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Barclays to take on Credit Suisse wealth clients across Africa

The Swiss lender is exiting most of the sub-Saharan region, but keeping its South African operations.
Image: Arnd Wiegmann, Reuters

Credit Suisse Group AG will refer its private banking clients to Barclays Plc in nine African markets as the Swiss lender exits most of the sub-Saharan region.

“Credit Suisse has signed a private banking client referral agreement with Barclays as part of the plan to exit nine non-core wealth management markets primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa,” Credit Suisse said in a statement.

The agreement is part of Credit Suisse’s plan — part of a strategic refresh announced in November — to exit non-core wealth management markets, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. The Swiss lender will exit Botswana, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Zambia, but keep its South African operations.

The deal could see about $2.5 billion of assets move to the British lender, according to three people familiar with the matter. The final price of the deal will depend on how many clients elect to shift their assets to Barclays, two of the people said.

Barclays Private Bank said in a statement it had signed a referral agreement with Credit Suisse.

Barclays reduced its presence on the continent under former Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, who focused the lender on its investment banking operations in London and New York. The British bank, which has had a presence on the continent for more than 100 years, sold off much of its controlling stake in Johannesburg-based Absa Group Ltd. — then-Barclays Africa Group — in 2017.

Today, Barclays presence in South Africa mainly focuses on investment banking. The unit, which had an average of three employees, posted a turnover of 2 million pounds ($2.7 million) in 2020, according to a filing.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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