Absa re­brand­ing goes into full swing |

CIB is work­ing to re-es­tab­lish con­nec­tiv­ity, re­place sys­tems and build its phys­i­cal pres­ence in African mar­kets

Pretoria News - - BR - ED­WARD WEST ed­[email protected]

ABSA COR­PO­RATE and In­vest­ment Bank­ing (CIB) faces a piv­otal year when its brand­ing and op­er­a­tions take root in many African mar­kets that were once served by the bank’s pre­vi­ous par­ent Bar­clays. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Charles Rus­son told Busi­ness Re­port on the side­lines of the Min­ing Ind­aba in Cape Town yes­ter­day that all the bank­ing op­er­a­tions were ex­pected to be re­branded un­der the Absa brand by the end of this month.

Rus­son said the CIB was work­ing to re-es­tab­lish “con­nec­tiv­ity,” re­place sys­tems and build its phys­i­cal pres­ence in these African mar­kets.

He said the CIB had in­vested in new, world-class tech­nol­ogy and sys­tems in these African coun­tries, and this, to­gether with “deep re­la­tion­ships with our clients,” should give it the com­pet­i­tive edge it needs to be­come a lead­ing pan-African cor­po­rate in­vest­ment bank, he said.

“There are many coun­try spe­cific in­sti­tu­tions, but there are not many other banks that can play across the con­ti­nent like we can,” he said.

The CIB has grown in dou­ble dig­its for six years and ac­counts for 35 to 40 per­cent of Absa group prof­its. Be­fore the split from Bar­clays in 2017, it worked mainly in South Africa with the global bank to ser­vice cor­po­rate and in­vest­ment bank­ing cus­tomers in other African mar­kets, where the Bar­clays brand was well en­trenched with a pres­ence of up to 100 years in some coun­tries. Absa CIB op­er­ates in 12 other African coun­tries, apart from South Africa.

Rus­son said the re­brand­ing had al­ready taken place in Mozam­bique and Uganda, and would take place from Fe­bru­ary 10 in coun­tries that in­clude Sey­chelles, Malawi, Botswana, Zam­bia, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania.

In most of these coun­tries, a full suite of bank­ing ser­vices will be pro­vided, such as re­tail bank­ing ser­vices and cor­po­rate and in­vest­ment bank­ing.

Some 15 per­cent of CIB’s busi­ness is from cus­tomers in de­vel­oped coun­tries in­vest­ing in Africa, and of­fices had been es­tab­lished in Lon­don. One was ex­pected to be opened in New York this year, and the fea­si­bil­ity of an of­fice in China was be­ing con­sid­ered, he said.

A mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing was also signed with So­ciété Générale Group a year ago. Absa CIB and the in­ter­na­tional bank­ing group now op­er­ate in 28 African coun­tries, with an over­lap of busi­ness in only two coun­tries. “They are in the Fran­co­phone coun­tries in Africa and we are in English-speak­ing African coun­tries. There is real value and op­por­tu­nity, even though we are sep­a­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions,” said Rus­son.

Absa CIB’s busi­ness in Africa tends to fo­cus on the min­ing, in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy, agri­cul­ture and con­sumer re­tail sec­tors. Absa had pro­vided some 43 per­cent of the fi­nanc­ing of re­new­able en­ergy projects in South Africa over the past few years, and had built con­sid­er­able ex­per­tise in the sec­tor, he said.

From Absa Group’s per­spec­tive, di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion into Africa is key to its growth. South Africa is its most chal­leng­ing mar­ket at present, as gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth is very low, with ad­di­tional risk to the out­look from load-shedding. “The GDP growth is dif­fer­ent in other African coun­tries where we op­er­ate. Coun­tries face var­i­ous chal­lenges, but we will be there with our clients,” Rus­son said.

ALL ABSA’S COR­PO­RATE AND IN­VEST­MENT BANK­ING op­er­a­tions are ex­pected to be re­branded un­der the Absa brand by the end of this month. | Sup­plied

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