TIME TO ASK

Nigeria 2015 | ECONOMY | B2B: BUSINESS CONSULTING

TBY talks to Chinedu Onyia, Managing Director, and Ike Onyia, Executive Director of Parsifal Partners Limited, on what makes Parsifal different, Nigeria's business environment, and necessary regulatory reforms.

Ike Onyia
IKE ONYIA
Executive Director
Parsifal Partners Limited
Chinedu Onyia
CHINEDU ONYIA
Managing Director
Parsifal Partners Limited

How does Parsifal Partners differ from its competitors?

CHINEDU ONYIA Parsifal Partners is a three-year-old consulting and strategy firm designed to do three things. The first is to provide consulting services. Through this, we provide strategy, business plan development, turnaround assistance, business-process engineering and re-engineering, supply chain management, and revenue assurance. Our target sectors for these services include the following: financial services, manufacturing, energy, real estate, and infrastructure. We have also taken a few assignments that have allowed us to broaden our scope to include technology and agriculture. Our choice of target sectors is important, because we believe much of the future opportunity for this country lies within these. Technology, in particular, is interesting because it allows you to leapfrog your problems—just look at what happened in Asia. Our second service is our advisory business, which is basically financial intermediation. We match needs for capital with sources of capital. We help businesses to access the right form of capital for their needs. There is a large market for that here, because, unlike more developed countries, the breadth of capital sources, though growing, is still limited. The third aspect of our business is origination. Here, one of our first initiatives was to establish a wealth-management firm, Fiducia Capital. There is a bit of history behind the name but in summary Fiducia is translated from the Italian word for “trust." Fiducia Capital is a SEC-registered portfolio and fund manager. Ike Onyia leads this aspect of our business having garnered relevant experience (and track record) in that industry including starting up two successful firms from scratch. This combination of consulting and financing has translated for our target market, into a compelling case. We also pride ourselves in the intellectual-capacity of our faculty to engage in finding solutions for our clients. Furthermore, we provide senior-level, hands-on commitment on our projects, which is a key differentiator.

What is preventing Nigeria from fully adopting a strategic vision culture in business?

CO There are several answers. Decision-making is influenced by our country's historical and cultural circumstances. For a long time, we largely operated on a short-term basis, as reflected by our planning methodology (three-year short-term rolling plans). This was also reflected in our financing sources where three-year financing was deemed to be long-term in nature. This is all changing now.

IKE ONYIA The spate of reforms is also contributing positively to the reorientation to long-term planning. For example, with the reforms in the power sector, the various actors are all planning long-term: the Federal Government has developed a detailed road-map and some states, like Lagos, have pushed the envelope out with even more aggressive plans in this sector.

How can the regulatory framework be improved to suit your business and the people's need?

IO With the appropriate monetary and fiscal policies in place, regulators in the financial services sector can provide guidelines to encourage a variety of service providers to include providers of long-term capital. Right now, short-term lending is readily available through the commercial banks and perhaps, to the high end of the market. Financing requests below this tier, experience challenges in obtaining even short-term loans. SMEs drive and determine economic growth; therefore, financial intermediation has to broaden and appropriate institutions such as investment and merchant banks, microfinance banks and private equity and venture capital have to emerge.

CO I believe we are heading in the right direction, because it is almost like a chicken or the egg situation. The early asset-divestment programs generated transactions that initially struggled to obtain local financing. There were costs borne by those transactions, the financing sector (both local and foreign) learnt valuable lessons. As this practice has evolved into reform programs, there is now more appetite for financing, and this is reflected by the profile (local) of several of the successful bidders for privatized assets. However, there is still a need for more adequate capital sources.