INTERVIEW What will some of the key focus areas be?
Foreign exchange: In the Western Cape we will be driving our foreign exchange (FX) and international banking capabilities. Standard Bank is relentless in providing support to our businesses with a view to improving liquidity and driving growth across the African continent. Companies active in the international market, be it in trade or the provision of services, may find a Customer Foreign Currency account a useful mechanism for managing the flows of foreign currency receipts and payments. It is suitable for businesses with a high import and export turnover, including large volumes of shipments of relatively small values. The Western Cape presents many international trade and foreign exchange opportunities, which can be offered and facilitated by our FX specialists. They are fully integrated in our Business Banking Business Centres to support our Standard Bank and non-Standard Bank client base.
“OUR RESEARCH INDICATES THAT TWO OUT OF EVERY 10 BUSINESS CLIENTS ARE KEEN TO EXPAND TO THE REST OF AFRICA.” A game changer, in forex capabilities, is Standard Bank’s strategic partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. While Standard Bank already conducts 2.1-million forex trades each year, the bank’s partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China provides a unique ability to deal Renminbi competitively. Resident Africa advisor: Our research indicates that two out of every 10 business clients are keen to expand to the rest of Africa and we have appointed someone with valuable Africa experience to act as a resident advisor to businesses in the province. Our expert will be able to make recommendations on
doing business in any of the 20 African countries in which Standard Bank has a presence. During 2016, in support of our focus on the rest of Africa, we led two successful trade delegations – one to East Africa and one to West Africa. This was a first for us and the initiative was very well received. Commercial property finance: Another key focus is commercial property finance. I have been actively involved in this area over the past few years and it has been a successful market for the bank, but there are additional opportunities to explore in the Western Cape. A business’s premises are integral to their trading operation and it is important that businesses secure tenure as well as create equity in their investment. Standard Bank understands the importance of supporting its customers in all aspects of their business growth, including where customers are diversifying from their main business interests to invest in commercial rental properties. The Western Cape commercial property finance market has continued to show strong growth, outperforming many of its peers in the country, which further supports the bank’s focus on the industry going forward. Have the needs of and demands from your key business clients changed in the past few years or do the challenges they experience essentially remain the same?
Economic growth has been muted and so the landscape has definitely changed. For this
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017