Following allegations of maladministration at the Pan African micro-finance behemoth Letshego Holdings STAFF WRITER PHILLIMON MMESO engages Group Managing Director, Chris Low.
We would like to enquire if it is true Lesotho Central Bank has recently fined Letshego Holdings for non-compliance. If it is true what was the offence and how much was the company fined?
LOW: The Lesotho Central Bank has no regulatory authority over Letshego Holdings Ltd.
How true is it that most of the senior executives of the company are based in Cape Town, South Africa and why?
LOW: This statement is inaccurate and misinformed. To confirm, Letshego’s operations in Botswana comprise two entities under which staff are employed: Letshego Financial Services Botswana (Letshego Botswana), and Letshego Holdings Ltd (Letshego Group). Every role in Letshego Botswana – the local country business – is filled with a local Botswana national. Letshego is proud of its ability to employ local Batswana and contribute to local employment levels within the economy. Like so many other multinationals in Africa, the Letshego Group has people and talent located across the Africa region, given our Group operations and presence spans 11 countries in Sub Saharan Africa; however the Head Office remains based from Gaborone. Letshego Group’s diversity in culture and nationalities is its strength.
Is it true that Group Human Resources Manager Simon Kioko is based in Kenya and that he is an auditor by profession; hence with no academic, experience or background on HR?
LOW: Correct. Simon Kioko, our Group Head of People Experience, is located in our Nairobi Regional Office. Simon has extensive regional and international experience in the financial sector. In his previous role he was Deputy Leader of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group Transformation Project and was closely involved in conceptualisation and rollout of the KCB Group Culture Change programme. Previously, Simon had developed cross-functional skills and competencies through experiences in Audit, Treasury Product Control, Finance, Credit management, Human Resources and Branch Service Delivery in Standard Chartered. Professionally, some of Simon’s many qualifications include: Certified Internal Auditor (CIA); Certified Public Secretary (CPS); Technical Specialist Institute of Risk Management SIRM (UK). Simon also holds an undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing and an MBA in Strategic Management. He has attended a series of management development programmes in his career. Simon’s experience and unique skills will benefit Letshego’s people experience and organisational effectiveness objectives as the business continues to expand across the continent.
If so, what criterion was used to employ him?
LOW: In recruiting candidates for all roles across our business, we are committed to matching an individual’s skills, experience and capability with the role’s requirements and objectives. Letshego’s current staff turnover averages 5%, which is indicative of our ability to match individuals to the right role – for reference, the average turnover in most companies and sectors is around 15%.
Is it true that the company’s agents petitioned the Managing Director over the new commission payment structure which will then subject them to lower commission payment?
LOW: Letshego Botswana, like all other subsidiaries, continuously reviews its financial policies and structures across all business streams, thus ensuring we maintain a commercially viable business in an ever-changing market environment. Specific to DSA (Direct Sales Agent) commissions, these continue to be reviewed, with the last review having taken place in 2016 prior to the recent 2018 review. Whether the Country Business is reviewing fee structures for customers, or commission structures for Direct Sales Agents, Letshego remains committed to engaging the relevant stakeholders, directly, to provide them with detailed insight and motivation for any adjustments. As Direct Sales Agents form a valued part of our business, Letshego has implemented structures to encourage regular two-way communication. With respect to the phrasing around whether a “petition” was received by Letshego by DSAs – No formal petition has been received related to commission structures.