Absa Group Limited’s corporate and investment banking unit is targeting Nigeria and other African markets in a bid to boost earnings and deliver on its chief executive officer’s mission to reboot the lender.
Following a split from its former parent, Barclays Plc, Absa rebranded its operations in South Africa, reshuffled management and refreshed its strategy with the ambition of doubling its market share in Africa and regaining lost ground at home.
The co-CEO, Commercial International Bank, Mike Harvey, was quoted in an interview with Bloomberg as saying that it meant finding opportunities better suited to the group’s new identity, unshackled from the London-based lender.
He said, “This was one of the businesses that was impacted by the separation, given it was so closely aligned to Barclays when we first built it out. It is really about building a pan-African corporate and investment bank. The separation now allows us to determine our own path.”
Absa aims to close the gap with investment-banking rivals after Barclays split.
Harvey, who looks after the investment bank, and Temi Ofong, who oversees the corporate-banking division, would focus on serving the lender’s offshore client base by opening an office in London next month and another in New York in 2019.
Absa has a presence in 11 African countries that together represent a third of the continent’s gross domestic product.
Harvey said the division, which accounted for 15 per cent of Absa’s first-half income, would also expand its footprint across the rest of Africa.