Barclays Africa Seeks Nigerian Investment Banking License

Barclays Africa Seeks Nigerian Investment Banking License

From Bloomberg News

Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s corporate and investment banking unit has approached Nigerian authorities for approval to convert its representative office to a fully fledged business in the continent’s biggest economy.

The bank has been increasing its staff in Lagos in preparation for receiving the license, Temi Ofong, head of corporate and investment banking outside of South Africa for Barclays Africa, said in a Feb. 13 interview in Gaborone, Botswana. The Nigerian licensing process could take at least 12 months, Ofong said.

“We have an ongoing strategy to expand our footprint and we have formally engaged with the authorities in Nigeria to apply for licenses,” he said. The Barclays Africa unit’s representative office has been expanded to have a staff of 20, Ofong said. “These include investment brokers and a trade finance team of four people out of Lagos.”

Standard Chartered Plc, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and the investment banking unit of FirstRand Ltd., Africa’s biggest bank, all have operating licenses in Nigeria. The country’s economy will probably expand by 4.8 percent this year, more than twice as fast as South Africa’s projected 2.1 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Barclays Africa worked on the sale of Mainstreet Bank Ltd., among distressed lenders bailed out by the Nigerian government, to Skye Bank Plc, Ofong said. His unit has also been “short- listed” to manage a Nigerian initial public offering, Ofong said, without giving details.

In addition to Nigeria, Barclays Africa sees corporate and investment banking growth opportunities in Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Botswana, according to Ofong. The unit has been growing its assets by more than 30 percent on an annual basis “and we would want to continue, going into the new financial year,” he said.