Subomi Plumptre is one of the few female African CEOs in asset management on the continent focusing on empowering middle class Africans through investment solutions and unlocking prosperity.
The latest Henley & Partners Africa Wealth Report reveals that the continent holds a total of $2.4 trillion in private wealth, with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco accounting for over 50% of this. Despite this, income inequality remains high, and there’s a significant ‘floating class’ within the middle class facing insecurity.
Subomi Plumptre, the CEO of Volition Cap in Nigeria, aims to address these challenges.
Over a span of three years, her company successfully launched a $30 million fund for agriculture and real estate projects in Africa, resulting in financial independence rates of up to 75% for 3,000 members. Additionally, it’s supporting African filmmakers with $250,000 in funding and have provided financial literacy courses to over 10,000 individuals.
Plumptre also recently toured the United States (US) engaging with the African diaspora through the ‘Celebration of African Prosperity’ roadshow with information on diaspora-focused funds.
Originally, Volition began as a financial education company and investment club. Later, obtaining a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) license, it pioneered a novel fund management approach for Africa utilizing investment clubs (cooperatives).
The acquisition of the SEC license validated and institutionalized their model.
Plumptre co-founded Volition Cap, a licensed asset manager, with Kola Oyeneyin in 2018 after facing personal financial challenges.
A registered fund manager and one of the few African female CEOs of an asset management firm, Plumptre tells FORBES AFRICA: “I had worked in the corporate sector for decades and was committed to my career. But not only was I financially illiterate, my responsibilities did not leave much time for active investing. Like many middle-class employees, I assumed that someday, my stock options would take care of me. But during my career, my country went through two recessions, disrupting the plans of the company I worked for; and making my stock options worthless.
“Around the same time, my parents were dealing with critical medical issues that required expensive healthcare. I could not afford to fly them abroad for treatment that was unavailable in my country. That was a wake-up call for me. I realized there were others like me, hard-working middle-class folk, who were one catastrophe away from poverty. I decided to change that by setting up Volition Cap.”
On social media, where she commands a significant following and is regarded one of Nigeria’s thought leaders in business and strategy, Plumptre channels her thoughts on various topics including life, career and investment.
A few hours before the commencement of her series of engagements in the US, Plumptre, overwhelmed with the support she had already garnered, tweeted to her over 112,000 followers: “There are so many people on social media who quietly support me. You share my content and tell others about my work. I am truly grateful.”
Seemingly aware of the ongoing curiosity regarding her connection with Ashleigh Plumptre, a center-back for Al-Ittihad and the Nigeria national team (popularly known as the Super Falcons), she shared a tweet featuring Ashleigh’s victory dance after her team’s win against Australia in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In response, she remarked: “Lovely to see my niece’s victory dance.”
Apart from her work with Volition Cap, Plumptre engages in various fields such as public speaking, coaching, and mentorship. Her Subomi Plumptre Fellowship aims to mentor and network with young Nigerians who value hard work and excellence.
Moreover, she established The Subomi Plumptre Trust to address education, health, and cultural challenges.
She is also a published author, having written The C’s of Social Media and Unscripted, where she candidly shares her thoughts and struggles about life. Additionally, Plumptre has trained thousands on investment intelligence through her online courses.
The film The Black Book, directed by Editi Effiong and co- executive produced by Plumptre, was released on Netflix on her birthday – September 22 – this year.
“At Volition Cap, we are proud to have been the largest funders in the exclusive syndicate that backed the film [The Black Book] a group of believers who are iconoclasts in their own right. Our homegrown creatives have taken the world by storm, through Nollywood, Afrobeats, literature and fashion. Therefore, the creative industry must be supported,” says Plumptre.
Her dedication has earned her recognition, including acceptance to the Forbes Business Council and being featured in the ChangeMakers’ list of 100 Nigerians Leading Change.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently nominated Plumptre as one of the Goalkeepers — a global collective of changemakers advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This recognition is in acknowledgment of her efforts to champion middle-class wealth in Africa and the diaspora. Her specific focus is on Goals 8, 9, and 10, which include Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; and Reduced Inequalities.
“It’s time to shift the African paradigm from poverty and foreign aid to wealth and prosperity. And we can only do so by empowering the socioeconomic group – the middle-class – that powers society through entrepreneurship, job creation, prioritization of education, active citizenship and remittances,” says Plumptre.
She is widely recognized for her integrity, thoroughness, and sincerity, as described by renowned photographer and singer Toyin Sokefun-Bello, better known as TY Bello.
“When I think of Subomi, the word that comes to mind is integrity,” Sokefun-Bello shared via Facebook in March 2021. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone more thorough, straightforward, and sincere in everything… even with the way she creates… One of the most innovative minds we have, both left and right-brained in a very special way… Subomi is a genius, really.”
“There’s still so much we all need to learn from Subomi. It feels good to know people that will change the world for real. I’m excited about the things she’s about to unveil,” she concluded, indicating her awareness of Plumptre’s plans for innovations in creating wealth for others.
“Trust is at the core of our community at Vizient Coop [one of the cooperatives managed by Volition Cap]. For many years, we built our membership from referrals only. This means satisfied customers told their friends, colleagues, and family members.
We also ensure that in times of market uncertainties, we never leave our community stranded. We keep communicating and intervening on their behalf,” Plumptre says as she highlights the importance of trust and community at Volition Cap.
She adds, “A major success story for me personally was a client we worked with for four years, having designed a custom investment plan for her. Through the returns on her investment, she could afford to send her kids to a premium university of their choice. We also have stories of retirees who currently live off their investment earnings.”
To address low investment literacy and combat Ponzi schemes, Volition Cap provides free investment courses to educate potential investors. Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) disclosed last year that at least N911.45 billion ($1.17 billion) has been lost to various Ponzi schemes and related fraud across the country in 23 years.
Plumptre sees technology as a valuable tool to distribute financial products and educate investors about their risk appetites and investment profiles. Volition Cap collaborated with Opportunik Global Fund to create an AI-powered platform to help investors find their Africa-themed investor profile, utilizing technology innovatively to support homegrown investments.
“At Volition Cap, investing is not just about money. It’s about enabling dreams and life plans for our clients. That’s what keeps us going.
“In Volition Cap’s white paper, we alluded to the importance of the middle-class in creating jobs, educating the next generation and active citizenship. Therefore, our vision is an empowered middle-class that is financially independent, freeing them to create visionary products and to participate more fully in the design of their nations,” Plumptre says.
She reveals that her second research report, Unlocking African Prosperity, co-authored with Oyeneyin and Dean Onyambu, is now recommended reading in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) class at Hult Business School’s United Kingdom (UK) campus.
“I am pleased to illuminate Africa’s potential, showcasing how both Africans and the diaspora can generate wealth through alternative investments. The narrative of Africa must evolve from aid and poverty to entrepreneurship and wealth creation.