In June 2019, FDH Financial Holdings founder Dr Thomson Mpinganjira made a moving speech at a conference in Lilongwe, Malawi, discussing the hurdles and challenges he encountered in establishing one of the fastest growing financial service empires in Malawi today.
The crowd of corporate gurus fell silent as Dr Thomson Mpinganjira gave his presentation, recounting how he established his business empire, including subsidiary companies First Discount House, FDH Bank, and FDH Money Bureau Limited. He also described the hurdles he faced along the way, explaining how he overcame them.
A chartered accountant by trade and Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Thomson Mpinganjira worked for several prestigious companies, including the National Bank of Malawi, Blantyre Print, Mandala, and Deloitte, before building his own financial services empire.
Dr Mpinganjira was Malawi’s first stockbroker, presiding as CEO of Stockbrokers Malawi Limited between 1997 and 2000. Dr Mpinganjira explained to the audience that his work with the Malawi Stock Exchange revealed vast opportunities in Malawi’s financial services sector.
He set up First Discount House while still working at the Malawi Stock Exchange and Stockbrokers Malawi, chancing upon an opportunity following discussions with his brother, Dr Peter Mpinganjira, in 1999.
The minimum capital required for setting up a discount house at the time was approximately US$1.5 million (in kwacha equivalent). Dr Thomson Mpinganjira invited four friends to join him in the venture. Between the five of them, they managed to raise the capital required and gain the necessary licensing. Find out more about First Discount House by watching the attached short video.
Founding FDH Stockbrokers Malawi in January 2007, while concurrently establishing FDH Bank, was no small undertaking. Thomson Mpinganjira catalogued the considerable challenges he and his colleagues faced, citing Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong it will always go wrong.”
Despite facing significant setbacks and hurdles in establishing his businesses, Dr Mpinganjira never gave up. He attributed his success to putting his faith in God and following the Bible, which he called the ‘Best Success Manual’.
Thomson Mpinganjira explained to the delegates that all wealth comes from God, whether we choose to believe it or not. He told the crowd that God gives us power; a means to create; and an opportunity to manage that power for him. He said that all God asks for in return is a spiritual return on investment.
Dr Mpinganjira underlined the importance of ethics in all business dealings, pointing out that reputation is not only the quickest way to the top, but also the quickest way to the bottom. He said that ethical behaviour is vital in all undertakings, quoting Warren Buffet, the world’s richest businessman, who famously said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Dr Mpinganjira affirmed that his driving passion was to leave a legacy for his family. At the close of his speech, he received a standing ovation.
Find out more about Dr Mpinganjira’s philanthropic work by viewing the attached PDF.
About FDH Financial Holdings
FDH Financial Holdings comprises several subsidiary companies, including FDH Bank, FDH Money Bureau and First Discount House.
The FDH Financial Holdings financial services group reported after-tax profits of US$15.37 million for the year ended 31st December 2019, representing a rise on the previous year of 44%.
In a statement, the group confirmed that its net interest income grew by 49% in 2019, with non-interest income increasing by 34%. Total assets increased by 26%. Bills, loans, and buybacks grew by 20%.
Find out more about FDH Bank’s successes throughout 2019 by viewing the attached infographic.