One of the largest banking groups in Africa and South Africa’s third-biggest bank, Barclays Africa Group Limited has announced a new business strategy in order to deliver on its goal.
This growth strategy, which involves splitting its operating units into four, comes after the successful sell down of a majority of its stake. The new structure has four core businesses, each headed by a chief executive officer. These structures are the Retail and Business Banking (RBB) South Africa, Corporate, and Investment Banking (CIB), Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance (WIMI) and Rest of Africa (RoA) – 10 markets outside South Africa. Following this decision, its South Africa Banking will cease to be a management or reporting segment.
“Our overriding goal is to become a banking group of which Africa can be proud, a forward-looking African business that recognizes our African heritage, rooted in Africa, with global reach,” said Barclays Africa Group CEO, Maria Ramos. “We have a clear and undiluted ambition to double our market share of African banking revenues to 12 percent.”
The Group will expand its corporate and investment banking unit to certain international jurisdictions, with offices set to open in London and later in New York. These offices will trade as Absa Securities, offering opportunities for their clients to offshore financial markets and providing access to corporate bodies and institutions seeking to invest in Africa.
“As an independent and stand-alone business, Barclays Africa will have the agility, the means and the risk appetite to strive for growth,” said Ramos.
According to Bloomberg, the process of separating Barclays Africa from its UK parent company started in 2016 and is due to be completed in early 2021. The London-based bank paid 765 million pounds ($1.1 billion) for the split and the deal has allowed Barclays Africa to set out its own strategy for growth in South Africa and the rest of the continent where it has operations in more than 10 countries.
Ramos explained further: “This is an exciting time for us. The sell-down has provided us with the headroom to reinvigorate our company while building on the proud heritage Barclays has in Africa. We will work hard to deliver on our new strategy and to build our reputation as a bold, trusted, innovative and customer-focused brand. Barclays Africa group is building a scalable, digitally led business, passionate about innovation.”
Pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, Barclays Africa Group will soon be renamed Absa Group Limited and it will trade as Absa across its operations, which are currently branded Barclays in Africa.
Ramos explained that “Barclays will be Absa, not as you know it, but relaunched, re-presented and with an identity fit for the new and forward-looking business we are creating.”