Bankers set up advisory firm

Tatenda Hungwe

ZIMBABWEANS with assets outside the country, which are not being leveraged to yield capital for business and investment purposes, are now in a position to use their properties to access funding at low interest rates in the local market after the formation of a new advisory firm, Bard Santner Markets.

Individuals and corporates will also be able to access lines of credit through the advisory firm, which has clinched funding deals in regional and international markets, according to a statement released on Thursday.

The statement said Bard financial advisers would provide clients with specialist advice on how to unlock value in their assets and manage their money.

Its role involves researching the marketplace and recommending the most appropriate products and services available, ensuring that clients are aware of products that best meet their needs, and then securing a deal, especially focusing on assets in offshore jurisdictions.

The advisory firm will help Zimbabweans unlock value in their assets — most of them constituting dead capital — outside the country and access new lines of credit through convenient and timely financial services processes.

The Harare-based Bard Santner Markets is led by a local business consortium, which includes Senziwani Sikhosana, Tatenda Hungwe (pictured), Alfred Mthimkhulu and international finance expert Vinod Bussawah from Mauritius.

It has already started trading and operates from its new offices in central Harare.

Sikhosana and Bussawah worked for various banks in Zimbabwe and Mauritius, respectively, while Hungwe and Mthimkhulu are experts in wealth management and economic issues.

Hungwe, Bard Santner Markets executive director, said his company would offer new products and services which are not available on the local market, while helping clients to access cheaper capital in foreign banks, including in neighbouring South Africa.

“Bard Santner Markets is a new advisory licensed and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“It is an investment advisory with specialised focus on international banking and financing. Its areas of expertise are: Securitising internationally held assets and unlocking lines of credit and facilities for individuals and corporates offshore.

“Capital is generally scared and timid, but we have found a way to make it feel safe and comfortable in our home market, Zimbabwe. It takes having wide financial networks, the right relationships in place and looking at things differently to break new ground in such areas.”

Hungwe said securitising internationally-held assets was critical because it allowed capital-seeking individuals and corporates to borrow offshore in markets where the macro-economic fundamentals, especially interest rates, are stable and repayment terms favourable.

“Zimbabweans are sitting on a lot of dead capital regionally and abroad, that is assets that are not working mainly in the form of freehold property,“ he said.

“Through our network of international banks and financial institutions, we have arrangements in place to securitise and unlock value from those assets.”

Unlocking lines of credit and facilities for individuals and corporates offshore is key.

“There is a lot of scared capital that wants to participate in Zimbabwe’s opportunities, but is hindered by perceived country risks,” he said.

“We can unlock offshore lines of credit for corporates and credit facilities for individuals through our network of international banks and financial institutions.”

Zimbabwe has a well-developed financial services sector, with banks, micro-finance institutions and stockbroking firms, among other entities.

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