Lawyer takes leap and resigns to set up investment company

Vasili Africa Founder Rose Ngari during the interview at her office in Nairobi on October 15, 2020.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group 

What you need to know:

  • After nine years of employment in three different investment companies, she and two friends formed Vasili Africa.
  • The company provides independent investment advisory in portfolio management, personal financial planning and debt management.

When 32-year-old Rose Ngari resigned from her job to go into self-employment in 2019, her family and close friends were dismayed.

Rose, a lawyer and investment consultant, was also not sure that she had made the right decision. At that time, she wished that her father, who had been her confidant, was still alive to advise her on the best route to take.

But when she cast the doubts aside, she was sure that by getting up from her comfort zone and following her dream and passion, she had made the right decision.

“I believe that growth and comfort zones cannot co-exist, and that when the time comes, everything inside you shifts and the system pushes you to go and grow – that’s what happened to me,” Nyawira says.

After nine years of employment in three different investment companies, she and two friends, now her partners in business, formed Vasili Africa, (now Vasili) an investment consultancy firm that provides independent investment advisory in portfolio management, personal financial planning and debt management as well as estate management. 

“The idea was conceived in 2017, but was officially registered in 2019, prompted by an investor who wanted quick transfer of his investment before he relocated to another country the next day,” she explains, saying that she owes this investor the light bulb moment that led to her company.

“I went through a very difficult afternoon trying to find a fund manager who could help us process the transfer within the shortest time possible,” she recalls, saying that this experience is what made her realise that there was a gap that needed filling.

Vasili has two full time employees and two part-time workers. The partners have been working with a group of developers who are building a system that will cost the company Sh3.5 million once complete. They project that they will break even in the next three years.

The journey here has not been easy, and at some point, Nyawira wondered whether she had made the right decision to walk away from the security that her job had offered.

Biggest challenge

“Our biggest challenge has been funding, we had to go back into our pockets to cater for the expenses we were incurring since we had invested all our savings in the business. Entrepreneurship, I have learnt, involves investing your blood, sweat and tears into that one thing you believe will work.”

Vasili is not the only investment company is Kenya so what makes them stand out in that field?

“Investors are able to invest and compare returns in their different portfolios for a well-balanced and diversified strategy and independent agents are able to consolidate their clients’ portfolios on one platform. For fund managers, we offer scalability and distribution of their products at almost zero cost to them, therefore maximising their profitability,” she explains.

The team’s greatest fear is that of risk, breach of data.

“This can lead to loss of data since we hold clients’ documents as well as their historical data,” she says.

To prevent this from happening, they have developed a system that allows them to share their client’s information to third party only upon request from a client, and even then, the data is encrypted. 

The team had planned to set up an office in the first quarter of the year, however the Covid-19 pandemic changed all that, forcing them to run the company remotely for the better part of the year and only meet with clients when necessary.

With the year coming to an end, they have pushed the plan to next year.

As she works on growing her company, Nyawira advises investing in cordial relationships because those you meet along the way might end up becoming your valued clients.

“Throughout my period of employment, as I moved between companies, I was careful not to burn bridges, and it paid off, for instance, the first company that signed up with my investment consultancy firm is the first company that hired me and gave me my initial training,” says Nyawira, who believes that 2021 holds much better tidings for her company.

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