ASN secures strategic investor

. GH?100million to be invested

. Customers to earn T-Bill plus 3 percent interest

ASN Financial Services Limited, a licensed Finance House which has been experiencing challenges in its operations, has secured a strategic investor who is expected to invest over GH?100million in the company.

Directors of the company, B&FT sources say, have submitted their turnaround strategy that details, among others, the composition of a new board, the new shareholding structure and other concrete measures being adopted by the company, to the Central Bank.

Under the turnaround strategy, which has been accepted by the BoG pending approval, the unnamed strategic investor is expected to hold majority stake in the company with Mr. Johannes A. Okutu, the current Chief Executive Officer, the other minority shareholder.

“The strategic investor will invest GH?100million within a one-year period. So currently we are renegotiating our short-term liabilities into medium-term ones.

With all maturing investments as at April 30, 2017, we are speaking to our customers to consider rolling over their principal plus interest earned for another one-year period. If a customer accepts this option, he or she will earn T-bill plus 3 percent profit on his investment,” Mr. Okutu told the B&FT.

He added that: “We are cooperating with the BoG and other institutions. Our offices are opened and we have held meetings with customers to let them know exactly what is going on. Customers can walk into our offices and we will sit with them and deal with all their concerns.”

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Mr. Okutu’s comments follow concerns raised by some disgruntled customers of the company, about the lack of information flow about the current happenings within the company and between the BoG and ASN-FSL.

The financial sector in the country has seen a tremendous increase in the number of operators over the last decade. Currently, there are about 34 universal banks, four other international banks with representative offices in Ghana–Citibank N.A, Ghana International Bank Plc, Exim Bank of Korea, and Bank of Beirut.

There are also more than 429 licensed microfinance institutions offering various financial products to the public as at July last year.

According to the BoG’s data, there are 70 Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFs). This is made up of 22 Finance Houses; 2 remittance companies; 3 Credit Reference Bureaus; 37 Savings and Loans companies; 2 leasing companies; 3 finance and leasing companies; and one mortgage finance institution.

The number of institutions notwithstanding, there have been calls for the Central Bank to significantly increase the minimum capital requirements of banks and other financial institutions to enable them undertake big-ticket transactions and also be able to pay funds deposited with them when they mature.

While some have proposed an increment from the current GH?120million to GH?200million for universal banks, others believe the minimum capital requirement of all other financial institutions should be adjust upwards to engineer mergers and acquisitions.

Source: Dominick Andoh/thebftonline.com/Ghana

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