Barclays Plc, a Uk-based multinational bank, says it is expanding private banking services in Africa to target the continent’s $2 trillion high net worth market.
Jean-Christophe Gerard, chief executive officer (CEO), Barclays Private Bank, said the company hired nine bankers from Credit Suisse Group AG, based in Dubai, London and Zurich, after agreeing to a deal to handle clients referred by the Swiss giant.
“Barclays franchise in Africa is experiencing an accelerated build-out across south, west and east Africa,” Gerard told Bloomberg in an interview.
“This will be done through organic growth and the referral agreement we have with Credit Suisse.”
Gerard said the lender would be focused on wealthy individuals based in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
According to the report, Barclays decision to expand its private banking offering across Africa comes after it exited from retail banking in South Africa, where it recently sold the last of its holdings in Johannesburg-based Absa Group.
Gerard also said wealthy individuals in Africa are increasingly investing in technology firms — including those focused on agriculture, finance and health.
He added that it has helped to contribute to a boom in startup investment on the continent.
“Entrepreneurs like to invest in entrepreneurs and, therefore, many are keen to participate in the Barclays direct-assets program for instance,” Gerard said.
He added that investment in UK real estate is also accelerating, with wealthy Africans either seeing the market as an investment opportunity or holiday home or both.
On his part, Amol Prabhu, country CEO, South Africa, Barclays, said the lender has about 15 bankers in the country, though is looking to hire more.
He said other staff elsewhere are focused on the expansion.