Mr Michael Prest is a seasoned strategic investor with a strong track record of growing successful businesses across a range of industries and sectors in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. He Is often described as the consummate negotiator.
Mr Prest identifies opportunities and invests in businesses that have the potential for growth, disrupting sectors and challenging the established players. Throughout his career, he has specialised in natural resources, financial services and property, creating a property portfolio yielding more than 150% returns over a ten-year period.
Mr Prest’s latest ventures are Bank of Nevis International (BONI) and Bank of Nevis International Trust Services (BONITS). There, he is currently focused on growing the Bank’s global footprint and diversifying its wealth management offerings and migration investment services by extending its current inclusive outreach mandate into fast-growing economies across Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Mr Prest is also exploring how the Bank adopts ESG awareness to develop new products that will deliver both a lasting social and economic development impact for small island states, including St. Kitts & Nevis, and sustainable high yield return for its wealth management clients. He sees aligning investing outcomes with ESG fundamentals as being a cornerstone of the New Normal in the post pandemic vaccinated world.
In the past, his business activities have been pioneering, disrupting established networks in several markets. In Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Cameroon and Nigeria, his initiatives broke the established import and export chains in soft commodities. He also disrupted the monopolistic supply chains in the downstream oil sector in numerous countries across the African continent, such as Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Mauritania and Sudan.
Mr Prest’s long track record in business has prioritised ventures that have generated an economic and social dividend in the countries he has worked. For example, in 1989, he arranged one of the first pre-finance facilities in cocoa for the ‘Office National de Commercialisation des Produits de Base’ (ONCPB) in Cameroon. Soon after that, in 1992, he broke the back of an existing arrangement and re-pointed the Crude Oil & Coffee export barter deal for Tanzania, saving the country tens of millions of dollars. In 1997, Mr Prest arranged the first Time Swap, worth US$180 million, for Ghana’s National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), enabling Ghanaian refineries to operate and thus averting petrol shortages and allowing the country maintain critical gasoline supplies for the general public. In 1999, he established the template for oil product imports to Nigeria – notably, a template that is still used today – thus revolutionising the oil trade sector. In 2000, Mr Prest arranged an oil product import facility for the then new Government of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, allowing the DRC to provide gasoline to its newly liberated people. In 2006, Mr Prest was a first mover independent in oil exploration in Tanzania, snapping up by way of competitive tender the Tanga, Latham and Kimbji exploration assets.
Furthermore, through his investments, Mr Prest has always focussed on giving opportunity and empowering marginalised groups. In his executive roles across soft commodities and oil he made a point of always giving opportunities to young people in Africa and the Caribbean, and ensured senior positions in his businesses, often in male-dominated sectors, are representative. Currently, at BONI and BONITS, women occupy a majority of the senior leadership and managerial positions. Mr Prest also co–founded the UK Powerlist, an initiative that showcases the 100 most influential people of African or African-Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom. He has championed the educational needs of inner – city children in London and serves as a mentor to young people under the UK, Urban Synergy programme. Mr Prest serves as a trustee to the Amos Bursary which was founded to help talented people of African and Caribbean descent have the opportunity to excel in education. Madiba, Nelson Mandela, described Mr Prest’s efforts as those made by someone who never forgot the importance of helping others.
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