Barclays Plc is joining Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG in targeting millionaire clients in Africa as the continent’s fastest-growing economies swell a rich list topped by billionaires Aliko Dangote and Johann Rupert.
Barclays Africa Group Ltd., in which the London-based bank will hold a 62.3 percent stake, is seeking to build on experience managing wealth in South Africa after acquiring eight African operations previously run by its parent. That expansion depends on regulators in countries including Kenya, Ghana and Mauritius, said Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos.
“It’s potentially a very exciting opportunity,” Ramos said in an interview in Johannesburg on July 30.
The number of Africans with at least $1 million of investable assets climbed 9.9 percent to 140,000 in 2012, according to a report published on June 18 by Cap Gemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada. That was the fastest rate of increase outside North America as the economies of countries such as Nigeria and Ghana grew at more than 5 percent last year.
“It’s a great time for private banking, wealth management and asset management in Africa,” Mark Mobius, who oversees $53 billion as executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, said in an interview on June 28.
About 42 percent of the millionaires in Africa and the Middle East are prioritizing wealth accumulation, a higher proportion than in North America, Europe or Asia, the Cap Gemini report showed.
UBS, the world’s biggest wealth manager, said in May it will expand its operations in Africa as economic growth rates boost demand. The industries contributing most to wealth creation on the continent include the resources, telecommunications and consumer industries, according to the Zurich-based bank.
Africa’s increasing wealth presents an opportunity, said Donna Oosthuyse, the head of Citigroup in South Africa.
“In our private bank we have officers who are dedicated to Africa and in our international personal bank,” she said on July 25. “Just as we see international global companies needing international capabilities, so do individuals.”