Many corporations globally are struggling to deal with massive economic and political upheaval. Yet, given the unique and often challenging economies that make up the African region, companies here are uniquely qualified to handle uncertainty and volatility.
Best Overall Bank for Cash Management
Standard Bank has been around for 152 years and has a presence in 20 countries in Africa. It is a leading pan-African bank supporting intra-African trade and the global and regional cash management needs of corporate clients. Its Business Online digital banking portal offers ease-of-use with such features as single sign-on and multibank account management and reporting. On the working capital front, the bank has “created a dedicated team in South Africa which conducts in-depth analysis into the working capital cycles” of clients, says the bank, along with benchmarking and analysis of how process reengineering can enhance working capital management.
It is one of few banks with the ability to help multinational clients with regional liquidity management solutions for markets such as Mozambique, Nigeria and Angola. The bank’s Global Liquidity Management System allows corporate clients to “view and manage their cash management schemes with Standard Bank on a real-time basis, allowing treasurers to optimally manage intraday liquidity risk, in addition to optimizing overnight cash working capital interest yields.” Companies can thus take advantage of real-time cash pooling services combined with real-time consolidated balance reporting.
Best Bank for Liquidity Management
Standard Chartered is in the midst of a $2.9 billion investment to 2018. Our ‘Here for Africa’ campaign further demonstrates our commitment to the region. It has a direct presence in 15 countries in the region. The bank offers corporate clients with optimized solutions for liquidity management, such as true end-of-day cross-border sweeps offering same-day value. It can provide multi-currency, multi-entity global interest optimization, and automated options on surplus and overnight cash for yield enhancement.
Standard Chartered also offers best-of-breed digital solutions for optimizing liquidity management, such as Straight2Bank Liquidity—a global liquidity platform that provides companies with greater visibility of global liquidity, along with improved control and operational efficiency.
Best Bank for Payments and Collections
Ecobank has the largest pan-African corporate banking network of any bank, along with a strong local presence in the markets where it operates. It offers a comprehensive payables management solution—Ecobank OMNI—to enhance payment processes and improve controls. It also boasts the largest banking network in Africa. The bank is in the midst of rolling out Ecobank Masterpass QR, a mobile payment solution that it expects to have live in 33 countries by 2020.
The bank offers custom collections management offerings, tied to its digital receivables management solutions. As an example, when a major Nigerian telecoms company wanted to integrate its point-of-sale and bank branch collections into its ERP system, Ecobank delivered. Notes the bank: “The objective was to allow their field sales representatives who collect cash from customers to easily deposit the cash into the company’s account with amounts deposited updating their ERP system for easy reconciliation.”
Best Provider of Short-Term Investments/ Money Market Funds
While the investment manager is rooted in the history of Standard Bank, which was founded in 1862, the current iteration of STANLIB began life in 2002—the amalgamation of seven different asset and investment management holdings of Standard Bank and Liberty Life. STANLIB has boots on the ground in 10 African countries, with over R586 billion in asset under management.
The asset manager offers a range of investment options, including the STANLIB money market fund.
STANLIB’s Cash Management team seeks out products “that could maximize clients’ short-term cash returns and aims to offer liquidity,” says the firm. “Fixed-interest portfolios are made up of varying investments in the bond, money market and other income securities. These portfolios aim to provide interest income over the short- to medium-term.”
Best Bank for Working Capital Optimization
Standard Chartered has been growing extensively in the major markets of the region, and investing heavily in solutions that fit this diverse marketplace. It offers market-specific receivables discounting and supplier finance solutions and is one of the world’s best providers of tailored trade finance solutions—all of which help clients to most effectively optimize liquidity.
In addition, the bank stands our for its ability to design and implement unique solutions for specific corporate problems. As an example, the bank was mandated to set up a multi-market cash management solution to improve efficiency for a mobile infrastructure provider, enabling “automated transaction initiation and information flows through SWIFT, Onsite Cheque Printing and Local Bank Cheque leading to maximization of ROI and ERP investments,” said the bank. The solution provided full visibility of account and transaction initiation across markets, 24/7 centralized check disbursement, increased control of cash disbursement and allowed the company to benefit from optimized yield, via the bank’s liquidity management solution.