When it comes to making financial decisions, most people do it on their own even though they don’t have an idea how personal finance and budgeting should be streamlined. As a result, people tend to lose money to Ponzi schemes and make terrible financial decisions.
Opeoluwa Dapo-Thomas, Founder, Perth Partners, has been able to recognize this and wants to help to review some of these things by providing financial coaching and consulting to improve financial inclusion in Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa.
Speaking during the Business Half Hour programme by Nairametrics, he explained that beyond just Nigeria, Perth Partners seeks to improve its target market to get to diasporas in different countries. “A lot of people are travelling to different countries and when you go to no man’s land where you don’t have an idea about a lot of things including how inflation affects you, their taxes and other things. We help you review some of these things; we do a lot of financial coaching and consulting.”
“These services are available to three sets of people; individuals, corporate and business owners. For individuals, it is basically streamlined to personal financing, budgeting and investment. What we offer is equivalent to you speaking to a therapist, but in this field, you get to talk to someone about your financial welfare. For businesses, we provide structure for businesses as we believe that SMEs are the biggest employer of people,” he explained.
While it started as a large company consulting for large corporations and big individuals, it was soon able to co-opt the vision of making sure everyone has access to financial services.
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He said, “Financial advisory is quite expensive and our unique selling proposition is to make sure it is cheaper for people to talk to somebody. So what we are doing is to democratize this to make sure this service is affordable to everyone.”
Speaking on his perspective on the regulations of businesses in Nigeria, Dapo-Thomas pointed out that the regulators are doing a tough job, although regulation requires large budgeting. “When it comes to regulating the financial industry, there is a lot of money you need in terms of monitoring. But in the large part of it, a lot of our regulations have been witch hunting; where it looks like you are just regulating to ensure that you profit from the business that is coming out and that is quite different from what is obtainable abroad.”
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“For example, in the UK, if you want to set up a financial company, you talk to the Financial Control Agency, FCA. They are quite accessible and they can help you ensure you are regulated. You just go online; you don’t need to know anybody that works in that company and then you register and the FCA can call you through the website. But we don’t have that service here,” he said.
Also, there is an embracing approach where regulators make it feel safe for businesses because they know that if your business is successful, the economy will be successful consequently because there will be revenues that would come out through taxes and other levies.
But here (in Nigeria), you just don’t go online and have a smooth service with SEC. The regulatory body has to have a more embracing approach. If they do this, more businesses would be inclined to come forward and present themselves for regulation purposes so as to access their business opportunities and plans.
Discussing the role that Perth Partners play in helping Nigerians learn the basic principles of investment so as not to fall victim to get-rich-quick platforms, Dapo-Thomas advises on the best approach to risk-taking.
He said, “Our vision service is to ensure that people do not get defrauded of their money. One of the courses is to show you what is attainable in the financial market and how the financial market operates. When you run this course, you have an idea of when to buy, how not to buy, what to do, how to allocate your resources because the truth is investment management is all about risk, return will always come. Risk is the most important thing. You should learn to give a fair chance; you don’t take a large amount of risk with a small amount of money. You take a small amount of risk with a large amount of money. People do not understand this.”