HomeOpinion & AnalysisFinancial sector spotlight: Inaugural MFSB innovation award winners

Financial sector spotlight: Inaugural MFSB innovation award winners

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The Monthly Financial Sector Bulletin (MFSB) is a roundup of key Zimbabwean financial sector developments which provides proprietary data, business intelligence and analytical content supporting decision-making in the financial and related markets.

Having just marked the first full year of continuously tracking new product initiatives (launches, relaunches, enhancements and promotions) in Zimbabwe’s financial sector, the MFSB is to present the MFSB Innovation Awards, which are not an event, but rather the crowning moment of a whole year’s work. They are a natural progression of the process of producing the MFSB, whose quest is to bring data-driven insights to decision-making. The key objectives of the MFSB awards are to:

l To encourage innovation in the financial sector by recognising the product innovation and promotion efforts of individual market players
l To encourage financial sector players to communicate more effectively about their products since the material on which the awards are based is partly accessed from different media through which financial sector players communicate to targeted market segments of the transacting public.

Award categories
For the inaugural (2014) awards, the MFSB went for simplicity as there are only five award categories (less is more) which will however be increased in future based on various other criteria which go beyond quantitative aspects to explore qualitative aspects as well.
In order to come up with the winners, the MFSB considered 94 new product initiatives (launches, relaunches, promotions and enhancements) by banking institutions, non-banking institutions, insurance companies, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and telecommunications companies recorded during 2014. Also considered were 77 initiatives in the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Sponsorship spheres. Tellingly, some of the annual award winners have also previously won the MFSB Product of The Month: Champions Insurance with the Online Insurance Services Platform in October 2014, Steward Bank with the Agent Banking Model in November 2014 and CBZ Bank with the SmartCash Account in December 2014.

And The Winners Are…!
Product Development (Innovation & Promotion) Award — Banking
Winners: CBZ Bank Limited and Stanbic Bank
CBZ Bank Limited and Stanbic Bank shared the top spot with seven initiatives each while CABS came second with six initiatives. Barclays Bank and Steward Bank were 3rd with four initiatives each.

Product Development (Innovation & Promotion) Award – Mobile Money
Winner: EcoCash
Econet Wireless’ EcoCash had eight product initiatives while Telecel’s TeleCash weighed in with seven initiatives to come second.
Product Development (Innovation & Promotion) Award – Insurance
Winner: Champions Insurance Company (Pvt) Ltd
Champions Insurance Company (Pvt) Ltd weighed in with three new product initiatives while CBZ Life Insurance and NicozDiamond Insurance came a joint second with two initiatives each.

Corporate Social Investment (CSI) & Sponsorship Award
Winner: CBZ Holdings Limited
CBZ Holdings Limited accounted for 16 or 21% of total annual initiatives. The diversified financial services group’s endeavours in this respect were considerably diversified and covered the arts, financial literacy, sports, corporate governance, agricultural journalism and industrial productivity issues. CBZ was followed closely by Old Mutual in second place with 13 initiatives while ZB Financial Holdings and Stanbic shared 3rd place with seven initiatives each.

Newsmaker of the Year Award

Winner: Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa

Chinamasa was the financial sector newsmaker of the year 2014 after garnering 23 mentions in the MFSB ahead of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya with 18 and Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Somkhosi Malaba with 8. At face value, the fact that two of the three newsmakers are essentially regulators might imply that the financial sector is overregulated, but in reality it is just a reflection of the regulatory reform agenda that the sector is seized with given its past problems which were compounded by dollarisation. Chinamasa had a progressive year in which he was associated with positive financial sector news such as the country’s African Trade Insurance (ATI) membership fees, the $3 million BADEA SME Facility, Bindura Nickel Corporation’s $20 million bond for restarting its smelter, resumption of the Interbank market, recapitalisation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, introduction of the 15% Special Dividend on Gross Diamond Sales, NetOne’s $218 million loan from China Eximbank, and bond and issuance for the completion of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam. Chinamasa also featured in respect of the Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP), rebuilding Zim-IMF relations, amendments to legislation governing the insurance and pensions sectors, tentative plans for the $20 million Diaspora Bond for a Hydro-Power Project, demutualisation of the ZSE, reaffirmation of the continued use of the multi-currency regime, business delegations to various capitals of the world to canvass for FDI and the appointment of Mangudya as RBZ governor.
The MFSB joins the readers of NewsDay in congratulating the winners for their efforts in 2014. We look forward to more product innovation in 2015!

l Send feedback to Omen N Muza at omen.muza@gmail.com

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