Elevating Investments in Africa’s Dynamic Markets.

December 4, 2023

How Bank One can assist investors and partner banks in accessing the global and sub-Saharan African markets for their securities services requirements?
By Khalid Mahamodally, Head of Securities Services and Deputy Head Private Banking

Bank One Private Banking, Securities Services and Wealth management has recently been awarded the title of “Best Custodian Bank in the Indian Ocean” by Their Head of Securities Services and Deputy Head of Private Banking tells us more about how the bank can help investors and partner banks access the global market and protect their assets, including equities, funds and debt in and for sub-Saharan Africa.

The role of custodian banks has evolved significantly over the years, making it clear that we must go far beyond reacting to market and client needs to proactively anticipating the needs of clients and the market at large, whilst driving and igniting change.
Looking closer to home, custodian banks facing African markets have also stepped up to the current realities of doing business in a fast moving multi-jurisdictional and multi-currency landscape, where local banks often face challenges to put in place the institutional network and compliance culture that defines the custody function in the developed world.

Indeed, custodian banks such as Bank One have taken a leadership role as proactive and driving forces spurring market changes, realising that their role and importance in developing the capital market infrastructure in these exciting economies is growing commensurate with the increasing size and complexity of the markets themselves.

Breadth and Depth of custody services

At Bank One, we are proud that our custody services straddle a wide cross-section of clients – be it High-Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), asset managers, pension funds, investment funds, banks and brokers – and address the needs of all types of clients looking for investment solutions. With a firm footing in Mauritius, we have access to a large clientele in the local and expat segments, and in the latter category, South Africa emerges as a significant area of focus due to its large and mobile HNW population. In addition, having the I&M Group as a key shareholder enables us to have access to market data and know-how in the East African markets which is key differentiator for us.
Indeed, our coverage of sub-Saharan Africa largely benefits from our shareholders footprint in the region. I&M’s extensive network equips us with the wherewithal to offer securities services that are customised to the untapped investment potential of this market straddling across different regions, languages, cultures, and currencies. With a wide range of offerings from equities trading, fixed income, and mutual funds to structured products, our experienced team leverages their unique insights to guide clients towards optimal investment decisions that align with the region’s opportunities.

Sophisticated systems and personalised relationships set strong foundations

At this juncture, it is important to emphasise that while our custodial services span the usual range of settlement, safekeeping and reporting functions, it is our sophisticated systems and personalised relationships that allow us to go above and beyond. In terms of capabilities, our custody platform ensures that the client portfolio is updated on a real-time basis.

Transparency is the cornerstone of our custodial services. We take pride in empowering our clients with complete information based on a clear, comprehensive online reporting. This ensures they have full visibility of their assets’ performance and movements, fostering trust and empowering clients to make informed decisions, and boosting their overall financial confidence. To be more precise, our custody reporting provides accurate data as it is integrated with Bloomberg to update market prices and FX rates in real-time thus providing our clients with a fair view of how their investments are faring for a balanced decision. Our custody platform is readily accessible at all times and can be accessed on any device. In terms of record keeping, we offer SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) in CSV format to eliminate duplication of data entry and investment into extra resources for our clients.

When it comes to client centricity, our services are characterised by personalised relationships tailored to individual objectives and sophistication levels. Our team composition has remained consistent, thanks to high staff retention and low attrition. This allows us to know our clients better and provide tailormade services suited to their needs. Apart from our sizeable team in Mauritius, we also have one Relationship Manager based in Kenya. This clearly demonstrates (both internally and externally) that our strategy for sub-Saharan Africa is a long-term one with a clearly defined framework and a strong commitment to achieving our aspiration towards becoming Africa’s preferred gateway.

Unlocking the benefits of Open Architecture

We have an Open Architecture strategy to provide our clients with the widest possible exposure to global markets. What it means is that, unlike other banks, we don’t have inhouse products but instead we choose to work with external asset managers and fund managers based in Europe, Kenya and Mauritius. Embracing an Open Architecture strategy, we respond to today’s challenges with bespoke securities services designed to cover all the activities of the banking value chain. Through our securities solutions and use of reputable global sub-custodians such as Euroclear, we provide access to markets around the world.

We have a direct relationship with Euroclear, acting as our main depositary and clearing agent. Holding ourselves to the highest standards for the safety of our clients’ securities and assets, we ensure that these are recorded off-balance sheet. This makes it incredibly safe to invest through Bank One, as the risk is predicated on Euroclear. This also places us in a unique position vis-à-vis banks in sub-Saharan Africa who want to have access to the global markets.
Asking the right questions to help you safeguard your assets in Africa
Ultimately, a good custodian bank must constantly be on the lookout and ask the right questions on how the market can be pushed to evolve further – be it regulatory, tactical or strategic questions – for its own benefit and that of its clients.

At Bank One, we invite you to ask us what we can offer you as an individual, corporate or financial institution seeking to safeguard your assets in the exciting yet challenging economies of the Hopeful Continent.