“Nothing will make us deviate or change our course. We are not exiting our operations in any of our African markets,” declared Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Africa.
“Nothing will make us deviate or change our course. We are not exiting our operations in any of our African markets,” declared Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Africa, following Barclays Bank’s announced intention to sell its 62.3% stake in Barclays Africa over the next two to three years.
Keen to scotch rumors that Barclays is pulling out of Africa because it has lost faith in the economic performance of the region, Ramos says the decision was taken because changed regulations make it more expensive from a capital perspective for banks to hold stakes in other banking organizations.
For Barclays a 2% levy on liabilities paid to UK regulators for Barclays Africa amounted to £52 million ($75 million) last year—diluting a healthy return on equity of 17% to just 8.7%. Although the weak rand also played a part, the levy, put in place to help build resilience in the financial sector, was an inducement for Barclays to reduce the size of its balance sheet. The bank intends to retain a minority stake.
Ramos was upbeat, however, about the prospects of the independently listed entity on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. She believes it will find a new buyer.