By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK Namibia Asset Management, which describes itself as the country’s largest and oldest independent investment firm, celebrated 10 years of its existence on Friday. In a statement, Namibia Asset Management (NAM) said it had become an industry leader in the 10 years since it was established in 1996. When the company was established, NAM had N$1,5 billion in assets under management, but in just 10 short years the company had confounded many sceptics. Namibia Asset Management currently manages assets worth about N$7 billion, and says that at the end of June 2005 clients achieved an average annual return of 170%. To ensure that benefits accruing to the business and Namibia are maximised, NAM has struck a strategic business alliance with Coronation Fund Managers, one of South Africa’s biggest investment management firms. This alliance allows Coronation to assist with the transfer of investment management skills and expertise to the Namibian team. NAM has employees working at Coronation’s Cape Town head office. “Coronation, which has a 48% shareholding in NAM, is well-placed to ensure that this transference of skills happens, as it presently manages assets to the value of ZAR 90 billion,” the company says. Chief Executive Officer of NAM, Albert ‘Ben’ Bertolini, says the alliance with Coronation has benefited Namibia and her people, adding it has allowed the company to grow, acquire skills and guarantee superior returns for NAM’s clients. Some of NAM’s high-profile clients include the GIPF, Namdeb, Namibia Medical Care, Retirement Fund for Local Authorities in Namibia, the Social Security Commission and Investment Solutions Namibia. Namibian Harvest was listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange in 1998 – making it the only listed asset management company on the NSE. Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was guest speaker at a gala dinner held to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the company. Speaking at the event, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the boards and management of financial companies needed to posses appropriate qualifications and experience to ensure efficient management of public funds. “Savings can promote economic growth only if efficiently allocated towards investments so that they generate desired returns. When investments fail to generate returns either economically or financially then there is no support to economic growth. “Instead, such investments represent an increased opportunity cost for the economy, while depriving savers of their hard earned savings. Government would be concerned about the poor performance of investments funded with public funds,” Amadhila cautioned the industry. She commended NAM for the company’s proven survival skills in what is a very skills intensive and highly competitive industry. She applauded NAM for listing on the Namibian stock exchange, adding she encouraged other Namibian companies to do likewise.