23 August 2021 – LeapFrog Investments, the Profit with Purpose investment firm, has acquired a 16.94% stake in Ghana’s largest privately-owned bank, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited from Amethis, an investment fund manager dedicated to the African continent, and Edmond de Rothschild Equity Strategies (ERES), a mid-cap growth and buy-out franchise affiliated with the Edmond de Rothschild Group, with a global investment mandate. It is expected that LeapFrog will leverage on its decade of investment experience across Africa’s financial services sector to build upon the outstanding success achieved by Fidelity Bank in financial inclusion and general business growth.
Following the investment from Amethis and ERES in 2014, Fidelity Bank embarked on an expansion drive via the acquisition of Pro-Credit Savings and Loans to widen its network across the country and solidify its presence in the SME and micro-business sector. The Bank also established a state-of-the-art customer contact centre and upgraded its technological platforms to best-in-class standard through a collaboration with IBM. This served as the basis for continued business growth marked by impressive financials and remarkable pioneering strides in inclusive banking. The Tier-1 universal bank now offers a full suite of transactional, lending and banking services, positioning itself alongside international banks as one of the top financial institutions in Ghana. A key contributor to Ghana’s socio-economic development, the bank operates 75 branches across Ghana and serves approximately two million customers. Its innovative range of financing solutions and product offerings have enhanced capacity development across the domestic banking landscape. Fidelity’s successful journey has been driven by good governance, superior products, a customer-focused approach and key investments in technology. Consequently, the bank has won several prestigious local and international awards which further cements its position both as a key player in Ghana’s banking industry and as a world-class institution.
Today, four in ten of Ghana’s adult population lack access to formal banking services. The bank’s Inclusive Banking division has had great success in acquiring and serving unbanked and underbanked customers and continues to make significant progress in this area. In the next three years, Fidelity will continue to work with its partners, including LeapFrog, to enhance its inclusive banking portfolio by adding on an array of innovative, affordable and relevant products, including transaction accounts and mobile money offerings to the unbanked and underbanked customer segments in Ghana. This is in line with the Ghana Country Financing Roadmap (CFR) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative recently launched by the Ghanaian government in partnership with the World Economic Forum. Fidelity Bank is also one of the first 24 signatories to the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles (SBPs), which includes the principles of gender equality, financial inclusion, and environmental and social risk management (ESRM).
In collaboration with Amethis and ERES as well as other investment partners, Fidelity Bank has emerged as a leader in digital innovation and financial inclusion. It is expected that LeapFrog’s involvement will mark a new chapter of continued growth and further success for Ghana’s largest privately-owned Bank.
Remarking on the development, Edward Effah, Chairman of Fidelity Bank, said, “Amethis and ERES have played a pivotal role in the success and growth of Fidelity Bank. We are grateful for their support and their unwavering belief in the potential of Fidelity Bank. We look forward to working with LeapFrog Investments to build on the strong foundation that we created with Amethis and ERES.”
Laurent Demey, Managing Partner at Amethis, added, “We are proud to have supported a successful and leading bank like Fidelity over the years. The journey has been rewarding thanks to the vision of Edward and his team. We are grateful that we could partner with other investors like Africa Capital, LLC to be part of the growth story of Fidelity. We wish them the best and encourage them to remain driven by the ambition to serve their clients.”
Expressing similar sentiments, Samuel Pinto, Board Member of ERES, stated, “We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with Fidelity, a move which resonates with our Financial Services investment theme and the long-standing involvement of the Edmond de Rothschild family in the financial industry. Fidelity’s has been a fantastic story of business growth. We have been impressed by how Edward Effah and his management team have built a very strong platform with a low tolerance to risk from scratch. We wish Edward Effah and Julian Kingsley Opuni, the Managing Director of Fidelity, further success in their new growth phase.”
Karima Ola, Partner and Leader of African Financial Services Investments at LeapFrog, commented, “We are thrilled to embark on this next phase of growth with Fidelity Bank. We are partnering with and supporting an industry leading, highly experienced management team with a strong track record of delivering profitable growth for this Tier-1 home-grown bank. Moreover, Fidelity Bank’s “Inclusive Banking” and “Building Lives Through Finance” initiatives strongly align with LeapFrog’s impact, sustainability and performance strategy. With LeapFrog’s robust expertise in financial services and impact measurement and reporting, we look forward to leveraging our combined capabilities to accelerate Fidelity Bank’s sustainable and profitable growth. LeapFrog will support the bank’s leadership team to deliver on its growth and innovation agenda through customer insights, digital transformation, governance, and partnerships.”
PwC acted as financial advisor to Amethis and ERES while KPMG advised LeapFrog.