Absa woos su­per rich

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - BUSINESS - Pri­ne­sha Naidoo Money­web

Absa is look­ing to woo Africa’s su­per rich by set­ting up in-coun­try wealth and in­vest­ment man­age­ment of­fer­ings out­side its SA base and by launch­ing new tai­lor-made prod­ucts, as it pur­sues a re­newed Africa-fo­cused strat­egy.

The move forms part of the re­branded bank’s ef­forts to dis­tance it­self from Bar­clays Africa and take over ser­vices and func­tions ad­min­is­tered by its for­mer par­ent com­pany.

Pre­vi­ously, high-net worth in­di­vid­u­als (HNWIs) – clas­si­fied as in­di­vid­u­als with in­vestible as­sets of at least R10 mil­lion – out­side SA were ser­viced by fly-outs from Bar­clays Dubai and Johannesburg of­fices.

Now, Absa’s Wealth In­vest­ment Man­age­ment and In­sur­ance (Wimi) unit is piggy-back­ing off its Cor­po­rate and In­vest­ment Bank ca­pa­bil­i­ties in ex­ist­ing mar­kets to set up in-coun­try of­fices. It has launched a full of­fer­ing in Kenya and is work­ing to set up sim­i­lar of­fer­ings in Mau­ri­tius, Ghana and Botswana. Nige­ria is “high on its agenda”, as the group deals with the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of set­ting up of­fices in the coun­try, in which it has no cur­rent pres­ence, ac­cord­ing to Win­ston Monale, man­ag­ing ex­ec­u­tive for Wealth and In­vest­ment Man­age­ment.

The in-coun­try of­fer­ings are ex­pected to al­low the bank to fur­ther en­trench ex­ist­ing client re­la­tion­ships, com­pete more ag­gres­sively for new clients, and cap­i­talise on ex­po­nen­tial growth in HNWIs in mar­kets such as Kenya, Ghana and Mau­ri­tius.

The busi­ness has also ap­pointed So­ciété Générale Se­cu­ri­ties Ser­vices as a plat­form provider. The on­line plat­form gives clients real-time ac­cess to dol­lar, euro and ster­ling-based in­vest­ment portfolios as well as best-of-breed struc­tured prod­ucts and off­shore multi-man­aged so­lu­tions.

The new of­fer­ings are bet­ter than those it used to of­fer as part of the Bar­clays Group, Monale says. “They are bet­ter priced for the cus­tomer and part of that is be­cause of the bet­ter credit rat­ing that So­ciété Générale has in re­la­tion to Bar­clays … In terms of the struc­tured prod­uct notes, we think that be­cause of the credit ex­per­tise that So­ciété Générale brings to the ta­ble, [these will] achieve bet­ter out­comes for the cus­tomer. The plat­form that So­ciété Générale has built is ex­tremely strong and it gives us great ef­fi­ciency from an ad­min­is­tra­tion re­port­ing per­spec­tive.”

Monale adds that lend­ing across ge­ogra­phies is also “far eas­ier”.

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