Alexander Forbes to take on pan-African character over the next five years

21 March 2018

South African consulting and financial services firm Alexander Forbes has contracted its operations, declaring plans to develop as a Pan-African firm over the next years. The firm plans to expand into Western and Northern Africa, having offloaded its only non-African operations in 2016.

Alexander Forbes is among the most prominent financial services firms in the South African consulting industry, having been around for decades. The firm was founded in 1935, and has since grown into a lucrative operation, with annual revenues of more than R4 billion and a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange since 2014. Today, the firm is regarded as the biggest consulting firm for employee benefits across Africa.

The firm’s ethos revolves around supporting employees with the management of their finances at various stages of their career, wherein priorities might range from security to expansion to luxury. To this end, the firm interacts with companies and individuals alike to offer services in the insurance, investment and actuarial domains, alongside retirement and healthcare services.

Encouraged by its success and expansion in Africa, the firm began to explore the international market in the early 2000s. The first of these ventures was an acquisition of a major stake in a British actuarial consulting firm by the name of Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) in 2002.

Alexander Forbes to take on pan-African character over the next five years

One thing led to another, and the firm soon had an Alexander Forbes Consultants and Actuaries UK (AFCA UK) segment, which was then followed by expansion into the Belgian, Irish, Dutch, and Swiss markets. For the next decade, the firm took on a decidedly international character.

Over the last two years, however, the firm has begun an inward drive, looking to consolidate its regional operations with the objective of becoming a purely pan-African firm. This began with the sale of its 60% stake in LCP two years ago, raising a considerable R1.3 billion. The firm’s intention was the safe exit from the European market before it was rocked by Brexit-related uncertainty.

Last year, the firm entered the newly active market in Zimbabwe through the acquisition of African Actuarial Consultants. Now, the CEO of Alexander Forbes, Andrew Darfoor has declared the firm’s intentions to further  its presence across Africa. Currently, the firm’s business on the continent outside of South Africa stands at just 5%; a figure that it hopes to covert to 10% within the next five years at the latest, according to Darfoor.

The expansion into the diverse markets across Africa is based on two strategic pillars. The first is a focus on Western and Northern Africa, which are home to some of the richest countries on the continent, and where consulting services are increasingly in demand, particularly in the public sector.

The second pillar is automation and technological advancement. In essence, the firm’s customer-base across the continent is set to expand considerably, and the increasing digitisation of the population will allow the firm to ease its operational reach through the automation of key processes. The firm has earmarked R1 billion for the next three years purely for technological development. 

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L'AINE Services celebrates 25th anniversary with renewed gusto

17 April 2019

Ghanaian human resources consultancy L’AINE Services has marked its 25th anniversary in operation with a reaiteration of its commitment to developing a skilled and motivated workforce for every client that it works with, consistent with priorities across the business environment in Ghana. 

Ghana is on its way to becoming a prominent financial centre for West Africa, The government and private sector are working in collaboration to ensure that the region’s economic potential is realised, and a large part of the focus thus far has been on the development of talent in the country’s workforce.

As a result, training programmes have increased in quantity and intensity, while consultancies that work on innovative human resource policies have come to prominence. The rationale is that fostering talent, boosting productivity and developing digital skills will drive Ghana’s economy forward.

L'AINE Services celebrates 25th anniversary with renewed gusto

Once such consultancy is L’AINE Services, based in Tema. The firm was established in 1994, and has recently celebrated its 25th year in existence. Over the years, the firm’s suite of services has gradually expanded to include support with recruitment, payrolling, training and publishing.

The firm also helps with hiring and talent development, which has made it particularly relevant in the contemporary scenario. During the firm’s 25th anniversary celebrations, executives at the firm reasserted its mission to support the business environment in Ghana in its growth endeavours.

This involves ensuring excellence in its service of each and every client. The firm has a three-pronged strategy to facilitate growth in the HR domain, including a focus on people, innovation and technology. Founder and Director of the firm Ellen Hagan indicated that the firm seeks to “transform every life and business we come across.”

Delving into the ethos behind its services, Board Chairman at the firm Prosper Asamoah indicated that the firm lays emphasis on developing a secure environment within which employees feel safe enough to thrive and innovate. Empowering employees is the key for organisational development, according to Asamoah.