Throughout his career, Kobby Bentsi-Enchill has worked on a number of landmark deals and has done a lot to enrich the capital markets in west Africa and inform a growing investor base.
In 2004, Bentsi-Enchill and his team successfully advised on and arranged a P1 billion ($200 million) loan portfolio secularization, on behalf of the government of Botswana, with a series of notes, ranging from three years to 21 years – the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
“In 2004, this deal really helped shape the domestic capital markets because it extended the yield curve to 21 years and provided one of the longest maturity instruments at the time,” says Bentsi-Enchill.
"In effect, the deal created long-term assets for pension funds and other asset managers to invest in – something that was lacking in the market at the time."
He adds: “There is generally a lack of depth and diversity of non-bank institutional investors in most markets the region, which has limited capital market development. In Nigeria, privatization of the pension fund industry has really catalyzed development of its capital markets – with the support of regulatory authorities, government-backed market reforms.
"The quality of market participants, including a number of world-class law firms, has also greatly helped. Doing business here is getting a lot easier and Nigeria appears to be setting the pace for regional neighbours to follow.”
In 2007, Bentsi-Enchill worked on the first cedi-denominated Euroclearable bond issue on the European medium-term note market for the African Development Bank, and in 2010 led the execution of a N37.5 billion ($250 million) five-year, 12% fixed-rate bond issue for Flour Mills of Nigeria – the largest local currency bond issued by a corporate in west Africa at the time.
“I had been in Nigeria since 2009 and at first I really didn't see myself staying very long in the country,” says Bentsi-Enchill. "But I was impressed by the size and relative sophistication of some of the deals that were taking place."
Like many of his peers, Bentsi-Enchill left his home country of Ghana after completing secondary school and moved to London. There he studied actuarial science at City University of London – now CASS Business School.
After graduating, Bentsi-Enchill started a banking career after accidentally attending a screening programme for graduates by Standard Chartered. Eventually, he was hired as a graduate trainee, travelling between the UK, Ghana and Singapore on product development assignments before settling in London to take up a position as an analyst in the newly formed Africa debt capital markets (DCM) team.
After brief stints at Renaissance Capital and UBA Capital in Lagos, Bentsi-Enchill was head-hunted by Standard Bank and took up the position as head of DCM of the bank’s Nigerian subsidiary.