Barclays Africa Group
|Traded as||JSE: BGA|
|Industry||Banking, Financial services, Investment services, Insurance services|
|Founded||1991 (as Amalgamated Banks of South Africa Limited) changed name to Barclays Africa Group Limited 2013|
|Headquarters||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Area served||Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.|
|Key people||Wendy Lucas-Bull
(Group Chief Executive)
|Products||Commercial banking, Finance and insurance, Retail Banking, Credit Cards, Private equity, Investment Management, Investment banking|
|Revenue||R4.66 billion (June 30, 2013)|
|Total assets||R841.33 billion (30 June 2013)|
|Owner(s)||Barclays plc (62.3%)|
|Employees||33,879 (permanent) (June 2013)|
The Barclays Africa Group Limited (JSE: BGA), also known as Barclays Africa or the Group, formerly Absa Group Limited, is one of Africa’s major financial services providers offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance. ABSA stands for "Amalgamated Banks of South Africa", and is a wholly owned subsidiary of ABSA Group Limited.
Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa Group or the Group) is 62.3% owned by Barclays Bank PLC and is listed on the JSE Limited. The Group is one of Africa’s major financial services providers offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance.
The Group was formed through combining Absa Group Limited and Barclays’ African operations on 31 July 2013. Reflecting the enlarged group’s pan-African focus, the Group's name changed from Absa Group Limited, to Barclays Africa Group Limited on 2 August 2013. Registered head offices are in South Africa and the Group has majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays BankTanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. The Group has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as bancassurance operations in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. Barclays Bank Kenya and Barclays Bank Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stockexchanges. Barclays Bank PLC has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe, which are part of the African business and continue to be run by Barclays Africa Group’s management. Absa is a signatory of the South African Financial Sector Charter.
Absa was founded in 1991 through the merger of financial service providers United Bank (South Africa), the Allied Bank (South Africa), the Volkskas Bank Group and the Sage Group. The following year, Absa acquired the entire shareholding of the Bankorp Group which included Trustbank, Senbank and Bankfin, thereby extending its asset base further. In the early years of this union, each bank operated under its own name. It wasn’t until 1998 that they all fused into one single brand. A year later, Absa adopted a new corporate identity and the name was changed into Absa Group Limited.
To cement the union achieved in 1998, Absa decided to adopt a single brand and provide an array of financial services offering "simple, uncomplicated banking relationships, value for money, stability, convenience and superior customer service".
In May 2005 Barclays Bank of the United Kingdom purchased 56.4% stake in Absa as part of its drive to expand its global product and international retail and commercial banking businesses to untapped markets outside the UK. This transaction was Barclays' largest foreign direct investment in South Africa, and its largest investment outside the UK. In early 2007 the Barclays Bank acquisition of Absa came under criticism from then governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni who said he "had yet to see the benefits of Barclays' management of Absa".
In 2013, the Group acquired the entire issued share capital of Barclays Africa Limited and issued 129,540,636 Consideration Shares to Barclays Africa Group Holdings Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays) thus increasing the shareholding of Barclays Bank PLC to 62,3%. The Consideration Shares were listed on the JSE from the commencement of trading on 31 July 2013. The name change from “AbsaGroup Limited” to “Barclays Africa Group Limited” as announced on 22 July 2013, became effective 2 August 2013.
Barclays Africa Group Structure
Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa Group or the Group) is 62.3% owned by Barclays Bank Plc., and is listed on the JSE Limited. Barclays Bank (Kenya) and Barclays Bank Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stock exchanges. In addition to the entities listed in this legal structure, Barclays Bank Plc. has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe which are an integral part of the banking conglomerate's African business and continue to be run by Barclays Africa Group operationally.
In 2009, Absa appointed one of South Africa’s most successful and highlyregarded businesswomen, Maria Ramos as the Group Chief Executive. Prior to joining Absa, Ramos had held numerous high-profilejobs as the Director-General of the National Treasury from 1996 to 2003, and asGroup Executive of Transnet Limited from 2004 to 2009. She has been ranked as the ninth most influentialwoman in international business by Fortune magazine; she won South Africa’sBusiness Woman of the Year award in 2001; and was named Business Leader of theYear by the Sunday Times’ Business Times in 2005.
Barclays Africa Group executive committee:
- Chief Executive Officer: Maria Ramos
- Chief Executive: Wealth, Investment management and Insurance Willie Lategan
- Chief Executive: Corporate and Investment Banking Stephen van Coller
- Chief Executive: Retail and Business Banking Craig Bond
- Chief Operating Officer: Charles Russon
- Chief Risk Officer: Anil Hinduja
- General Counsel: Charles Wheeler
- Group Executive: Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs Bobby Malabie
- Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Financial Director: David Hodnett
- Group Human Resources Executive: Sarah Louw
- Compliance Officer: Heather Loewenthal
Below is the Group’s 10 largest shareholders as at 30 June 2013
|Majority shareholders||30 June 2013 (%)|
|Barclays Bank PLC (UK)||55.52|
|Public Investment Corporation (SA)||7.16|
|Sanlam Investment Management (SA)||2.89|
|Dimensional Fund Advisors||2.01|
|Investec Asset Management (SA, UK)||1.52|
|Allan Gray Investment Council (SA)||1.47|
|StanLib Asset Management (SA)||1.43|
|The Vanguard Group (US, AU)||1.42|
|Oppenheimer Funds Incorporated (US)||1.28|
|Geographical holding (by owner)||31 Dec 2012 (%)|
|United States and Canada||8.8|
In 2007, Absa spent R60, 9 million in Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects. The Group’s key focus areas within CSI have been selected to meet the company’s goal of improving the lives of underprivileged South Africans. These areas include education, entrepreneurship, health and disability, and the environment.
In an effort to promote its business, improve the quality of education and widen access among rural and disadvantaged communities, Absa funds two educational programmes. The Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme which is committed to improving maths and science grades in disadvantaged schools across South Africa.; and the Absa/Sowetan Early Childhood Development Awards to support for early childhood development practitioners working in rural and disadvantaged communities..
The Group contributes to the development of entrepreneurship in South Africa by offering young entrepreneurs start-up capital, mentorship and skills training.
Health and Disability
Absa has joined forces with the Public Benefit Organizations to provide HIV and Aids awareness, home-based care, and assistance to orphans and vulnerable children. The Group also runs a number of special health projects as a joint venture with the Cancer Association of South Africa and the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa.
Additionally, Absa has formed a partnership with the Thabo Mbeki Development Trust for disabled people. The aim here is to support the empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Through collaborations with organizations such as The Peace Parks Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Absa creates environmental awareness and helps to preserve South Africa’s rich natural heritage.
Absa sponsors a range of activities in the arts and sports sectors. It is known for its great support in arts festival like Aardklop, Absa Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK), and the biggest design industry event, Design Indaba. The bank also sponsors various theatre productions, the TV game show Noot vir Noot, and hosts South Africa’s longest running national arts competition, the ABSA L’Atelier Art Competition. The top two artists at L’Atelier are given the opportunity to study at the prestigious art school, Cité Internationale Des Arts in Paris.
In terms of sports development, Absa in association with Barclays has created a high-tech sports facility for the community of Gansbaai in the Western Cape. The centre offers professional coaching in soccer, netball, basketball and cricket. Absa has invested R4, 6 million in the project which will help the community of Gansbaai get their kids off the streets and give them an opportunity to engage in sports instead.
Absa also sponsors major sports teams including the national squad Bafana Bafana and the Springboks (South African rugby team); and major sporting events such as the Absa Currie Cup, Absa Premiership and the mountain bike racing event Absa Cape Epic.
A 2008 Finweek Bank Charges Report has found ABSA Bank to be the most expensive bank in South Africa. A year later, the 2009 Finweek Bank Charges report again not only found ABSA to charge the most for its services, but that ABSA topped the list for a second consecutive time for the biggest increase in bank charges. In 2010 ABSA was again rated by both Fin24 and Afriforum as having the highest bank charges in the country. Increasing by 82% in pay-as-you-transact (PAYT) fees from 2005 to 2010.
The 2012 Finweek Bank Charges Report ranked Absa’s Gold Value Bundle as the cheapest Package Option amongst the four banks that were compared.The report has also shown Absa’s PAYT pricing structure to have reduced by 25% leaving it third cheapest in the overall ranking. The 2012 Finweek Bank Charges Report specifically applauded Absa for the simplified nature of its pricing structures and related brochures.
Achievements and Awards
The Group has several prominent banking awards under its belt. In 2009 it was awarded the coveted African Banker accolade as the most Innovative Bank in Africa and New York’s Global Finance magazine named it the Best Islamic Bank in the Middle East and Africa. The year 2010 saw the Group scoop two PMR Africa Silver Arrow Awards for Islamic Banking; the Asian Banker honoured it with two awards as the Best Mobile Phone Banking internationally and Best Retail Bank in South Africa; and one of its divisions, Absa Capital, ranked Overall Top Bank in the 2010 Risk Magazine South Africa survey.
In 2011, for the sixth year in a row, Absa walked away with the Coolest Bank Award at the Sunday Times Generation Next Awards which were held at the Theatre on the Track in Kyalami, Johannesburg. 7000 youths from across six different provinces voted for Absa as the Coolest Bank in the annual Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Survey.
- Barclays Africa Group Board
- Absa.co.za:Financial Results Booklet Year Ended 31 December 2010
- "Absa Group Limited: Unaudited condensed consolidated financial results for the interim reporting period ended 30 June 2013". Barclays Africa. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "ABSA Bank". South Africa Travel Online CC.
- http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/About-Absa/Absa-Group/Absa-Overview retrieved at 12 December 2011
- "Barclays seals £2.6bn Absa tie-up". BBC News. retrieved at 27 July 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4720687.stm retrieved May 2007.
- "Mboweni fires confounding salvo at Barclays". Business Report. 30 March 2007. Retrieved June 2007.
- Barclays Africa Group Structure
- Absa CSI Report 2007 retrieved at 12 December 2011
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- Absa CSI Report 2007, Pg 70 retrieved at 13 December 2011
- http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/About-Absa/Corporate-Citizenship/Sponsorships/Sport retrieved at 13 December 2011
- David McKay. "SA's most expensive bank: Absa". Fin24.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- Fin24.com reporter. "SA outraged by bank 'fleecing'". Fin24.com. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Fin24.com reporter (27 September 2010). "SA’s most expensive bank". Fin24.com. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Afriforum: Standard Bank and Absa is South Africa's most expensive banks". Afriforum. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/About-Absa/Careers/Life-at-Absa/Awards retrieved at 7 December 2011
- http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/About-Absa/Careers/Life-at-Absa/Awards retrieved at 7 December 2011