Fidelity Life eyes banking licence

FIDELITY Life Assurance of Zimbabwe has applied for a micro-banking licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to expand its footprint into the financial services sector, a company official has said.

Report by Tarisai Mandizha

Speaking at the presentation of the group’s financial results for the year-ended December 31 2012 in Harare on Tuesday, Fidelity Life managing director Simon Chapereka said there was adequate space for the company to enter into the market.

“We have submitted applications to the RBZ and have been given a response raising various concerns. We are attending to it,” he said.
“We are interested in establishing a microfinance institution as it dovetails with what we are currently doing.”

Fidelity reopened its microfinance subsidiary at the beginning of January 2010 following the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009.

At present, Fidelity Financial Services contributes around 5% of the group’s profits.

Chapereka said the group had a business model whose services complemented each other.

He said with microfinance, the deposit takings and cash-flow generating there provided adequate space for the group.

Fidelity has also diversified its investment portfolio into property, with housing developments in Manresa (medium-density) and recently in South View Park (high-density) in south-east Harare on land formerly owned by CFI.

Turning to property development, Chapereka said the group had secured $5 million from financiers for project development for the Fidelity South View Park.

Chapereka said servicing of Fidelity Life Park in Manresa had been completed while servicing of a larger project — Fidelity South View Park — will begin during the course of 2013.

Chapereka said the project along Masvingo Road comprised
5 950 residential stands and various amenities.

“We are waiting for approval of plans from the city council. We believe once the plan is approved we will quickly move and will be able to sell the stands,” he said.

He said the Fidelity South View Park project had enhanced potential to provide future expansion for the group.

“We expect a significant improvement in property sales and other operational income which will provide funding for future expansion,” Chapareka said.

Fidelity recorded an increase in premium income of 21% to
$14,4 million for the year-ended December 31 2012 from $11,9 million in 2011.

The group total revenue grew by 43% to $27,2 million from $18,9 million in the previous year.

During the period under review, Fidelity Life posted an after tax profit of $4 million.

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