VAST international finance experience, character and sense of purpose, were some of the key elements that propelled the choice of Mr. Uche Orji as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), market analysts have said, as the full impact of his appointment alongside the full board and management hit the market.
Orji was on Monday named the Managing Director of Nigeria’s buffer-the NSIA-to roll out operational dynamics and business models that will make the institution meet the yearnings of the people and to fulfil the institutions’ mandate which are to build a savings base for future generations of Nigerians; enhance the development of Nigerian infrastructure; promote fiscal stability for the country in times of economic stress; and carry out such other matters as may be necessary in furtherance of these objectives.
At 42, Orji has seen much – if not all. Calling the shots as the Managing Director and Senior Investment analyst - UBS Securities LLC New York, he is sure coming home to roost. His role involved advising institutional investors and hedge funds in their global investments in the semiconductor sector, in addition to co-ordinating UBS’s global Semiconductor team of 25 analysts and associates including 2 other managing directors and 3 executive directors based in New York, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul and Hyderabad, India. Orji also advised several prominent CEO’s of companies including Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Texas Instruments on strategies to maximise shareholder value and enhance their stock value.
Orji, a thorough bred international investment analyst, knows the global financial services industry so much having risen through the ranks to hold positions as a trainee accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co, 1991-1993 and as Acting Financial Controller at Diamond Bank Limited, 1993-1996. Orji was at Goldman Sachs Asset Management first as Associate and then as Executive Director where he was part of a team responsible for managing a €600m global Technology fund as well as co-managing a €1.2bn pan- European fund. The global Technology Fund team Orji was part of was in the top tier performance in almost every year he spent at Goldman Sachs.
Prior to UBS, Orji had been at JP Morgan, London also as Managing Director between 2001 and early 2006 in the same capacity, but focused mainly on the European markets – Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Sweden etc and focused on companies such as Philips, Thomson Electronics, STMicroelectronics etc. In 4 of the 5 years in this role, Orji was consistently ranked top 3 among ~50 securities advisory firms in Europe in major international polls conducted by such firms as Institutional Investor Magazine and Extel Ratings.
With the appointment of Orjias MD and a substantive Board, the stage is now set for the full operations of the new institution to commence. Prior to their appointments, there were fears that the real professionals needed to steer the corporation right may not be appointed. But the government got it right by going for the best hands who truly understand the workings of managing a sovereign wealth fund.
Prominent market players describe Orji as one of the brilliant minds Nigeria can boast of in the international community. Orji commenced his banking career at the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) now Bank of Industry, as a feasibility engineer during his National Youth Service in Bauchi State. In this role he reviewed the equipment cost and worked other team members to supervise equipment installations for two projects in Bauchi and Benue state.
Between 1991 and 1993, Orji was Audit Staff/ Consultant atArthur Andersen & Co. He moved to Diamond Bank in 1993 as Acting Financial Controller with responsibility spanning Asset and Liability Management, Accounts and financial reporting as well as tax management.
In 1998, Orji was called to join the team at Goldman Sachs Asset Management in London, UK as an associated. Later he was appointed Executive Director –Equity Portfolio Manager/ Investment Analyst.
He was part of a team managing two funds: The first being the $600m global technology fund and secondly the €1.2bn pan-European equity fund. He was also the buyside analyst covering various sectors including technology, Industrial, Basic Materials, Metals and Mining, Pulp and Paper sectors and led/ participated in risk management and sector allocation decisions. During his tenure, Global Tech fund consistently outperformed its peers as did the pan European equity funds, which outperformed most of the time.
When JP Morgan Securities needed a dynamic goal getter to take them to a higher pedestal, Orji’s expertise was again sought after in 2001 when he joined as Vice President: head of semiconductor research. In 2004 He was promoted to the rank of Managing Director and later added the responsibility of Head of European Tech to his direct role of managing the Semiconductor Equity Research Team.
In this role, he covered European Semiconductor and tech hardware stocks and also managed a team of 10 analysts and associates covering– Software, IT Services and Communication Equipment.
He directly covered about 10 European Semiconductor and Semiconductor Equipment Stocks including STMicroelectronics, Infineon, Philips Electronics, ASML and ARM Holdings, average market capitalisation universe EUR200BN. He managed relationships with equity sales and trading as well as proprietary traders.
Orji became the Managing Director and Global Head of Semiconductors Equity Research and co-head of US Technology Research at UBS Securities Limited New York in 2006. He managed UBS global semiconductor equity research team of 11 analysts , based in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, London and the US (New York and San Francisco), and co-managed UBS US Technology Research team of 15 analysts and associates including three managing directors and four vice presidents. He drove UBS investment thesis for global semiconductor stocks, managing all key global indicators, in conjunction with global economists, equity sales/trading, equity derivatives research and other related sector analysts.
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