Sterling Bank Plc, are set to access a new stream of foreign direct investment
Customers of Africa’s most Agile company, Sterling Bank Plc, are set to access a new stream of foreign direct investment following an announcement at the bank’s headquarters on Monday. The partnership with Opportunity Network, a business match-making platform headquartered in Barcelona with offices in London and New York City as well as 30 other countries is valued at about $16 billion across 17 African member-countries.
L-R: Kelechi Nwaoba, Group Head, Transaction Banking, Sterling Bank, Adriana de la Cruz Duffo, Managing Director Nigeria, Opportunity Network, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer and Mojisola Bakare, Divisional Head, Corporate Client Coverage & Sales both of Sterling Bank at the media unveil of the partnership between Opportunity Network and Sterling Bank Plc to enable Sterling Bank customers access deals on the corporate matchmaking platform… yesterday in Lagos
Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, while addressing media stakeholders in Lagos said that the bank is proud to partner with the global firm, remarking that the single most important thing that a bank provides is trust. He added that Opportunity Network establishes that trust between investors across the globe.
Mr. Suleiman said the partnership would enable Sterling Bank place its customers on the platform which in turn will increase their ability to collaborate with potential business partners across the globe.
L-R: Adriana de la Cruz Duffo, Managing Director Nigeria, Opportunity Network, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer and Mojisola Bakare, Divisional Head, Corporate Client Coverage & Sales both of Sterling Bank Plc at the media unveil of the partnership between Opportunity Network and Sterling Bank Plc which allows Sterling Bank customers access deals on the corporate matchmaking platform…yesterday in Lagos
Also speaking on the partnership, Divisional Head, Corporate Clients Coverage & Sales at Sterling Bank, Mojisola Bakare, described Opportunity Network as a platform that provides seamless trading between local businesses and foreign investors.
In her comments, Managing Director of Nigeria Opportunity Network, Adriana de la Cruz Duffo, said the platform is a tool for enhancing business growth as well as a digital platform for vetted CEOs and investors to share and connect with reliable trade and investment deals globally.
Duffo described Opportunity Network as a “private invitation-only network of business owners, CEOs and high net worth individuals carefully selected and vetted by a financial institution or law firm who is our trusted partner.”
She said 25 companies have indicated interest in the platform with about 20 on the verge of closing their deals at the pilot stage in Nigeria. She added that the platform aggregates high-quality commercial, mergers, acquisitions and capital related opportunities from around the world into one single, online location.
“Business deals are actionable and proprietary and can be posted and searched by deal type, industry, geography and deal size,” she said, adding that the organisation’s platform “aggregates the vetted clients of financial institutions and professional associations.”
Duffo disclosed that Opportunity Network currently has partnerships with UBS worldwide, Citizens Bank and YPO in the United States, London Stock Exchange Group, Intesa Sanpaolo in Italy and ABN Amro in Netherlands, among others.
She said Opportunity Network has closed $178 billion deals in 120 countries for 18,000 corporates and with 38,000 connections made, adding that connection can be established within 48 hours of first contact.
She said results after one year of collaboration with partners showed that 70 percent of the members actively used the platform. According to her, “When posting, 95 percent of them receive connections within the first week while 75 percent of the opportunities posted are either negotiating or already closed the deal and on average, members receive 11 connections per opportunity.”
She said Opportunity Network is targeting about 420 opportunities in Africa and it is currently operating in sectors including industrial goods, technology and internet, construction, consumer goods and food and beverages, among others.
About Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank Plc is a full service national commercial bank in Nigeria. In more than 50 years of operations, Sterling Bank (formerly NAL Bank) has evolved from the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution to a fully-fledged commercial bank and completed a merger with four other banks – Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank, Magnum Trust Bank, NBM Bank and Trust Bank of Africa – as part of the 2006 consolidation of the Nigerian banking industry.
The vision is to be the financial institution of choice while its mission is to deliver solutions that enhance stakeholders’ value.
The company commenced operations in 1960 as NAL Bank, the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution and following the indigenization Act of 1972, it became a government owned institution.
From 1972 to 1992, Sterling Bank was managed in partnership with Grind lays Bank Limited, Continental International Finance Company Illinois and American Express Bank Limited. It was partly privatised and listed as a public company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2000.
The government sold its residual interest in the bank effectively making it a fully privatised institution and in January 2006, NAL Bank completed a merger with four other Nigerian Banks namely; Magnum Trust Bank, NBM, Trust Bank of Africa and Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank (INMB). The merged entities have successfully integrated and are operating as a consolidated group with the name Sterling Bank.
The bank also assimilated the entire business interest of the defunct Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), a development that effectively enhanced its position in the hierarchy of respectable players in the Nigerian banking industry on all key parameters.
About Opportunity Network
Opportunity Network started at Columbia Business School, where Boston Consulting Group sponsored Brian Pallas to do his MBA after spending two years at the firm in Milan. There, Pallas created a monthly newsletter where members of the Business School’s Family Business Club could anonymously list the business transactions they were interested in.
Opportunity Network was launched in 2014 in New York City by the American and Italian Brian Pallas. In 2015, the company reached a $100 million valuation. In 2016, the company closed a round of funding at around $150 million, which included Boston Consulting Group among the investors.
Before Opportunity Network, Brian had worked at the Boston Consulting Group (“BCG”), a global top management consulting firm. He worked in Private Equity for three different funds and managed the sales process of two companies as an Investment Banking. Brian started his career as a scriptwriter for a prime-time Italian TV show, Zelig, with an audience of more than three million viewers.
In 2014, Brian earned his MBA from Columbia Business School. He also holds a B.S. in Show Business Management and an M.S. in Economics that he achieved graduating cum laude from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.
Brian was nominated for the Wired Audi Innovation Award by Wired Italy in 2014 as one of the most promising Under 35. In 2016, at the age of 28, he was selected as judge by Forbes to identify the best 30 under 30 for the first European edition of the ranking.
Brian is also included in the Expert Network of the World Economic Forum.