Standard Bank

Standard Bank offers a range of banking and related financial services.


25 September 2016

Edcon loses the battle; gets taken over

Struggling South African clothes retailer Edcon has been taken over by banks and bondholders, including Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group and FirstRand. Furthermore, creditors in Edcon have agreed to substitute R21 billion in debt for equity control of the retailer. The retailer has been struggling with an over-leveraged capital structure for years. Having been taken private in a R25-billion buyout by Bain almost a decade ago, Edcon has been unable to to grow at a fast enough rate to pay down debt.

16 September 2016

Grandeur and great conversations during CFO Awards judges dinner

Conversation flowed and sumptuous food was enjoyed during a inspirational get-together of the panel of judges for the 2017 CFO Awards. One of the highlights of the evening was the judging panel welcoming Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, in their midst. Wiseman is South Africa's first black Chartered Accountant and an incredibly experienced boardroom expert. CFO SA Graham Fehrsen thanked him for adding even more gravitas and quality to the - already impressive - judging panel.

15 September 2016

Disrupt, or be disrupted - CFOs discuss digital transformation

“By show of hands, how many people in the room have begun a digital transformation project in the last 12 months?” CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen asked the crowd during his welcoming at the first Johannesburg breakfast event hosted by CFO South Africa on 15 September 2016. Virtually every attendant raised their hands. “So everybody is here to discover why it is not working or how to improve the ROI,” he joked to appreciative chuckles.

30 August 2016

Christine Ramon special guest at Digital Transformation CFO Breakfast, 15 September 2016

Clever implementation of modern technology can bring massive benefits to companies and is often the difference between bust or boom. During CFO South Africa’s annual Digital Transformation Breakfast on 15 September 2016 (7h00) we tap into the incredible experience of CFOs Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti) and Wayne Koonin (Omnia) to explore the risks and opportunities a tech savvy finance team can create.

26 July 2016

Essential learning as CFO Colin Brown shares how critical treasury is to Super Group

Through some incredible tech-enabled financial discipline, CFO Colin Brown helped saving Super Group from the abyss, setting the South African flagship firm on course again for massive expansion. Since then successes have been commonplace, with Colin (pictured with Discovery's Terrence Taylor) winning no less than three CFO Awards and the group regularly reporting spectacular growth. On 21 July 2016, at the CFO event on M&A, Colin provided some candid insight and valuable tips during a round table discussion with a select group of CFOs.

13 July 2016

Are you future ready? Great insights at CFO breakfast in Cape Town

To be ready for the future, CFOs need to embrace imagination, make bold choices and be intimately connected to customers and employees. Those were some of the main takeaways at a lively CFO breakfast debate in Cape Town's Westin Hotel on Tuesday 12 July 2016. Preceded by a thought-provoking and often humorous presentation by futurist Morne Mostert, the high-level intimate gathering of about 35 people was treated to insights by Woolworths CFO Reeza Isaacs (3rd photo) and retired Remgro CFO Leon Crouse (bottom photo), who played a pivotal role in the success story of Vodacom.

07 July 2016

Meet Simon Ridley (Standard Bank), recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the CFO Awards 2016

CFO South Africa chose to honour Simon Ridley (pictured), recently retired FD of Standard Bank and CFO of the Year 2014, as well as esteemed member of this year’s judging panel, by presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s CFO Awards. Unfortunately, Simon was unable to accept the award in person and spend the evening celebrating with his peers, as he was touring Namibia on a motorbike at the time of the event. Simon’s colleague, Luvuyo Masinda, CFO Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), accepted the award on his behalf. Masinda said:

13 May 2016

CFOs must be ready for change - keynote Deon Viljoen, Acting CEO of Alexander Forbes, at 2016 CFO Awards

Deon Viljoen, Acting CEO of Alexander Forbes, won the CFO of the Year Award at the CFO Awards 2015. This year, Deon presented a keynote speech, which he began by thanking the CFO team and the CFO community of South Africa. After congratulating this year’s nominees and winners, Deon spoke about change: “No matter what industry you are in, you will be faced with these challenges. The trick is to be aware of it and get out of the trenches every now and then to look, because the world is changing around you.”

12 May 2016

Woolworths CFO Reeza Isaacs named CFO of the Year 2016

Reeza Isaacs, group finance director of retailer Woolworths Holdings, has been named South Africa’s CFO of the Year at the 2016 CFO Awards. The award was announced on Thursday 12 May 2016 at the end of an inspirational conference and gala event at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Dumisani Dlamini (National Arts Council) was named Young CFO of the Year and Public CFO of the Year, while Osman Arbee (Imperial) and Walter Leonhardt (ABI) also took home two awards each.

06 May 2016

Celebrating SA's finance leaders - countdown to 3rd CFO Awards

It is time for tuxedos. It is time for cocktail dresses. It is time to celebrate South Africa's finance leaders during the 3rd annual CFO Awards at the marvelous Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. On Thursday 12 May 2016 CFO South Africa will host a spectacular gala dinner, preceded by a high-level conference for the country's best finance directors and chief financial officers. At the end of the evening one of 25 nominees will be crowned CFO of the Year.

01 April 2016

Top CFOs reveal their M&A dreams & nightmares - join us on 6 April 2016

Oceana CFO Imraan Soomra played a huge role in the acquisition of Daybrook Fisheries in New Orleans, growing the market cap of the Cape Town-based fishing firm with about 50%. DigiCore CFO Cobus Grove was instrumental in saving the vehicle-tracking company from demise and selling it to the US firm Novatel Wireless. Deon Fredericks rose through the ranks at Telkom, to eventually take over the CFO job in the most difficult of times and guiding the acquisition of Business Connexion through tricky turns. All the while, these three finance bosses also still had a normal business to run...

17 March 2016

Local talent in the spotlight at smashing CFO event 'Moving into Africa'

Innovative ways to identify and develop top local talent in African countries were the hottest topic of conversation during an extremely insightful CFO South Africa event about Moving into (the rest of) Africa, hosted by Standard Bank at its impressive Rosebank premises on 16 March 2016. Vibrant CFO panel discussions alternated with insights from experts from Thomson Reuters and Spencer Stuart, while attending CFOs also had the chance to get involved.

14 March 2016

Give African executives opportunity to develop: Pratik Chandaria (Africa Advisory Group)

Contrary to perceptions, there is a strong potential pool of great local business leaders in Africa," says Pratik Chandaria of Africa Advisory Group, a company specialising in recruiting executives and developing the next generation of leadership for Africa. "The strength of the leadership pool is defined by the potential you see in it. This means you have to be willing to give leadership talent the opportunity to develop; particularly in Africa where leadership skill sets are still developing. I rank the pool highly in terms of potential."

09 March 2016

How to succeed in Africa: 5 questions for Kamal Patel (Thomson Reuters)

Local talent, knowledge and understanding of the local context is crucial for businesses to be successful in African countries north of South Africa, says Kamal Patel, Head of Corporates & Partnerships at Thomson Reuters. Kamal is one of the exciting speakers lined up for our CFO event Moving into Africa on Wednesday 16 March 2016. To get to know him we contacted him - during a business trip in Ethiopia! - and asked him five questions.

07 March 2016

Join our Moving into Africa event about knowledge & talent on 16 March

People and knowledge are at the centre of attention during this year’s CFO event Moving into Africa, on Wednesday 16 March at the Standard Bank office in Rosebank on 35 Baker Street. CFOs who will their experiences on the continent will include Alexander Visser (Philips Africa), Mohammed Abdool-Samad (Illovo) and Greg Davis (Standard Bank Africa). Experts from knowledge company Thomson Reuters and executive recruiter Spencer Stuart are also at hand to provide insight.

26 February 2016

FinTech Africa event: fascinating insights in #blockchain at Barclays Rise

A Dutch “prophet of the future", a forward-thinking Barclays boss and a group of amazing South African FinTech pioneers engaged in some intriguing discussions and short presentations during FinTech Africa’s Blockchain event in Cape Town on 25 February 2016. The gathering of around 80 FinTech professionals and enthusiasts was hosted at the marvelous Rise innovation hub of Barclays Africa at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock.

28 January 2016

Judges 2016 CFO Awards swap notes during exclusive dinner

The mood was warm and jovial during an exclusive dinner for the panel of judges of the 2016 CFO Awardsand winners of last year's awards, hosted by CFO South Africa at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank on 27 January 2016. The gathering allowed the judges to prepare for the judging process for this year's prestigious awards, but - most of all - gave them an opportunity to catch up and network. The dinner brought together the CFOs of the Year from 2014 and 2015, Simon Ridley (Standard Bank) and Deon Viljoen (Alexander Forbes), and a host of other business leaders.

20 January 2016

Spectacular line-up of speakers at Finance Indaba Africa 2016

If you are a finance professional and you are wondering if there are any dates in your calendar that you should keep open, wonder no longer. The Finance Indaba Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre - on 13 and 14 October 2016 - will be the pivotal gathering for number crunchers, money wizards and finance leaders. Those dates might be far away still, but behind the scenes CFO South Africa is putting together a fantastic program - with a line-up of speakers that should entice any accountant to head over to Sandton.

24 November 2015

David Hodnett, with Barclays Africa to 'fully international, fully regional and fully local'

As deputy chief executive officer and finance director, David Hodnett is the right hand of CEO Maria Ramos at Barclays Africa. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa, he speaks about his love for detail, his relationship with Ramos and the creation of Barclays. He also reveals how he very deliberately chose to plot his career path via risk management roles and why he sees the way he deals with people as a reason for his success. “I believe in accountability and giving people space to operate.”

23 November 2015

Funding and regulation hindering startup success South Africa

Industry experts agree that South African startups have what it takes to succeed on the global stage, but structural issues are hindering development. While executives from South Africa’s leading enterprise development incubators are bullish about the progress being made and about the standard of South African startups, they are also concerned about government regulation, lack of funding direction and market access and inequitable distribution.*

15 October 2015

Fintechs don't realise own arrogance, says Paul Steenkamp (Standard Bank)

"Banks need to become less self-obsessed and more aware that all the decisions they make have to have customers at the centre," says Paul Steenkamp, Head: Innovation Capability at the Standard Bank Group. Paul was on the panel during the successful 2nd FinTech Africa event in Johannesburg. In the lead up to our 3rd event in Cape Town on 20 OctoberEbrahim Moolla spoke to him about the panic banks felt about FinTech and the way they are starting to embrace the revolution now. "One plus one equals three. Banks and FinTech companies can achieve a lot more by working together."

07 October 2015

CFO South Africa now on Facebook

While our presence on LinkedIn and Twitter is crucial as ever, we have recently decided to make the plunge on Facebook as well. Many, and I am one of them, are active on Facebook, but regard it as a bit of a personal space, away from work. An increasing amount of people around the world, however, use the popular social media platform as their one-stop-shop for everything current and exciting. If you're one of those, you better head over and 'like' CFO South Africa.

22 September 2015

CFOs are myth busters, says retiring Standard Bank CFO Simon Ridley

“As CFOs we need to be trusted advisors, rather than critics,” says Simon Ridley, CFO at the Standard Bank Group and last year’s CFO of the Year. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa, Ridley talks about the myth busting responsibility of CFOs and CAs, the charm of over-disclosing, the reason everybody at the bank knows his mother and about being the perfect business partner: “You can’t just throw stones at a problem.”

12 August 2015

Meet Colin Brown (Super Group), winner Finance & Technology Award 2015

I am not telling any secrets when I say that Colin Brown was one of the hot favourites for the CFO of the Year Award 2015. After scooping up two major awards during the first CFO Awards in 2014 - Strategy Execution and Digital Transformation - the Super Group story had only gotten better and Brown is considered one of the key engineers of the remarkable turnaround and renewed ascend of the South African firm. However, the panel of judges felt that Deon Viljoen's remarkable work at Alexander Forbes deserved the recognition and Brown was pipped to the post.

04 August 2015

Denel CFO Fikile Mhlontlo: from bailouts to superiority

Denel CFO Fikile Mhlontlo has been instrumental in cost cutting, efficiency drives and improving financial ratios. Together with the other executives he has changed the state-owned aerospace and defence technology conglomerate from a loss-making public enterprise into a successful, profit-making company with an increasingly international focus. Denel’s international image is now superior, says Mhlontlo. “The strategy of decentralisation and partnering has worked wonders.”

29 July 2015

FinTech Africa event: as it happened (with all the tweets!)

Disruption, the value of failure, attitude, innovation and collaboration were some of the keywords during a riveting FinTech Africa event at GIBS Business School in Johannesburg on Tuesday 28 July 2015. With lifehacker Martijn Aslander as keynote speaker, FinTech guru Nicole Anderson and Wizzit CEO Brian Richardson as presenters and a bunch of the most exciting FinTech experts on a lively panel, the energy in the room was palpable. With well over 100 people from the FinTech ecosystem attending the event, we're already looking forward to putting together the next one.

21 July 2015

Meet Imraan Soomra (Oceana), winner Transformation & Empowerment Award 2015

Just a few days after this year's CFO Awards, Oceana Group announced a game-changing R4.6 billion purchase of the American fish-meal and -oil specialist Daybrook Fisheries. In his interview with the panel of judges for the awards, CFO Imraan Soomra had already explained that the traditionally conservative fishing company (already Africa's biggest) was planning to use its debt-less and asset-rich position to become a serious player on the global market. After the acquisition of the Louisiana-based Daybrook, Oceana is now the sixth-biggest fishing company in the world.

12 June 2015

Dining with Accenture's global CFO expert David Axson

An impressive selection of South African CFOs came together in the evening of Thursday 11 June 2015 to discuss volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) with David Axson, the global CFO Strategies expert of management consulting firm Accenture. During a copious dinner at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, Axson shared his vision, insight and inspiration with finance leaders of companies like Allianz, Standard Bank, Business Connexion, Neotel, Primedia, Barclays Africa and Nedbank.

20 May 2015

Editorial: young CFO award winners & an endorsement by Prof. King

Lets first get the bad news out of the way. After the formidable Aarti Takoordeen won the Young CFO of the Year Award in 2014, there were exactly zero female award winners last Thursday, It was disappointing, but I know that the members of the panel of judges have genuinely voted for their favourite candidates per category so there's nothing that we can do about that now. With CFOs like Raisibe Morathi (Nedbank), Ronel van Dijk (Spur Group), Megan Pydigadu (MiX Telematics) and Rofhiwa Irene Singo (Department of Mineral Resources) there were definitely some strong female contenders. I am not one for militant feminism or paragraphs begrudging glass ceilings, but I surely hope the scales will tip in 2016.

14 May 2015

Alexander Forbes CFO Deon Viljoen named CFO of the Year 2015

Deon Viljoen, Chief Financial Officer at South Africa’s largest retirement fund administrator Alexander Forbes, has been named South Africa’s CFO of the Year 2015. The award was presented on Thursday 14 May 2015 at the end of an inspirational conference and gala event at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Brett Tromp (Discovery Health) was named Young CFO of the Year, while Anoj Singh (Transnet) retained his title as Public CFO of the Year.

15 April 2015

Interviews with nominated CFOs concluded, Awards judges to decide

All 32 CFOs that are nominated for the CFO Awards 2015 have now been interviewed by a representation of the panel of judges. For me, it has been a massive honour and learning opportunity to be part of the process, that started mid-February. Packs with all the interviews and profiles highlighting the performance of the nominated CFOs will soon be sent to the esteemed panel of judges, which will decide on the winners for the 10 categories using a nifty online voting system.

25 March 2015

Editorial: South African CFOs should drop the arrogance in 'Africa'

As an aside during our successful Moving into Africa event in the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Sean Bennett, Head of UBS South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa, remarked that South Africans are not always welcomed with open arms in the rest of the continent. We are often guilty of talking about 'Africa' as if South Africa is not part of the continent, we are often guilty of arrogantly viewing the swath of land north of the Limpopo as largely undeveloped and we are often wrongly assuming that we have to import expats because of the purported lack of local talent.

20 March 2015

Great insight into African tax by KPMG's top experts

Never speak to the tax authority in an African country without an advisor present, make better use of tax incentives and familiarise yourself with the local tax law and the people who enforce it. Those were some of the lessons during the extremely insightful Master Class at Thursday’s Moving into Africa event in the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton. The CFOs present received a comprehensive overview of African tax affairs by some of the brightest tax minds on the continent, provided by KPMG.

13 March 2015

Tax strategies in the spotlight at Moving into Africa event - register now!

While South African CFOs are keen to help their businesses explore options in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries, the prospect of governance and tax issues still fills many with trepidation. During our Moving into Africa event on Thursday 19 March in Johannesburg a impressive team of African tax specialists will ease your mind and talk about the latest developments. It is not too late yet to REGISTER for the event. This is the CFO event you can’t afford to miss!

06 March 2015

Panel of judges for CFO Awards 2015 meet at JSE Limited

One of the key success factors behind the annual CFO Awards is the strong composition of the panel of judges. On 17 February 2015 the panel for the 2015 awards met in a boardroom of the JSE Limited to discuss this year’s process and procedures. “We are truly honoured to have a group of such respected leaders on the panel to decide who are the best CFOs in South Africa at the moment,” said CFO South Africa CEO Melle Eijckelhoff, who convened the meeting.

03 March 2015

Casper Troskie, Liberty: communication is key for modern CFO

“It is very important to understand how investors see the business, because if you don’t listen to them, you might miss important trends,” says Casper Troskie, Financial Director at financial services company Liberty. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa Troskie shares valuable advice for ambitious Chartered Accountants, recalls his proudest moments and elaborates on the culture change that Liberty has embarked on. “It has been a great journey, but I see the task only as a third of the way done.”

18 February 2015

CFOs shaken out of comfort zone during Get Smart event

CFOs were rattled out of their comfort zone yesterday during our Get Smart in 2015 event, hosted at the JSE Limited in Sandton, Johannesburg. In an extremely well-received key note speech, Martijn Aslander - from The Netherlands - told finance leaders they need to adapt or risk becoming obsolete. He talked the audience through a number of exciting innovations and disruptive developments that will change the world within the next 10 years. “In the future it is no longer about what you own or what you do, but it is about your attitude and your ability to adapt.”

28 January 2015

Editorial: preparing for disruption & PPC CFO Ramano stays put

We are living in the age of disruption and CFOs have the responsibility to see what’s coming and anticipate the new business world order. During our Get Smart in 2015 events in Johannesburg (17 February) and Cape Town (19 February) we will chat about the challenges that come with change, but speakers like ‘lifehacker’ Martijn Aslander will also show the CFOs present that the recent digital revolution provides opportunities galore.

30 December 2014

CFOs of Woolworths, Denel and UIF among nominees for CFO Awards 2015

As 2014 draws to an end, more and more nominees for the CFO Awards 2015 are revealed. Supermarkets and retailers are well represented with Mark Godfrey (Group Financial Director at SPAR), Reeza Isaacs (Group Finance Director at Woolworths) and Mr Price Group's CFO Mark Blair already among the nominees. Ronel van Dijk, CFO at Spur Group, has also been short-listed. We recently spoke to Van Dijk about Spur's expansion plans and her role in the continuous growth of the business.

03 October 2014

Andrew Hannington, CEO Grant Thornton: Making a mark after the merger

The merger of two proud audit and advisory firms is not an easy process, but Grant Thornton Johannesburg CEO Andrew Hannington feels his company is in a strong position to face the competition. “We still have two buildings but we have moved half of our people across to promote integration. We are looking at new premises so we can all be under one roof. It hasn't been easy, but tax and audit departments are already working very well together.”

23 September 2014

CFO of the Week: Rofhiwa Irene Singo: I am known as CFO Clean Audit

Popularly referred to as “CFO Clean Audit”, Rofhiwa Irene Singo leads the Finance Department at the Department of Mineral Resources, and has a remarkable story of perseverance to tell. Irene, as she prefers to be called, has been instrumental in turning around the failing financial reporting at three public institutions and prides herself in having achieved these under very difficult conditions. “I always knew that I could do it, hard and smart working paid the price. The name CFO Clean Audit resonates well with me and I like it,” she says.

17 September 2014

Microsoft seeks conversation with CFOs to "see magic happen"

"As a technology company, we don’t have enough conversations with the CFO,” confessed Rory Headon-Weeks. During CFO South Africa’s successful Digital Transformation event on Thursday 11 September, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Microsoft South Africa gave the CFOs present some fascinating insights in the ways of the future. And he invited finance leaders to visit the Microsoft Technology Centre in Johannesburg and “see magic happen”.

16 September 2014

CFO of the Week: Jurgens Myburgh, new CFO at Datatec: "I strive to be multidimensional"

“I strive to be a multidimensional CFO,” says Jurgens Myburgh, who recently swapped an impressive career in Corporate Finance at Standard Bank for a role as CFO at information technology group Datatec. In anticipation of learning from more experienced peers, Myburgh has joined CFO South Africa as a platinum member. “It will be great to network with like-minded people, bounce ideas off experienced individuals, gather intelligence on best practice and stay up to date. You can’t afford to operate in a silo.”

11 September 2014

Fascinating insights at Digital Transformation event

Digital transformation… For some CFOs and FDs the term equals headaches, internal resistance or pricey solutions. But other Chief Financial Officers have found out that the better use of modern IT solutions has equipped them to fulfil their role as true partner to the CEO. During a successful and well-attended event in the Tintswalo at Waterfall hotel in Johannesburg on Thursday 11 September, finance leaders had the opportunity to chat about the topic with peers and learn from market leaders.

10 July 2014

Peter Goss (SizweNtsalubaGobodo) gives CFOs insight in fraud risks

A fascinating talk on the governance of fraud risks was one of the highlights of a very successful CFO South Africa event around Corporate Growth on 10 July 2014 in the immaculate Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg. It was Peter Goss, Head of Forensics at audit and advisory firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG), who captivated CFOs and finance leaders with a master class on the detection, prevention and governance of corruption and fraud.

17 June 2014

Karl Kumbier, CEO Mercantile Bank: Weight behind entrepreneurs

“The difference between a good and a great CFO is that the latter assists his CEO pro-actively and spends a lot of time in the business,” says Karl Kumbier, Chief Executive Officer of Mercantile Bank. In a candid interview with CFO South Africa he talks about his impressive career in the banking industry and the way his bank can help spur on economic development and employment by providing financial solutions for entrepreneurs.

14 March 2014

South African top CFOs share their thoughts at CFO SA dinner

An impressive group of prominent South African CFOs discussed topics ranging from personal branding and ethics to shared services and cloud solutions during an exclusive dinner on13 March 2014 in the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg. “In our daily jobs we get mostly vertically involved in our organisations. It’s great to break out of that every once in and a while and discuss topics laterally with our peers,” said Standard Bank Group CFO Simon Ridley at the end of the IBM-sponsored event.

12 March 2014

Jury members CFO Awards interview Simon Ridley, FD at the Standard Bank Group

Yet another top CFO was interviewed on Wednesday as part of the jury process for the 2014 CFO Awards. Simon Ridley, Financial Director at the Standard Bank Group, has been a CFO for a quarter of a century - mainly with Absa and Standard Bank. He was quizzed about his challenges and successes by two jury members, both leading figures in the South African business world in their own right: CEO Victor Sekese of fast-growing accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo and Rob Otty, Managing Director of Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa - Africa Law Firm of the Year 2012.

09 October 2013

Victor Sekese, CEO of SizweNtsalubaGobodo: Never underestimate people

Anybody who has spent more than half a minute in the company of Victor Sekese, can testify that the CEO of SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) is one of the most passionate business leaders in South Africa. On Thursday 3 October 2013 he delivered a powerful presentation on corporate growth, as part of the 5th CFO South Africa event at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg. He enthralled everyone with his insight, intelligence and sense of humour - leaving his audience inspired and optimistic about doing business in this country.

30 July 2013

Jonathan Lang, Head Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group: The challenges of investing in Africa

“It is amazing how many South African and foreign companies are entering the rest of Africa at the moment, some without taking legal advice prior to, or after, their arrival. Some investors invest millions, buying a diamond mine in the DRC for example, but are unfortunately often then hit with unforeseen problems and need to come to us for legal help ,” says Jonathan Lang, head of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group (BGAG), one of the leading law firms in South Africa. “You have to be careful when doing business in Africa as it runs on a timeframe, language and way of its own and it makes all the difference to have expert legal advice at the outset, as litigating in the courts of some African countries is very challenging.

25 June 2013

Eric van Marle, Vice President Transparent: South African CFOs are the drivers of great change

“You don’t want to know how many CFOs and banks we have helped with matchmaking,” says Eric van Marle. A networker at heart, Transparent’s Vice President likes to bring together business people who can help each other forward – something that aligns neatly with CFO South Africa’s approach. Van Marle is excited about Transparent’s presence in the South African market and he is not planning to curb his enthusiasm. “This market is very hot at the moment. South Africa has clearly made great leaps in economic development and everyone’s focussing on keeping that trend going. That’s where we can help.”

13 April 2012

David Ngobeni - CFO Shanduka: `Pulling in a Chinese shareholder`

“South Africa would be better off facing the challenges of the current economic situation with greater productivity and lesser restrictions.” David Ngobeni, CFO of an investment holding company, Shanduka Group, has a very clear vision on how laws in South Africa limit the country in its development. Supported by his great negotiation skills he hopes to bring his company to the top. After just (1,5) years as CFO, he seems to be heading that way steadily.

13 December 2011

Bafokeng reaps rewards of persistence in R5.4bn deal

One of the measures of a good business book is how much you remember years after reading it. By that measure, Mark McCormack book on Negotiating rates highly. The founder of the world’s dominant sports agency IMG shared many of his experiences, all of which led to the conclusion that the best deal was one where everyone walks away with a smile on their faces. Never screw over the other side, he advised. It will always come back to bite you. The best deals are those when everyone feels they have given up a little more than they were able to take.

01 December 2011

Lawrence Weitzman - CFO Business Connexion: `Today's CFO is much more of a business partner than the gate keeper`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. This time we get to talk to Lawrence Weitzman, CFO of Business Connexion, Africa’s leading ICT Solutions provider. Business Connexion is a JSE-listed company employing about 6500 people. Lawrence is responsible for the finance and commercial departments, staffing about 200 people. BCX will have revenue of R6bn in 2012 at a 6% operating margin.

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Company profile

Standard Bank Group is the largest African banking group by assets, with a market cap of approximately R289 billion (USD20 billion), offering a range of banking and related financial services across sub-Saharan Africa.

Our strategy is to be an African focused, client-centred, digitally enabled universal financial services organisation, which drives Africa’s growth and creates value for all our stakeholders. Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. This is our central organising principle in building a digitally-enabled universal financial services organisation. It aligns our efforts to change the way we do things, develop our people and shift our culture, and ultimately create a sustainable competitive advantage in a changing industry.

We have a 156-year history in South Africa, and started building a franchise in sub-Saharan Africa almost 30 years ago. We have an on-the-ground presence in 20 countries on the African continent, and solid local knowledge required to operate a successful business in Africa.

Our presence in and connection with, global financial centres enables us to facilitate investment and development flows in Africa, and access to international capital to facilitate growth, diversification and development in Africa. We also have a strategic partnership with the largest bank in the world, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), who is a 20% shareholder in the group.

The long-term foreign currency ratings for The Standard Bank of South Africa, the single largest operating entity within the Standard Bank Group, are: Fitch Ratings BB+ (stable) and Moody’s Baa3 (Rating under review). Click here to read more on credit ratings. The group has been listed on the JSE since 1970, with share code SBK, and the Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB.

We subscribe to the Code of Banking Practice, a set of principles governing banking in South Africa and ensuring the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and fairness.

Phone: 0860 123 000