Firm Targets to Empower Middle-class through Wealth Creation  

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By Obinna Chima

The Growth and Development Limited (GDL) has expressed its preparedness to rebuild the middle-class segment in the country through different asset management offerings.

The chief executive, GDL, Mr. Kola Ayeye said this during a media briefing in Lagos at the weekend to mark the opening of the asset management firm’s mainland office in Ilupeju, Lagos.

Ayeye, who recently left the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria  (AMCON) as an Executive Director, said it was illogical for social infrastructure to collapse, the middle class to remain weak, while the banking industry total profit was approaching N1trillion in the country.

He explained: “Our country Nigeria is really punching below its weight and I think that is something that is obvious and needs no further explanation.

“We have the substantial collapse of social infrastructure. The middle class is very thin and continues to get thinner.

“We think it is a contradiction for social infrastructure to collapse, for the middleclass to remain emasculated and for profits of the financial system to be approaching N1 trillion,” he said.

 According to him, in societies where there is a thriving middle-class, the social infrastructure must be in good conditions

Commenting about his firm, he said the company was set up to deliver strong social impact, but also to make money, stressing that GDL is not a charity organisation.

“We are a financial institution, we are here to make money but we are not only here to make money, we are here to deliver strong social impact.

“We want to be a leading diversified financial institution, creating wealth and transforming society. We want to provide unique financial solutions which strengthen and expand the middleclass,” he said.

Ayeye said that over the next few months, specific funds and products to actualise GDL’s mission would be unveiled.

“We have started business. We are doing the things that other financial institutions do, but re-inventing the middle-class is part of the things that will differentiate us. And we are confident that we will succeed,” he added.

Continuing, he stressed the need to refocus the operations of financial institutions in the country.

“To give you an example, the kinds of things we need to start to think about are how do we redeploy our savings pool to transform society.

“I think the savings pool in the country is now approaching N4 trillion. And our own estimate is that that N4 trillion of savings contributes almost N300billion of income annually to banks.

“So, the issue is, is there a way to redeploy those savings to improve living standards?”

“We have an asset management licence. One of the things we want to do with our asset management licence is to pool savings from both the private and the public sectors under new frameworks such that there can be interventions in areas that have so far defied solutions,” he added.