Nominee CFO Awards 2015, Greg Davis, CFO Standard Bank


Greg Davis is nominated for the CFO Awards 2015. The factsheet below together with his interview with the panel of judges will be used to determine the CFO Award winners 2015.

Greg Davis
Standard Bank
Chief Financial Officer

Age: 35
CFO Since: October 2013


  • October 2013 - Present: CFO Africa - Standard Bank Group
  • September 2011 - Present: Executive - Standard Bank Group
  • October 2005 - September 2011: Director - Barclays
  • January 2004 - October 2005: Manager - PwC UK
  • September 2000 - January 2004: Auditor - Horwath Clark Whitehill


  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales - Chartered Accountant
  • University of Leicester - Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Hons), Economic and Social History

Additional Information:

Greg Davis, Standard Bank: 4 principles for doing business in Africa
Doing banking and finance in Africa is not a big shift from doing it in the rest of the world, especially with the significant foreign direct investment being channelled into the continent lately. This includes investment from all the globally recognized accountancy bodies and professional services firms. Following key principles is important for a finance team to ensure it delivers success and is a trusted business partner.

As a team covering 19 countries with finance staff situated in all of them, we follow our 4i principles, ensuring we are:

  • in control

  • interacting

  • influencing

  • and getting the most out of our infrastructure

It is important to also recognise that Africa and emerging markets are markets where you need to be able to react quickly to economic, social and political change. So it is important that we can take opportunities and manage risk driving top and bottom line growth. This can be done by focusing on the 4i principles. In this Expert Insight, I am focusing on the first i: being in control. It is easy to lose control in Africa, so I like to break this down in manageable chunks:

On the ground accountability and control - having the right people in the right place is the most important part of being in control. This means having fully empowered Chief Financial Officers in every legal entity with full accountability for the controls in that legal entity.

Reconciliations - ensuring all reconciliations are undertaken and reported. This is important in an environment with millions of transactions a month and multiple product systems.

Substantiation - ensuring all balances are fully substantiated goes further than reconciling.

Self-assurance - ensuring you have the right control framework and the right controls in place means reviewing them regularly and evidencing such. Doing this is often a way of standing back and realising you can improve your processes for controls or efficiencies.

Internal audit - using Internal Audit as a truly value adding function that supports an effective control framework is important. You need to place reliance on your self-assurance and use Internal Audit to drive improvements rather than flying blind until Internal Audit undertakes audits. It is YOUR control environment and not Internal Audit's.

External audit - the quality of external audit firms is strong and the investment in people can be seen across the continent. Building good relationships with these firms in country and globally is important not just for annual audits but process improvements and standardisation to the organisation.

Customer experience - all of this focus on controls and being in control ultimately improves the customer experience and safeguards their important assets. The closer finance is to the ultimate customer the better they can support the organisation.

Being in control is the hygienic part of finance. We just must get it right. This allows us to build firm foundations to deliver on all the 4i's
/article/greg-davis-standard-bank-4-principles - January 12th 2015

In this Expert Insight, I am focusing on the second i: interacting - Are we losing touch with the African businesses?
Virtual interactions - communication is key both with Head Office and between countries. It is important to use every channel available to make this a success. Regular phonecalls, video conferences, whatsapp groups individually and as a team keep us regularly in touch.

Visits - there is no replacement for face to face meetings and the value it brings, the opportunities it unlocks and the risks it closes. Visiting 14 countries in 2014 will only be repeated in 2015. Visiting is not about telling but learning, sharing and supporting as interaction to the customer on the ground is what really matters.

Sharing - interestingly, when I visited Kenya last year a junior member of the team asked me how the team compares to that of a more developed market. Intellectually, due to investment in education and international accounting qualifications there is no difference, but the shortage of depth in teams due to the size of businesses means that it is important to unlock the ability to interact. To put this into context, we are talking about country finance teams of 20 compared a finance teams in South Africa of hundreds. So getting interaction pan Africa, where we have a large team of over 300, is something we as a multinational can and do unlock.

Linking finance with the business - interacting is not just with each other as finance teams, but most importantly with the business to support, challenge and report on their objectives.
/article/greg-davis-standard-bank-interacting - February 9th 2015

Standard Bank
49017 (2012)
Listed: JSE, NSE
Sector: Financial Services

The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited provides banking services in South Africa. The company's Personal & Business Banking segment offers banking and other financial services to individual customers and small- to medium-sized enterprises. It provides various mortgage lending products, including residential accommodation loans primarily to personal market customers; installment sale and finance leases consisting of finance of vehicles for personal market customers, and financing vehicles and equipment in the business market; and credit card facilities to individuals and businesses, and merchant transaction acquiring services. This segment also provides deposits and electronic banking services; transactional, savings, and investment products, as well as debit card facilities; lending products; short-term and long-term insurance products, including homeowners' insurance, funeral cover, household contents and vehicle insurance, and loan protection plans; and financial planning and wealth services. Its Corporate & Investment Banking segment offers corporate and investment banking services to governments, parastatals, larger corporates, financial institutions, and international counterparties. It is involved in the fixed income and currencies, commodities, and equities trading activities; and provision of transactional banking, investor, and trade finance services. This segment also provides investment banking services, such as advisory, debt products, structured finance, structured trade and commodity finance, debt capital markets, and equity capital markets; and invests in real estate, as well as offers real estate finance services. The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited operates through a network of 726 branches and 7,141 ATMs. The company is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited is a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group Limited.

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Additional Information

Standard Bank makes innovation Play
Standard Bank, South Africa's largest retail bank by customer numbers, has launched a dedicated innovation lab called the PlayRoom. The intention is to cement the bank's positioning as a customer-centric and innovative institution. The PlayRoom is a 1927square metre creative hub in Parktown North, Johannesburg, that seeks to unearth disruptive ideas from staff, customers and start-up businesses. - January 29th 2015

Africa: Standard Bank Named Best FX Provider in Africa
Standard Bank Group, Africa's largest lender by assets, has been named Best Foreign Exchange Provider in Africa for a third successive year for the 2015 Global Finance World's Best Foreign Exchange Providers Awards. - January 19th 2015

Standard Bank Group leads on largest Sub-Saharan Africa Sukuk
Standard Bank Group has acted as joint lead manager on the National Treasury of South Africa's debut Sukuk in the international capital markets. The US$500m 5.75-year Sukuk is the largest Sukuk issuance from sub-Saharan Africa and only the third Sukuk to be issued by a non-Islamic country. It follows Sukuk issues by the UK in June this year and Hong Kong earlier this month. - September 23rd 2014

Standard Bank Group sees continued demand for pan-African banking solutions
Standard Bank Group is seeing a continuation of demand for its services from international commodity traders and rapidly expanding regional and local businesses in Africa. This follows the withdrawal of several global lenders from the continent in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The pull-back forced on global banks by the global economic slowdown, the European debt crisis and tougher capital requirements on international banks is occurring at a time when Africa's trade continues to grow across a broad front of geographies and sectors. This issue was unpacked at the 6th annual East Africa Trade and Commodity Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. - May 23rd 2014

Meet up with the nominees and other top CFOs at the CFO Awards 2015

On May 14, 2015 the annual CFO Awards will be held at the beautiful Summer Place in Johannesburg. This prestigious event recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, parastatals and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership. Chaired by Vusi Thembekwayo, over 250 CFOs share knowledge, extend their network and boost business.

CFO South Africa invites you to buy a table at the CFO Awards, attend the CFO Conference, join the panel of judges and become our partner. Places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. For more information or email Jurrien Morsch at [email protected]

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