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the herald

business journalist

A NEW international banking and financial advisory firm known as Bard Santner Markets has been established in Zimbabwe, giving the domestic market the ability to securitize assets held outside the country and open new lines of credit.

In line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of establishing a private sector-led economy, the country’s capital markets regulator and other regulatory bodies have assisted the government in creating an enabling environment that will help businesses thrive.

The company is run by a consortium of local businesses which includes Senziwani Sikhosana, an experienced wealth manager, Tatenda Hungwe and Alfred Mthimkhulu as well as international finance expert Vinod Bussawah from Mauritius.

Mr. Sikhosana and Mr. Bussawah have worked for various banks in Zimbabwe and Mauritius respectively, while Hungwe and Mthimkhulu bring expertise in wealth management and economics to the team.

Mr. Hungwe, Executive Director of Bard Santner Markets, said the company will offer new products and services that are not available in the local market.

“Bard Santner Markets is a new advisory (firm) licensed and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe,” Mr. Hungwe said.

“It is an investment consultancy specializing in the international banking and financial sector. Its areas of expertise are: the securitization of assets held internationally and the release of lines of credit and facilities for individuals and companies abroad.

Mr. Hungwe added: “Capital is usually scared and shy, but we have found a way to make it feel safe and comfortable in our home market of Zimbabwe. You have to have large financial networks, the right relationships in place and look at things differently and innovate in these areas.

He said securitization of assets held internationally was essential because it would allow individuals and companies seeking capital to borrow abroad in markets where macroeconomic fundamentals, particularly interest rates interest, are stable and the repayment terms are favourable.

“Zimbabweans are sitting on a lot of dead capital regionally and overseas, meaning assets that are not functioning primarily in the form of freehold ownership,” Hungwe said.

“Through our network of banks and international financial institutions, we have arrangements in place to securitize and unlock the value of these assets.”

It is essential to unlock lines of credit and facilities for individuals and businesses abroad.

“There is a lot of scared capital out there who wants to participate in Zimbabwe’s opportunities but are hampered by the perceived country risks,” he said.

“We can unlock offshore lines of credit for businesses and credit facilities for individuals through our network of international banks and financial institutions.”

Zimbabwe has a well-developed financial services sector, with banks, microfinance institutions, and stockbroking firms, among other entities.