Monday April 20, 2015 marked the 25 years anniversary of Databank Group, Ghana’s premier and leading investment bank. The milestone was marked by a launch event organized at the headquarters of the investment bank.
The story of Databank is quite unique. It all begun in the late 1980’s, when the flames of nostalgia, deep ambition and patriotism, burned in the hearts of two young Ghanaian men – Ken Ofori-Atta and Keli Gadzekpo – causing them to retrace their steps to their motherland, and realize their dream of building a business empire that would be both rewarding financially and spiritually.
These two young, smart Ghanaian visionaries were successfully plying their trade in the U.S. – Ken on Wall Street, Keli with KPMG in Washington D.C. Yet, during a time of economic and political uncertainty in Ghana, these two finance mavericks chose to see the daunting task that lay ahead of them as an opportunity to be the first in a market that was yet undefined and in a state of flux.
And so it was, that come 1990, the young men had set up shop in a small room in the UTC building in Central Accra (Kantamanto) with a short-term loan of US$25,000 as their starting capital. Together with their partners, including James Akpo, they started a small seed and with the constant nurturing of hard work, commitment, a die-hard attitude and an unwavering resolve, that seed has grown into a Mighty tree with branches that spread far and wide.
Today, the world knows a Databank that helps both Ghanaians and foreigners alike to achieve financial independence; a Databank headquartered in Ghana with presence in Liberia and The Gambia; a Databank that has constantly led the way in breaking new grounds in the investment banking industry in Ghana; a Mighty Databank.
Over the years, Databank has made major contributions in the investment banking industry through landmark transactions and the introduction of products and services. For instance, Databank was on hand to compute the first indices – the Databank Stock Index and the Databank Stock Average – used in measuring the performance of the Ghanaian stock market. Databank was also the first company to launch a mutual fund product in Ghana (i.e. the Databank EPACK Investment Fund). Through its mutual fund products and investment.
solutions, Databank has successfully democratized the participation of the ordinarily retail investor, in investment banking in Ghana. Databank was the transaction advisor and sponsoring broker for African Champion Industries (formerly Super Paper Products Co.) initial public offering in the early 1990s.
Since then, Databank has assisted several companies to raise capital and/or successfully list on the GSE (e.g., Home Finance Co, SSB Bank, Produce Buying Co, Trust Bank (The Gambia), CAL Bank, UT Financial Services). More recently, Databank has co-managed two of Ghana’s three Eurobonds, and was the sponsoring broker in the listing of the first security (i.e. a GHS80 million medium term note program for Izwe Ghana Limited) on the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX).
The Databank Agrifund Ltd (DAFML) is a private equity fund which invests across food-value chains in Africa. DAFML has completed eight transactions across eight unique countries in Africa, through its AAF-SME Funds since its inception in 2012. Some of the investments have received world recognition awards.
It is significant that Databank celebrates its 25th year under the strong leadership of its third Group CEO, Kojo Addae-Mensah, who himself began his career at Databank in 1998 before leaving the company in 2000.
Kojo Addae-Mensah took over from Keli Gadzekpo in May 2014 to head the Databank Group and has already made a strong statement of his commitment to the values of the company: Leadership Excellence, Humility and Integrity.
Under his leadership, the company has secured a partnership with a savings & loans firm and is on course to realizing one of its goals of becoming a universal bank in the future. Under Kojo’s leadership, Databank now has a presence in five regions in Ghana through its co-location arrangement with GT Bank.
This is in addition to the existing partnerships with Zenith Bank Ghana, UBA Ghana, Stanchart, Barclays Bank Ghana and Access Bank Ghana. His leadership has also seen the launch of the Databank Educational Investment Fund (EdIFund): Ghana’s first educational investment fund with an Insurance component.
Speaking at the launch, Kojo Addae-Mensah made it clear what his vision and mission are for Databank: “Together with my team, we are going to make Databank the dominant financial services firm in Ghana and Africa, and will empower our clients to achieve financial independence through promoting financial literacy and offering a diverse range of investment products.”
The event was attended by a cross section of the Ghanaian public, including the founders of Databank, Ken Ofori-Atta and Keli Gadzekpo and their families, clients, representatives of the Ghana Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission, partner banks, the media, friends of Databank and current and past staff of the firm.