Alexander Forbes

Alexander Forbes Image


Sub-Saharan Africa


South Africa

Deal type

Management buy-out

Investment date


Status date


The financial services firm at the heart of a nation

Creating social capital is not necessarily a mandate embraced by financial services firms. However, in a society where the savings culture is relatively weak, South Africa’s Alexander Forbes has developed innovative ways to teach its members about the importance of regular saving, including conducting education sessions.

Alexander Forbes is one of South Africa’s leading diversified financial services companies, operating as an intermediary in the investment and insurance industries. The company’s business is divided into three main areas of activity: Investment Solutions: constructing and managing portfolios for retirement funds and individuals, Financial Solutions: administering and providing consultancy services to retirement funds and individuals and Risk Services: offering wholesale and retail insurance broking and risk consultancy services. The firm’s primary operations are based in South Africa and the UK, but its reach is global.

In 2007, when Actis invested in the company, the US$1.2bn transaction was one of the largest and most complex leveraged buy-outs ever undertaken in Africa. Since then, Actis has worked closely with the company to meet its goal of doubling the size of the business. This partnership has involved implementing measures to improve cash flow and balance sheet management. Actis has also worked with the team in South Africa to appoint new members of the management team, to launch products and to develop strategies to boost sales.

In July 2014, Alexander Forbes took the first step in the next stage of its development, when it listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in one of the largest listings ever in sub-Saharan Africa.