Staff Profile – Fred Pelser, Investment Director
When did you join Arise and what was your motivation for taking up this position?
I provided support in the formation of Arise during my employment at Norfund and was appointed as an Investment Manager at the inception of Arise.
What aspect of your job do you most enjoy?
I thoroughly enjoy the deal origination process; from conceptual deal ideas, market mappings, identifying tangible targets, negotiations, preparations for internal approvals, to legal execution. The process is generally unpredictable and requires a great deal of problem solving.
Furthermore, I greatly enjoy nurturing relationships with representatives of our partner banks. They are truly top-class leaders and specialists in their respective markets and fields.
Arise through its capital and knowledge contribution plays a key role in developing financial services across Africa. Effectively, my work has a direct impact on my fellow Africans in terms of access to finance, job creation, livelihood contribution and provides a clear vision for my daily dealings.
What has your top 3 highlights been?
The main highlight during my tenure at Arise has been my personal and career growth development. We are a small dynamic team that and requires all-hands on deck. Therefore, Arise provides an excellent opportunity to obtain a broad spectrum of experience from deal origination to monitoring. After one year of operations, my growth was recognised with a promotion to Senior Investment Manager in January 2018. It was a key stepping-stone to my long-term goal. Following further two years of consistent performance, I achieved a promotion to Investment Director in January 2020.
Another highlight was in 2017 when Arise provided a bridge loan to Dfcu Limited and subsequently converted a portion of the bridge loan to equity in a rights issue. The funding bolstered the capital base of the bank, facilitated the acquisition of Crane bank, and positioned it on a new growth trajectory. As project manager, I had the fortunate opportunity to manage the investment process and currently monitor the progress of the bank.
In 2019, Arise concluded the acquisition of 14.7% shareholding from Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”). ETI has representation in 33 countries in Sub – Saharan Africa and is a market leader in 4 countries and top 3 in 15 countries (in terms of total asset size). This transaction allowed Arise to increase its footprint in West Africa. As the project manager, I had the fortunate opportunity to manage the investment process and currently monitor the progress of the bank.
I wish to recognise the phenomenal collaborative teamwork in both aforementioned transactions. The success to date was only possible with the astute colleagues and leadership at Arise.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
The financial market consistently evolves, and various technical aspects come into play, which one has to consider. Furthermore, navigating various intricacies and complexities within the operating environment of our partner banks poses unique challenges.
Sum up Arise in one sentence
A collaborative, dynamic, no nonsense culture which promotes local sustainable prosperity via its strategic minority investments (i.e. capital and knowledge contribution) in financial institutions.