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Money Management

LeapFrog jumps into Nigerian pension market

LeapFrog Investments Ltd. is investing in one of Nigeria's largest pension fund managers to tap rising demand for retirement products among low-income consumers in Africa's most populous nation.

The private equity investor, which has interests in health-care and financial-services businesses spanning 149 Asian and African markets, didn't disclose the terms of the deal with ARM Pension Managers Ltd. in a statement Friday.

ARM Pensions has $1.8 billion under management reaching about 700,000 people through 57 locations across the country, it said.

Nigeria's pension fund assets have more than quadrupled over the past nine years to 8 trillion naira ($22 billion), according to data compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics, as the nation of over 200 million people makes it mandatory for companies to have retirement plans for workers. At least 89% of employed Nigerians are still not registered for pensions, giving LeapFrog access to one of the fastest-growing areas in the country's financial services industry, said Karima Ola, a partner at the firm.

LeapFrog will help ARM Pensions improve its digital service channels, facilitate partnerships and boost brand awareness to help retain and add customers, said Michael Joyce, investment director, in the statement. The firm in 2012 partnered with ARM parent company ARM Group, the country's largest independent asset manager, to offer life insurance and savings products in Nigeria.

The deal follows LeapFrog's exit from Ghana's Petra Trust Co. Ltd. in February, which it turned around to become the West African country's second largest pensions provider with average compound revenue growth of 76%, it said. LeapFrog bought 25% of Petra Trust in 2014, Accra-based broadcaster Joy FM reported at the time.