Access HoldCo, the parent company of Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest lender by assets, is in the final stages of receiving regulatory approval from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) and the Nigerian Pension Commission to acquire ARM Pensions, Nigeria’s second-largest independent pension fund manager with over $2 billion of pension assets under management (AUM), a person with first-hand knowledge of the deal said. 

When fully approved, Access HoldCo plans to integrate ARM Pensions with its existing pension business, positioning itself as a dominant player in the $34.9 billion pension market, potentially challenging Stanbic IBTC for the top spot. Access HoldCo, originally a Pension custodian, bought Sigma Pension and First Guarantee Pension last year and merged them into Access Pension.

Two regulatory bodies are scrutinizing the deal, looking out for financial stability and pensioner protection. While the NGX will assess the proposed acquisition through the lens of its listing rules and issuer guidelines, PenCom’s primary objective will be the interests of ARM Pensions’ contributors and beneficiaries, one pension fund manager who asked not to be named said.

The planned acquisition has not been without its share of drama, with one publication reporting the deal as completed on Wednesday evening. Social media conversations also swirled around the acquisition, putting Access HoldCo, a publicly listed company, at risk of hefty fines from regulators, one bank executive claimed.

It sent Access HoldCo into overdrive, with the company’s board holding two separate meetings on Thursday, one person in those meetings told TechCabal. ARM also held a company-wide meeting on Thursday to inform about the potential acquisition, one person in that meeting said while declining to share specifics. 

Founded in 2005, ARM Pensions offers a comprehensive range of pension products and services to both individuals and corporate clients. Its strong brand reputation and expertise in investment management have made it a trusted partner for millions of Nigerians saving for their retirement.

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