She is a resourceful investor, a social entrepreneur and a go-getter whose life of integrity and hard work is worth emulating. Ms. Subomi Plumptre, Co-Founder, Volition Capital Investments Limited, has distinguished herself as an investment expert endowed with the intellectual prowess capable of effecting a positive transformation in the wealth management sector of the country.
This is evident in the giant strides of Volition Capital Investments Limited, a company committed to creating value by helping honest and hard working people to create wealth and enjoy fulfilling lives. In this interview, this CEO of Distinction speaks on how she is breaking barriers across borders and Volition Capital Investments Limited’s growth amongst other issues. Excerpts:
What prompted the establishment of Volition Capital Investments Limited, and what are the factors that have contributed to its growth?
I have been working in the corporate world for two decades and rose to the position of an Executive Director and Member of Boards. One of the things I noticed, was that for a lot of people that work in the corporate world once they stop working they end up in financial crises. This is because, a lot of times they don’t save or rest, especially the loyal and dedicated staff, who keep working thinking that when they grow old, their company will take care of them or their pension will be enough to take care of them. So they don’t spend a lot of time bothering about the future or investing.
I noticed that investment information is not readily available; why can’t one walk into a bank or an Asset Management Organization and find someone to tell you how to create wealth? When I started my journey, I will go to banks, Asset Management Companies e.t.c and nobody could give me a plan or tell me this is how to invest N 1 million. They offer money market products and so on, a lot of times without bothering to explain it and that is because most people in customer service of these organizations are trained on the products, and are not proper fund or wealth managers.
So, I decided that I was going to put all my learning and experience into an investment course. I started out by running an online investment course for a year where I put all the experiences I had garnered, the learning and visits I had done to banks and other financial institutions, into an online investment course which I then offered. People who were taking my investment course then said “Subomi you have taught us how to invest, now we want you to invest on our behalf, go beyond just giving us education, and do the practical work by helping us to invest”, and that was how Volition Capital started.
Customer demand actually prompted the establishment of Volition Capital not because I sat down and said I wanted to set up an asset management company. I never had such a dream, I started out as an online educator on investment, and today, we have gone from being a private equity company to having an asset management license.
Volition Capital Investments Limited has continued to raise the bar of excellence through the value-creating services it renders. Can you highlight some of these services?
We are now a full-fledged asset management company, which means that anyone can come to us and we will help you create a wealth and investment plan, such that whether you are a young professional, retiree, pensioner, or you want to set up an education fund for your children, we will be able to provide these services for you. Volition Capital Investments Limited also manages cooperatives; we help people with small amounts of money to organize and come together as a group so that they can collectively invest as a major group. So we encourage individuals, families, and organizations that want to set up cooperatives so that they can co-invest or build wealth together. We also have a company in the USA that helps Africans and Africans in the Diaspora to create wealth with real estate funds. This is a first of its kind as it means an African can invest in the US market by investing in real estate in the US. We also have a private fund for those who don’t want political or currency risks and also want to save in USD. This again is for middle-class Africans, as our target is always the middle class, particularly for Africans and Africans in the Diaspora. We also have a project in Dubai in conjunction with the Dubai Ministry of Economy and Tourism for tech companies who want to set up their headquarters in Dubai. We help them to have easy access to venture capital.
What makes your organization unique as a growth equity firm?
We have a passion for people just like when I shared the story of how I started, I didn’t start because I had any dream to create a financial company, I started because I had a passion for human beings. I had the passion for an average person who is working as a professional and who has given their life, energy, and time to a career, and we are very clear on this. For example, our mission says “ we help the honest and hardworking create purposeful wealth” There is a reason we said honest and hardworking, people who have honest money and genuinely believe in hard work and dignity of labor. So those are the people we are targeting, and that’s what makes us different because while other companies might be more profit-focused, we are people focused. We focus on the people first and think about how we can get the best returns for the people, it’s not about how we can make a profit. We would make a profit because when you do good work you will be rewarded. That is our passion.
As an administrator with a sterling track record in management, what have been the challenges of managing businesses in Nigeria, and how have you been able to weather the storm?
There are two major challenges, one is credibility risk. A lot of times, people don’t respect contracts, and people don’t keep their word so there is a credibility risk in doing business in Nigeria. Because if anything goes wrong, you have to go through the legal and law enforcement system which is largely inefficient. Although they are trying, it’s not their fault, as the larger environment also has an issue. So the credibility issue is the first challenge, we are dealing with people who don’t respect contracts, laws, and order.
The second challenge is HR. Because we have a bankrupt educational system, the challenge is you have to train a lot of people on what the educational system should have trained them on. You always become like a finishing school for our educational system, so the challenge is having to do that training over and over. Also, a lot of our young professionals are leaving the country due to the “Japa Syndrome”, so we are losing a lot of good talents.
What would you describe as your turning point in life?
I would say deciding to go into entrepreneurship because like I said, I had a career spanning 20 years. I could have decided to continue my corporate life and then retire, but I decided to go into entrepreneurship because I wanted to do something new, I wanted to do something that do not exist and I wanted to create a new model. Let me put it on record, Volition Capital created the current model for using cooperatives as a model for asset management, it never existed in Nigeria before. So we were the first organization to create that model and to use cooperatives as a template for private equity in Nigeria. I am very happy that we were able to pioneer such a model. That for me was a major turning point; committing myself to that mission of helping the middle class create wealth.
Another turning point for me, even my corporate career, was working at Alder Consulting, a place with excellent values, that believed in integrity, hard work, and honor. Having that foundation in terms of my career, working with mentors such as Mr. Leke Alder, and just having been groomed in that environment was also a turning point for my career, I wouldn’t have been doing what I’m doing now if I had not had such a good foundation.
What is the secret behind your success?
I have a Co-CEO who is a very loyal partner, his name is Kola Oyeneyin he provides great support. I play to my strength and he plays to his strength. We tend to underestimate the power of partnership in this part of the world. Everyone wants to be like the owner, the one and only but a partnership for me is very strategic because it means you can do more when you have a capable partner than when you are trying to do everything on your own. If I am to talk about the secret, it is the power of partnership.
What values made Volition Capital Investments Limited as an organization stand out?
Integrity, the ability to be truthful to your staff, clients, and anyone you come in contact with. If there is a challenge, just tell them the truth, people always want to know the truth, so having character, not beating around the bush, and saying things as they are. Being open, authentic, straightforward, honest and all the basic human values are the qualities that have made us stand out.
What are your future projections as an organization?
Our goal on a global scale is to be the largest wealth management company for Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. We are a global company, which is why we have structures in Dubai, the US, etc. So we are not just a Nigerian company.