The apple does not fall far from the tree. Bolaji Balogun, a thoroughbred investment banker, took the baton from his bank-owner father, Subomi Balogun, and stepped outside his shadow after mastering the game. He has charted his path and earned acclaim in Nigeria’s banking space.
Bolaji is referred to as a self-starter entrepreneur because of his move to step out of the First City Group, the family business founded by his father, to establish his own investment bank company, Chapel Hill Denham. This was after he had built a professional reputation for himself.
Under his leadership, he grew his company alongside others to be one of Nigeria’s leading independent investment banking firms. He’s also the Chairman of Lafarge Africa, Vice Chairman of Endeavor Nigeria, Director at Trustfund Pension and part of the Africa Advisory Board for Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Bolaji’s round knowledge of investment banking, management, and mobile telecommunication span over thirty years.
Career: Taking the investment and telecom path
Bolaji’s success can be traced to the self-discovery that guided his intentional educational pursuit. He knew early on that he had a keen affinity for the investment space, which his father presumably influenced.
He attended Igbobi College, Lagos, and went to the United Kingdom to complete his high school education at the Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey. Afterwards, he proceeded to the University of London and received a degree (Honours) in Economics.
He started his investment banking and securities career while trading under the First City Group in the 1990s. While in the company, he served as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at CSL Stockbrokers Limited.
He became the Executive Director at FCMB Capital Markets in 1996 and left the company in 2001 after 11 years of serving the family business to join Econet Wireless Nigeria.
Bolaji became the co-founder and Director at Econet. He also served as the company’s Chief Business Development and Strategy Officer and Chief Marketing Officer.
In 2005, Bolaji Balogun led the team that brokered the sale of Econet to Celtel at $1.67 billion, considered Nigeria’s single largest successful exit from a private investment. Afterwards, he returned to the investment industry and founded Chapel Hill in the same year.
With the vision to grow Chapel Hill into a full-fledged investment bank, in 2008, he merged it with Denham Management. On the merger, he said, “The integration process when we first merged with Denham was interesting…..We had tripled our employees, and our client base had become much more diversified. Whereas we were used to serving institutional clients, we now had to serve retail clients as well increasingly.”