Fidelity gets nod to access forex auction


Ndamu Sandu

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has given Fidelity Life Assurance the nod to apply for forex on the auction system to finance the implementation of F-Ins insurance for bot

h individual life and group pension business, businessdigest can reveal.


In September, Fidelity signed a US$500 000 ($2,8 billion) deal with a Singaporean company, Fast Forward Technologies, for the installation of insurance information technology.


Fast Forward Technologies is headquartered in India.

Fidelity is chaired by Solomon Tembo.


The multi-billion dollar project was financed with funds raised through an initial public offer (IPO) last year where $1 billion was set aside for information technology investment.


Fidelity managing director Simon Chapereka confirmed the latest development saying the group was working to schedule.


“The Reserve Bank has given us the nod to apply for forex on the auction market,” Chapereka said.


“We will buy foreign currency on the auction market to finance the project so that it moves according to our plan,” Chapereka said.


According to the schedule agreed at the signing of the deal in September, project implementation starts next month and ends in December next year.

Buoyed by the approval from the central bank, Chapereka left the country on Tuesday for India to finalise the deal with officials from Fast Forward Technologies on the sidelines of a regional meeting of insurers.


Fast Forward Technologies, which won the tender under stiff competition, is engaged in customer hardware development, internet and e-commerce solutions, database development and deployment and wireless data applications, among others.


The group has a presence in Malawi where it manages Vanguard Malawi while in Kenya the group manages the affairs of Kenya National Assurance Company.


Analysts say the implementation of the IT project will boost Fidelity’s profile which has been growing since its listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) last year.


Until its listing in July last year, Fidelity was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zimre Holdings Ltd.


ZHL now has 52% equity while the remaining 48% was taken by other investors. Formerly known as Legal and General of Rhodesia, the company was incorporated in Zimbabwe to inherit the business of a UK insurance company.


Having first operated in South Africa, the UK company opened a branch in Bulawayo in 1936 transacting both long and short-term insurance.


The year 1982 saw the company splitting into long and short-term assurance divisions.


In 1988 the ZHL bought the long-term assurance division leading to the severing of ties with both South Africa and the UK.


A year later the company changed its name to Fidelity Life Assurance of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd.


In the interim results to June 30, Fidelity’s premium income grew 585% in historical terms to $10,9 billion while underwriting profit firmed 419% from $1 billion in the year comparable.


Meanwhile Fidelity is still looking for a resident qualified actuary to run operations at its actuarial division, Zimbabwe Actuarial Consultants.

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