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The sure journey to excellence

BY DERRICK VIKIRU

The business excellence tool by the Kenya Institute of Management has seen Enwealth Financials develop an execution strategy that responds to identified gaps, says the firm’s CEO Simon Wafubwa.

Business excellence awards are by now a well-established part of business life. That is why every sound business will strive to participate in an industry award at least throughout its lifetime. This is probably the same reason why Enwealth Financials has been participating in the Kenya Institute of Management’s (KIM) Company of the Year ward (COYA), which also incorporates SME of the Year Awards (SMOYA), since 2014. In the 2018 SMOYA, Enwealth won in the Human Resource Focus as well as Customer Orientation and Marketing categories, and 1st runner up in Financial Management category. In an interview with Management Magazine, Simon Wafubwa, founder and CEO of Enwealth Financials details the value of participating in the Award, a process that gives you an opportunity to go through a business excellence tool – Organisational Performance Index (OPI). 

“OPI enables an organisation to see its strengths and gaps. This objective look was what was missing in our processes. In 2014, we decided to benchmark with OPI, we were only three years old,” says Wafubwa. “The results were not very impressive but it gave us the opportunity to work on our weaknesses,” he adds amid a hysterical infectious laughter.

He says their initial key focus was improvement of leadership, management practices and their operational processes. “We now have an execution strategy that responds to the various gaps identified through OPI. We tailored our operations and processes to meeting our client’s needs; improved our board evaluation process, came up with an employee succession plan and developed a brand manual.”

Growth trajectory

Enwealth, a rapidly growing company that deals with managing pension schemes for employees in Kenya currently boasts of managing a portfolio of more than KSh60 billion. This exponential growth, Wafubwa says, is a result of the company’s commitment to keeping its promise to its clients and employees. “Our clients trust us, and our reputation speaks for itself. We have the highest employee retention rate in the industry and our customer satisfaction rate stands at highs of 90 per cent, with an industry service providers NPS score of 47.” The humble CEO says that he credits this success to the invaluable OPI journey. 

The growth of Enwealth in the foreseeable future is tremendous as more people are realising the value of saving for retirement. According to Wafubwa, Enwealth Financials recently opened a new branch in Uganda in its bid for regional expansion. This expansion of the young company shows that the appetite for saving for retirement is approaching a record high.  

Global trends in pensions industry show that nearly every country in the world is dealing with the long-term pressures of an ageing population, thus creating an increasing need to plan for retirement as early as possible. This has given rise to elaborate pension schemes to manage the savings. This in turn has created a need for formidable trustees to ensure pension schemes remain financially sustainable throughout this transformation. 

If UN’s 2017 data is anything to go by, then the growth potential of companies such as Enwealth is mind blowing. The data indicates that the number of people aged 60 and over is expected to more than double by 2050 and to triple by 2100, outpacing growth in all younger age groups. The number will rise from 962 million in 2017 to 2.1 billion globally in 2050.

UN’s 2017 data projection is being witnessed locally. The local pension industry has expanded rapidly and shows signs of further growth. Over the last two years, the value of retirement savings soared to record heights.  According to the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA), the industry currently has a portfolio of KSh900 billion up from KSh40 billion in 2002. Over the past 10 years, the average pension fund value per scheme grew from KSh100 million to KSh500 million. “This exponential growth has been mainly driven by good legislative framework and supervision by the Authority,” admits Wafubwa.

Dare to dream big

Wafubwa, a down to earth CEO and a staunch born again Christian says the success and transformation of Enwealth – formally known as Liberty pension services – is attributable to God’s hand. “For we know that our help is in the name of the Lord who made the heavens and the earth,” he alludes.

He tells us that he is a dreamer. “Dreaming is free. The sad fact is as we get older, our ambitions seem to shrink. Daring to dream big isn’t just a mantra that you should mindlessly chant to yourself; it should be a way of life.” His 5-year plan, he says, is a God given future. He hopes to scale up across Africa, make Enwealth the best place to work through which God is acknowledged as the giver of strength to create wealth and foster more CSR activities. Notably, the company has been going big on CSR – one of the key determinants assessed by the OPI model. This noble purpose has seen Enwealth channel 10 per cent of its gross profits to sponsoring education of over 50 students in various secondary schools across Kenya.

Wafubwa also foresees expansion to various allied businesses such as insurance and real estate. The company is already on course to achieve this with plans to construct a 22-storey building in Kenya at a cost of KSh 2.2 billion. He says he gets inspiration from Mark Patterson’s book Chase the Lion that “If you must have a dream, it must be so big that you are so sure you will fail unless God helps you.”

Derrick Vikiru is the Sub-Editor Management Magazine. Email: dvikiru@kim.ac.ke

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