Citigroup, Barclays Target African Millionaires For Wealth Management

Citigroup, Barclays Target African Millionaires For Wealth Management

Africans with at least $1 million grew by almost 10 percent to 140,000 in 2012 – the fastest rate increase outside North America – and banks doing business in Africa want to manage their money, according to a Bloomberg report.

Barclays Plc (BARC) is joining Citigroup Inc. Inc. (C:US) and UBS AG (UBSN) in targeting millionaire clients in Africa, the report said.

Nigerian Aliko Dangote, who became Africa’s richest man partly by selling cement, is worth an estimated $21.3 billion – more than the $18 billion of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Bloomberg reports. 

London-based Barclays will hold a 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa Group Ltd., and hopes to build on experience managing wealth in South Africa after buying eight African operations previously run by its parent. That expansion depends on regulators in countries including Kenya, Ghana and Mauritius, said CEO Maria Ramos.

About 42 percent of African and the Middle Eastern millionaires are prioritizing wealth accumulation – a higher proportion than in North America, Europe or Asia – according to a report published by Cap Gemini SA (CAP) and Royal Bank of Canada.

Countries such as Nigeria and Ghana grew at more than 5 percent last year, the report said. Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow by 5.9 percent in 2014, up from 5.1 percent this year, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund said.

“It’s a great time for private banking, wealth management and asset management in Africa,” said Mark Mobius, who oversees $53 billion as executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group.

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Zurich-based UBS, the world’s biggest wealth manager, said in May it will expand operations in Africa as economic growth boosts demand. Industries contributing most to wealth creation on the continent include the resources, telecommunications and consumer industries, UBS said.

Barclays’s merger with what was Absa Group Ltd. (ASA) in South Africa gives Barclays Africa 1,200 branches across the continent, 45,000 staff, more than 10,000 ATMs and increased access to the continent’s estimated 128 million consumer households, Bloomberg reports.

“South African banks and global banks have been bad in general in the wealth management market,” said Patrice Rassou, head of research at Sanlam Investment Management in Cape Town. “The one who could be a game changer is Barclays Africa – it has the product set. The demand is there.”

Barclays Africa hopes to develop a presence in Nigeria, the region’s second-biggest economy, CEO David Hodnett said. IMF forecasts 7.2 percent economic growth in Nigeria in 2013.