Meet Moving into Africa Award winner Arno Daehnke, Standard Bank FD

Arno Daehnke is excited by the innovation that the Standard Bank is seeing on the continent.

At the CFO Awards on 15 May 2019, Standard Bank financial director Arno Daehnke was awarded the Moving into Africa Award, which was coincidentally sponsored by Standard Bank. 

The award was handed to him by colleague Isaac Malevu, the CFO of Client Coverage at Standard Bank. 

Upon accepting the award, Arno said that the commercial bank’s commitment to the African continent is strengthened. 

“This year I will be visiting 20 Africa regions. For me, it is energising to see what is happening north of Limpopo and the innovation we are seeing in the content. We are excited about this at Standard Bank.”

In a follow-up interview, Arno said that Standard Bank’s purpose is to drive Africa’s growth. At the heart of its strategy, it is a financial services organisation, in, for, and across Africa. But he adds that Standard Bank also recognises that it is more than this, more than only a bank, and more than only rewarding its shareholders. The bank’s role, he says, is greater than simply the products and services it provides. Its long-term profitability depends on the stability, well-being and growth of its continent. 

“So we must be a catalyst for change in Africa, and our success is integral to that change,” Arno said. “The reason we exist is to use the fundamental power of financial services to make a better life for fellow Africans. Because Africa’s growth is so integral to our purpose, winning this award feels extra special.” 

“As a finance team at Standard Bank we have been working hard to ensure that we orientate our organisation to think about our five value drivers in everything we do,” Arno added, referring to client focus, employee engagement, risk and conduct, financial outcome and see impact as the five value drivers.

Also read: The financial don't come first, says Standard Bank FD Arno Daehnke

However, he acknowledges that this is not just about the financial outcome. 

“Obviously, value creation for our shareholders is an important part of our strategy and generating earnings allows us to invest capital to support our clients’ needs. But we know that financial outcomes are directly driven by and dependent on client satisfaction, employee engagement and risk and conduct. In everything we do, we focus on creating shared value. By far the most significant way in which the group creates social, economic and environmental value is in the ordinary course of our business as we help our clients to invest in their skills, acquire valuable and life-enhancing assets, grow their savings and wealth, manage their risks, expand their businesses, create economic and social infrastructure, and trade in Africa and throughout the world.” 

Looking ahead, Arno says that Africa’s path is certainly not easy, and nor is Standard Bank’s, “especially in light of the major shifts happening around us - a volatile global economy and the emergence of new technologies and competitors.” 

“We have a strong and diversified base from which to meet these challenges and I have enormous trust in our teams at Standard Bank who continue to deliver,” he added. 

In conclusion, he said:

“Thank you to the CFO awards for validating our relentless focus on driving Africa’s growth. This award is superb recognition of all the work our teams do every day to help our business move forward.”

Before taking on the role of group financial director at Standard Bank, Arno Daehnke headed up the banking group’s treasury and capital management function. He has extensive experience in key financial aspects such as financial planning under varying macroeconomic scenarios, managing a complex banking group balance sheet in volatile financial markets and a deep understanding of both local and international bank regulatory frameworks.

Prior to joining Standard Bank, Arno was one of South Africa’s leading seismologists, using mathematical models to interrogate how shocks move through rocks. 

Read more: Seismologist turned finance boss: a chat with Standard Bank FD