Markets & Finance

Centum rebrands asset unit Nabo Capital


Centum chairman Chris Kirubi says the rebranded unit is set to play a crucial role in asset management and fundraising activities. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

Centum has rebranded its asset management unit Nabo Capital as the listed firm seeks to give the subsidiary distinct identity and win a larger slice of the lucrative wealth management business.

Nabo, formerly known as Centum Asset Managers (CAM), is set to be formally launched next week.

The name Nabo means “one” in the Maasai language, loosely translating to ‘First Capital’, according to unit’s managing director Pius Muchiri.

The wholly-owned subsidiary managed Sh1.2 billion worth of third party funds drawn from institutions and high net worth individuals in the in the year ended March 2014.

Centum last year transformed the quoted private equity (QPE) division to venture into fund management business after receiving a licence from Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to open a new asset management unit.

READ: CMA approval of Centum unit kicks off firm's growth plans

Centum chairman Chris Kirubi said the firm’s strategy was to allow subsidiaries stand alone as independent businesses without riding on the name Centum.

The billionaire investor, who owns a 25.1 per cent stake in Centum, said the rebranded outfit will step up asset management services and fundraising activities.

“We wanted to create its own identity so it can stand prominently alone,” said Mr Kirubi in an interview.

“We want Nabo to always deliver market beating returns and employ their fundraising expertise to mobilise assets.”

Centum’s total assets under management stood at Sh147.2 billion last year and plans to grow this to Sh720 billion by 2019. Mr Muchiri, a chartered financial analyst, has been with Centum for a decade and has previously headed the QPE division.

Nabo will also venture into offering investment advisory services.

The investment firm has registered as a REIT and pension fund manager, signalling Centum’s strategy to turn to fund management services to grow revenues and access cheaper capital.

Centum last year acquired 73.35 per cent stake in Genesis Kenya Investment Management which is the second largest pension fund manager in Kenya with more than Sh100 billion in assets under management.

The fund management scene has been busy lately. Pan Africa Insurance last year acquired Sanlam Investment Management and plans to rebrand it to Pan Africa Asset Managers.