Standard Bank’s result rebound a result of client franchise growth, says Arno Daehnke

The CFO explains that the group’s efforts to grow its client base have proven fruitful, and continue.

Standard Bank has seen a 57 percent rebound in its headline earnings for the 2021 financial year, driven by a strong recovery in client activity, an improvement in client balance sheets and growth in its underlying franchise. “I am very pleased by the strong growth in our client franchise, which has delivered record levels of revenue in the second half of 2021,” chief finance and value management officer Arno Daehnke says.

He explains that the bank’s number of active clients in the consumer and high net worth segment grew by eight percent to 15.7 million, while its business and commercial segment grew by five percent to 761,000 clients. “In our corporate and investment banking segment we added new clients to our already enviable list of local and global corporates and institutions.”

Arno adds that the growth is all due to Standard Bank’s quick-thinking and innovation during 2021. “From a market share perspective, we took advantage of our strengths and grew our leading market shares in mortgages and cards in South Africa. We also retained our leading position in deposits in the country, as well as our dominant positions in FX and custody across most of our presence countries and in South Africa, ranking number one in ZAR debt issuance.”

He says that the bank continued to build its Sustainable Finance franchise, structuring a number of market-firsts, including Africa’s first sustainability-linked bond.

Standard Bank’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as the bank won a wide range of awards across the countries and business areas it operates in, including the Raging Bull award for best offshore manager, the EMEA Finance award for best African investment bank, the Efma award for best SME bank in South Africa, and the Brand Finance award for most valuable bank brand in Africa.

“We are the third largest asset manager on the continent and remain the leading pension fund provider in Nigeria,” Arno brags. “This range is testament to the breadth and depth of excellence that makes Standard Bank Group the most valuable bank brand in Africa.”

However, he adds that the work is not yet done and that the bank has earmarked three focus areas for 2022, including making progress on delivery against its 2025 targets, integrating Liberty, and focusing on leverage and capital optimisation to drive returns. “They are all equally important and equally difficult to get right. The Liberty integration will take a lot of focus and attention in 2022 and we are delighted that David Munro has agreed to take on this responsibility for the group.”

Arno says he is delighted that David’s successor as CEO of Liberty is Yuresh Maharaj, who was previously the CFO at Liberty. “Our finance community in the group is so proud of him and his success.”

He explains that Standard Bank sees many “excellent new growth opportunities” as it evolves to become a “future-ready” platform organisation.

Read more: Arno Daehnke reveals the new future-ready Standard Bank

“We plan to grow our revenues beyond traditional financial services through our platform offerings, like our existing airtime, Lotto and pre-paid electricity sales, and we see many other opportunities of this kind," Arno says, adding that the bank also sees growth opportunities to onboard new customers through its easy digital channels, like MyMo in South Africa, and Unayo in some African countries. “Our partnership strategy also delivers new growth opportunities by giving us access to increased points and new pools of customers.”

And finally, the bank aims to take advantage of the rapid growth in sustainable finance markets in its corporate and investment banking division.