i-invest @ 5 - The journey so far

By Oluseye Olusoga - Group managing director/CEO, Parthian Partners

As we celebrate the 5th anniversary of i-invest, I cannot help but reflect on the incredible journey we have embarked on at @ParthianPartners to revolutionize financial access for Nigerian investors. What started as a vision has now transformed into a thriving platform that has reshaped the investment landscape in our nation.

From the very beginning, our mission was clear: to democratize the financial markets and provide retail investors with a gateway to wealth creation. In 2018, when FinTech was not yet mainstream in Nigeria, we recognized the limited options available to retail investors in the financial markets. The only accessible investment avenue for them was fixed deposits, which offered meager returns ranging from 2% to 1%. Meanwhile, treasury bills were yielding significantly higher returns at 15% to 16%. Motivated by this disparity, we created a platform that opened up this market to retail investors, allowing them to generate more wealth. And thus, in 2018, i-invest was born!

Initially known as the “Treasury Bills App,” i-invest provided retail investors with access to purchase Treasury bills. Today, the platform has evolved, offering access to a wider range of financial products, including stocks, fixed deposits, commercial papers, Eurobonds, and much more.

Our journey also encompassed an equally important goal: supporting merchant banks in efficiently serving retail clients. These banks faced challenges in reaching a wider pool of buyers for their wholesale instruments. Recognizing this, we stepped in to provide them with a platform that connected their wholesale offerings to retail customers. Through this initiative, we not only helped merchants expand their reach but also injected much-needed liquidity into the market.

As time went on, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 and 2020 prompted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce interest rates. This shift made it unfeasible to focus solely on treasury bills since the rates had significantly dropped. As a result, we pivoted to the equities market and obtained a stockbroking license through one of our subsidiaries, @ParthianSecurities, enabling us to offer equities to investors on i-invest.

Despite customers expressing interest in cryptocurrencies, we had to adhere to regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We eagerly awaited the SEC’s framework for offering decentralized finance products, commonly known as crypto or alternative securities. To ensure compliance, we refrained from entering that market until the SEC released new regulations in 2022. Currently, we are evaluating the regulations and considering introducing products aligned with the CBN and SEC frameworks surrounding e-money, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized finance.

Five years down the line, the i-invest platform has exceeded expectations, achieving our objectives and facilitating substantial transaction volumes of $100 million thus far. However, we will not rest on our laurels. We envision ourselves as long-term players in the financial technology sector, providing services to a broader Nigerian and West African population. Our aim is to become a global brand for investors while serving as the one-stop financial marketplace, enabling investors to securely and conveniently achieve their financial goals.

Here’s to many more years of wealth creation with @i-invest! 

Visit www.i-investng.com to learn more about i-invest.