By Juliana Ajayi
Prior to the advent of computers, people were used to traditional banking, in which financial transactions were conducted on paper. In fact, computers have been in use in banking since the 1950s, when Bank of America introduced a computer designed specifically for processing cheques.
Each new decade has brought innovations that change the way banks manage daily operations and serve customers.
However, since the advent of financial technology in the 21st century, the financial industry has been driven by a series of technological advances to make life easier, funds more accessible, and jobs completed faster.
The term, ‘fintech’, which first appeared in the 21st century, was initially used to refer to the technology used in the back-end systems of established financial institutions. But since then, the focus has shifted to include services that are more focused on the needs of the consumer, which has led to a more consumer-focused definition.
Nowadays, fintech spans a variety of fields and industries, including investment management, retail banking, fundraising and education, to name a few.
Fintech, a portmanteau word for ‘financial technology’, is a term used to describe new technology that aims to enhance the provision of financial services.
Fintech is fundamentally used to assist organisations, business owners and consumers in better managing their financial operations, processes and lives through the use of specialised software and algorithms on computers and, increasingly, smartphones.
The fintech industry has made banking more convenient for consumers. From paperless lending to mobile wallets, the possibilities are endless. With fintech, the banking and financial sectors have been transformed, making it easier for people to access financial services and information, invest in financial products and borrow money.
Fintech describes the incorporation of technology into financial service providers’ product and service offerings to enhance their use and delivery to customers. It primarily functions by disentangling the services provided by such businesses and opening up new markets for them.
Fintech is significant because it is altering how people obtain financial services. What was once a niche, tech-focused sector for startups has grown into a sizeable, powerful force in the financial sector.
The number of fintech businesses has increased, giving traditional financial services a more cutting-edge replacement. These businesses’ success is a result of their innovation in a variety of industries, including finance, payment processing and money management.
As a result, Optimus, a financial technology solution by Afrinvest, is altering how people interact with money to achieve financial freedom. It does this by combining banking, wealth management and brokerage requirements into a single straightforward platform.
With Optimus, the Nigerian financial sector is up for a change.
Afrinvest’s funds saved on Optimus are invested through Afrinvest Asset Management Limited, a leading fund/portfolio manager in Nigeria. With more than 20 years’ experience, AAML is a portfolio manager licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Optimus, a personalised digital wealth management neobank platform, will provide bespoke and innovative financial services to help customers reach their financial goals.
It is overseen by various financial experts, including Ike Chioke, the Group Managing Director of Afrinvest, with over 25 years of investment banking experience involving strategic advisory in corporate finance, including mergers and acquisitions, project/structured finance, and debt/equity capital markets activities.
According to Chioke, the company’s risk management policy ensures that it prioritises asset class diversification and executes clients’ transactions in line with global best practices.
He described Optimus by Afinvest as a financial technology solution “that helps customers do the most by harmonising banking, wealth management and brokerage needs into one simple platform.”
At the unveiling of Optimus in Lagos, recently, he said, “Our risk management policy ensures that we prioritise asset class diversification and execute clients’ transactions in line with global best practices. We have built, specifically for you, a personalised digital wealth management neobank platform that provides bespoke and innovative financial services to help you reach the peak in your finances.”
According to the Afrinvest GMD, some of the products that will be available include OptiFlex (naira/dollar), a high-yield investment account that enables periodic savings to reach a goal; and OptiLock (naira/dollar), which enables one to set aside a lump sum of money for a fixed period (three months to two years) in exchange for a competitive interest rate.
“The new identity will be unveiled to support Optimus and signal that we are now moving into the digital age and digital investment bank that can do essentially what other banks can do. It is all about using technology to provide seamless services to customers.
“The new Afrinvest logo and Optimus logo are going to the unveiled, and we have plans to go international. We have set up offshore positions that will allow us serve different parts of Africa to allow the business get the capacity it needs,” he disclosed.
Chioke explained that the rebranding was necessary because the company’s current logo was found not to reflect its new direction.
The Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of Optimus, Ayodeji Ebo, also described Optimus by Afrinvest as a one-stop shop for various products, adding that all of the subsidiaries’ products would be included in Optimus by Afrinvest where they could also be accessed.
He said, “Our history and all the things we have done in the past 27 years become an added advantage to the customer. We see it as a new bank, as there will be both naira and dollar cards offered to customers, among other services. Because we are regulated, whatever we are going to do, will also fall within the ambit of regulation and will be standardised.”
OptiFlex is a high-yield investment account that allows one to save on a regular basis (daily, weekly, quarterly or yearly) to reaching a specific goal.
OptiLock allows users to set aside a lump sum of money for a set period (two months to two years) and earn attractive interest. It can be considered a fixed investment that has been made for its users.
Afrinvest Asset Management
Afrinvest Asset Management Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Afrinvest West Africa, one of Nigeria’s leading independent investment managers.
AAML, a portfolio manager licensed by SEC, provides world-class asset management services to a diverse client base range of retail, mass affluent, institutional and HNI clients using dedicated portfolios. It has over two decades’ experience in managing diverse client funds/assets through three sub-divisions: Portfolio/Fund Management, Fund Administration and Product Development.
It specialises in building investment portfolios based on pre-agreed risk-reward criteria using a diversified multi-asset class approach. This guides the product development process, with products organised around four key focus areas: Individual Managed Accounts, Real Estate, Mutual Funds, and Investment Advisory.
All AAML funds are diverse, balanced, highly liquid and flexible enough to allow for easy fund migration. As a result of the wide range of products and services it provides, it ensures that every investor has an investment option that best suits their investment goals.
Its investment philosophy is geared towards implementing customised, research-led asset management strategies with a long-term horizon.
AAML aspires to be the preferred asset management firm in Nigeria. As a result, it consistently exceeds clients’ investment objectives by ensuring that they provide: Relevant Products, Efficient Processes, Skilled Professionals and Excellent Customer Service.
Optimus, according to Chioke, is changing the way people interact with money to achieve financial freedom.
“Do everything with your money – save, invest and spend – on one simple and secure platform,” he says.