deVere Group: Africa is ‘the next far east’

World Finance speaks to Nigel Green, Founder and CEO of deVere Group, about the dynamic international financial services sector – and why Africa is emerging as a frontier market

October 22, 2014

International financial services are a growing global industry. One of the firms shaping this dynamic sector is deVere group. World Finance speaks to its CEO, Nigel Green, about the evolving landscape and why the company sees Africa as such a massive area of potential.

World Finance: Nigel, how has the market for international financial consultancy developed over the past few years?

Nigel Green: The world’s changed dramatically over the last 20 years, people today are much more international. I notice that you don’t come from London yourself, and the reality is that people travel today, and people want to live in different countries and experience different cultures. Therefore they need different investment needs and different advice because of the fact that they’ travel.

World Finance: Now has Africa emerged as an interesting frontier market?

The world’s changed dramatically over the last 20 years, people today are much more international

Nigel Green: It’s very exciting. We’d say it’s the next far east, if we can put it that way. If you can imagine different markets as a lift, then you’d say that the mature markets are the very top floor, so there’s not so far to go. You’d actually say Africa is in the basement. That’s not a criticism of Africa, it’s just a reflection of where they’ve been in the past, and for lots of different reasons. There’s so much potential in Africa, massive resources, massive opportunity with a workforce that is keen to grow and to be educated.

World Finance: Can you give me some examples of some of those markets that are largely untapped as you said?

Nigel Green: All of them is the honest answer. So we do business in Zimbabwe, we do business in Uganda as you know. We do business in South Africa, we do business in Ghana. We’re looking to open up in Nigeria as well shortly. So, a big continent.

World Finance: Can you tell me about what’s really driving the demand for development in the sector that you specialise in?

Nigel Green: There’s natural resources in Africa, lots of natural resources. So therefore companies want to help Africa develop those, international companies, and they employ international people. And it’s those international people that are our main marketplace.

World Finance: In general, why do you think there is such a demand for the international financial consultancy services industry?

Nigel Green: People have tax issues. If you can imagine you’re an ex-patriot, let’s say that you’re from Canada, and you’re in Africa. You’ve got two issues. You’ve got one issue that you’re in, let’s say South Africa, and you’ve got South African tax, but at some stage you may want to go back to Canada, because it’s a beautiful country, and if you want to do that you need to not only be aware of the tax in the country that you’re working, but also the tax in the country that you’re going to end up. So you need an advisor that is aware, an international advisor, that can advise you on the tax situation, but you also need someone that understands the opportunities for international investment. It’s probably that you’re not going to want to put your investment, your personal money in one particular area, you’re actually going to want that money invested internationally as an international person. So we’d help you from both points, one from the tax point of view, and two from an investment point of view.

There’s many countries in Africa, there’s enormous potential

World Finance: Now you’ve told us a little bit about the profile of your average deVere customer. Can you tell me a little bit more about their particular ambitions in terms of growing their wealth and their business internationally?

Nigel Green: So a typical client would be an international-thinking person. So it could be the top end of the local market, someone who wants to take advantage of international investment opportunities. Those clients are looking for products that are portable so they can take them to wherever they end up, and they’re looking for good returns, they’re looking to create money for themselves and their families for the future.

World Finance: Now what’s in the pipeline for deVere?

Nigel Green: There’s many countries in Africa, there’s enormous potential. We’ll look at each of those and we’ll look at developing offices to be able to service our clients. You have to remember that if we open an office, let’s say it’s in South Africa, you’ll end up servicing clients, but those clients themselves will move to other places. So if enough of them move to, let’s say Kenya, then you’d obviously consider opening an office for the clients that have moved there. We’re always looking to expand, make sure that we’re the number one player in the financial advice field in Africa, and actually the world.

World Finance: Very exciting times indeed. Nigel, thank you so much for joining me today.