JPMorgan’s Expansion Into Africa Faces Setback From Regulators

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

U.S. investment, banking and asset management firm JPMorgan, which has offices in Nigeria and South Africa, says it is has been denied operating license in some African countries in the last two years but it would get around these obstacles using other ways, Bloomberg reported.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said the bank’s effort to enter the Kenyan and Ghanaian markets has faced some setback after regulators in these countries refused them entry.

Last November, JPMorgan said it was interested in establishing an office in Kenya as part of its plan to expand into the continent.

“We would want a representative office in East Africa but it depends on the regulatory environment,” Marc Hussey, joint senior country officer for sub-Saharan Africa, told Bloomberg a year ago.

The American investment bank managed the Kenyan government’s debut $2 billion bonds and along with Citigroup. It is also financing planes for Kenya Airways.

Its entry into Kenya has been pending from as far back as 2012, when the Central Bank of Kenya indicated in an annual report that it had granted the US bank an approval-in-principle and that it was in the process of final authorization, Daily Nation reported.

It has more than 150 staff in South Africa, Bloomberg reported.

Dimon, who said the New York-based lender would get around these obstacles by banking multinational companies and the biggest institutions in those markets.

“We’re not doing retail,” he said. “We’re not doing stuff like that. So I would say it’s rather low risk. We’re going to do a bunch of things and serve the clients who already want us to be there.”

JPMorgan’s African operations date back more than 100 years.