The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Barclays Africa Group Limited, Ms Maria Ramos, has said the bank will reposition itself to double its market share to 12 per cent and work on restoring its market leadership position in its core business areas while expanding into new markets by 2023.
The group is to expand its corporate and investment banking unit to certain international jurisdictions, with offices to be opened in London and New York, trading as Absa Securities, to offer opportunities for its clients in the financial markets offshore, the CEO explained.
Addressing the media via a telephone conference on March 1, Ms Ramos said the group would have the agility, the means and the risk appetite to strive for growth as an independent and stand-alone business.
“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,” she said.
She observed that the group’s overriding goal was to become a bank that Africa would be proud to associate with, and a forward-looking African business that recognises heritage of the continent.
She noted that the financial institution had a clear and undiluted ambition to double in size and achieve a 12 per cent market share of banking revenues across Africa in five years.
“Growth has to be an essential part of our DNA, the driver behind our every action and a core facet of our ambition for this business. We are building our culture around a shared sense of purpose and identity, a celebration of our diversity and inclusion, a passion for growth- helping our colleagues bring their possibility to life,” she said.
According to her, the priority for the group was to restore leading positions in core business areas, while expanding into new markets, enabling the group to deliver double-digit growth.
Ms Ramos disclosed that the group would be renamed Absa Group Limited in due course and trade as Absa across its operations (currently branded Barclays) in Africa, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.
“The sell-down gave us the opportunity to roll out a brand that reflects our identity in Africa and to unite our operations in 10 countries behind one name.
“We 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.”
Absa is currently the brand of the Barclays Africa Group’s South African business. The Absa brand has substantial equity as one of the largest banks in South Africa and enjoys recognition in many of the countries in which Barclays Africa operates under the Barclays brand currently.
The financial institution undertook extensive research internally and externally, in a process that included more than 130 000 conversations with employees and stakeholders about the brand and strategy of the group.
“The implementation of this decision necessitates that we take into account practical considerations and dynamics in each market so that it is as seamless as possible.
The change will be rolled out in time, bearing in mind the mid-2020 rebranding deadline. This transition will be undertaken with the utmost care,” she said.
The group posted four per cent increase in its headline earnings in 2017 as impairments declined substantially from a high base in 2016.
Return on equity of 16.4 per cent remains strong.
Headline earnings, a measure analysts use to gauge profitability, grew despite the continued slow economic expansion in some of the group’s largest markets, including South Africa, where it generated approximately 80per cent of its income.
It maintained a solid balance sheet assets of R1.2 trillion and strong capital and liquidity levels – these are measures of the strength of buffers banks have in place to protect customer deposits.
The financial institution added that its separation from Barclays PLC was progressing well and the parties continue to work together to ensure a seamless separation. — GB