There are many common elements that make up agent networks and yet worldwide these networks are showing different compositions and development paths. FinMark Trust commissioned Cenfri to explore the creation and effective management of these unnetworked retailer agents for the distribution of financial and payment services.
The study identifies that a key differentiating factor is the objective for network formation. It could be, for example, to support the roll-out of a new product offering, such as mobile money, or to drive electronic payments and additional revenue for the retailers, or possibly to assist with extending distribution reach to areas underserved by traditional channels. In turn these objectives drive choices in relation to product provision, network scale, agent management structure, technology choice, client facing structure design and other key components of the business model of an agent network.
The study identifies five main network typologies based on the institutional type of the network originator. The typologies are as follows:
- Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) distributor led,
- Financial Services Provider (FSP) led,
- Government led
- Mobile Network Operators (MNO) led, and
- Payment Systems Providers (PSP) led
These typologies are explored through seven case study examples from Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. By understanding the challenges and successes of a number of agent networks, across different locations, key lessons can be extracted for the effective provision financial services through this channel.