firm based in Toronto, specialising 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 the USA, China, Singapore, and Grenada. They have the largest investment in the Caribbean right now, a $2.4bn 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, which is the largest trading investment banking group in South Africa with assets under management of over $7bn. 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 people’s homes. So we have a very strong and robust operation and we hope to grow it. These are vital to our growth plans.

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