Barclays Plc planning new Kenya subsidiary

BarclaysThe Barclays Plc has sought regulatory approval to start a subsidiary in Nairobi to handle back-office operations for its African activities, making it the largest investment by the bank in Kenya.

The UK bank is seeking permission of the Central Bank of Kenya to establish the office called Barclays Shared Services (BSS) that would be handling functions such as opening of accounts, loan approvals, and card services for its operations in nine countries of Africa.

People who are aware of the plan revealed that the BSS which will be fully owned by Barclays Plc has already hired 70 employees, most of whom are Kenyans. It proposes to increase this number to 1,000 by June 2013 which will also include expatriate staff.

Barclays Plc plans to spend billions of shillings on the venture, especially on IT equipment and infrastructure, and this action is expected to improve Nairobi’s rising profile as a regional financial hub. Barclays is racing to create seamless operations in Africa, but it could lead to job cuts in countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, and Zambia.

The Chief Operating Officer of Barclays Bank of Kenya, Abidi Mohamed, confirmed the plan to open the BSS in Nairobi but did not give any details. He said that they had made applications for the hosting of the shared services in Nairobi and the details will be available early next year.

BSS is also waiting for regulatory approval in other countries as part of their back-office services will be run from Nairobi. However, Barclay’s subsidiaries in Egypt and South Africa will not be part of the Nairobi shared services plan.

People who are versed with the plan feel that the bank’s Africa units will pay BSS a fee for handling their back-office operations as the UK bank is looking to make a bigger dent in the continent’s financial service market.

Barclays Plc is planning to reorganise its Africa business into one seamless operation called ‘One Africa’. It had acquired a 55.5 per cent stake in 2005 of South Africa’s third-largest bank Absa, but both these have remained separate entities outside South Africa and are running parallel operations in Tanzania.

Barclays Plc is planning to merge operations in Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania with Absa into an African unit. The shareholding of the Kenya unit will be held by Barclays Africa Limited, which will be fully owned by Absa.

Over the past five years, Nairobi has attracted major banks from West Africa who were interested in establishing subsidiaries, and global banks who had opened representative offices to tap the growing regional trade. Standard Chartered Plc has converted its Nairobi office into a regional hub, the US bank JP Morgan Chase is planning to set up an office in Nairobi, while Visa International, a payment systems service company, has commenced operations in Nairobi to serve all the markets in the region.

Some of the banks that have already set up offices in the country, in recent times, include Nigeria-based United Bank of Africa and Togo-based Eco Bank while the CBK has already issued licences for five representative offices of foreign banks such as HSBC, Bank of China, and FirstRand.

Barclays Africa is planning to widen its business to include investment banking and insurance services after the consolidation.

The bank which has a heavy portfolio in corporate and retail lending is planning to adopt the financial supermarket model, which includes arranging corporate deals, selling insurance products, and offering loans.

The bank has reorganised its Nairobi top brass with the appointment of Jeremy Awori, 42, as the Managing Director following the promotion of Adan Mohamed to the Bank’s Africa office as Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. Awori, who is the chief Executive of Standard Chartered Tanzania, will join the Barclays Bank of Kenya in February.

The rejuvenated bank will escalate competition for its market share among top banks like StanChart and CfC Stanbic, most of which is owned by South Africa’s Standard Bank that will try to go neck-to-neck with Absa for control of Africa’s financial services market. The lender recorded the slowest profit growth among the top banks in the country for the nine-month period till September, which made it the fourth profitable bank from the top position in 2010.

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Growing a Business

Want Great Guidance ? Find yourself a Super Mentor


They are the gods of small businesses, those inspired individuals who have achieved the highest levels of success. They can be the shining beacons who light up the path of running your business with their vision, wisdom and wealth of resources and contacts. They are The Mentors.

If you are fired with the passion to take your business to great heights, the best thing to do is find yourself a super mentor. Here are some tips to help in your quest

Pinpoint your Need

Sit down and focus your thoughts on your business growth strategy. Which area of the business needs a lift. Is is staffing, is it the finances, is it the production, is it the your lack of customers or is it the business as a whole that needs a makeover. Once you’ve zoomed in on the sore spot, this is where you need…

Read More
Growing a Business

Dreaming Big? You can Move Mountains with these Business Productivty Tips


You may be full of admiration for some people who seem to manage themselves and their work so usefully and efficiently. They seem to fit in so much productive work into the same number of hours which everyone has.. Let’s look what makes them tick and take a few tips.

Learn to identify your most productive hours

Its true, most productive people know which time of the day they can be most creative and efficient. They identify and allot these hours for the best part of their work. This way they are able to give their 100% awareness to the job and business productivity.

Early to rise- A winning habit

Waking up early is a personal habit that has all the plusses on its side. You need not necessarily go to work that early. It’s a habit that gives you more time for personal care, like mediation, exercise, walking,…

Read More
Growing a Business

Leadership Qualities that can make you an Icon


You may have reached the leadership position through sheer dedication to performance and a do or die attitude . Now that you are at the top, your viewpoint needs to change. You have to now be a role model, one whom others will look up to and follow. Here are some tips that can shape your leadership and management skills

Be Competent: Employees will look up to a leader who has good industry knowledge and management skills. If you do not possess these skills you should surround yourself with knowledgeable people who can offer good counsel. Competence is a trait all employees will admire.

Be Trustworthy: No one will look up to a person they cannot trust. Your employees will want to rely on you and count on you. In difficult situations, leaders are expected to apprise their employees of the situations and find solutions on how to address…

Read More
Raising Money

Are You offering Your Services Using the Right Pricing Strategies?


In these times of fierce competition, business people , mostly those that offer services and belong to the service based industry, are finding it a challenge to implement the right pricing strategies. It is virtually a struggle to set the right business price that will retain and attract the customers, and not drive them away. Follow these tips, the crucial dos and don’t s and you may be in a much better position to offer your services at the best price.

Maintain your Business identity and Dignity

If you are offering a unique or special product or service, don’t underrate it just because you want to build a better relationship with the customer. This will just cheapen your offering as another run of the mill. If its something special you are offering the customer, then communicate this fact to the client and get the equation right with the most…

Read More
Raising Money

What is a Fair Wage? How Do you Assess Fair Wage?


How do you figure out a fair wage?

This is a very common question for startups and small businesses. They can’t seem to decide or understand how to set wages and manage reputations at a time. They are determined to pay well but they also have to think about encouraging their employees to stay with them for a long time. This is why there is a need to think strategically.

Listed below are a few expert tips to help you decide:

Don’t Focus Only on Money

Money should never be the main focus for you or for your employees. You should decide on the wages in such a way that your employees are tied to your business. When your business does well they should be able to taste that success and vice versa.

Also, think about additional perks such as exclusive benefits and time off. Many employees value this more than the overall…

Read More
Raising Money

Tips to Winning Hard Negotiations With Ease


While some negotiations are easy, others are quite hard to win. If you stumble you will lose.

Whether it is a potential client or an investor, negotiations can be very tough and frustrating. The problem is that the moment you let your frustration overwhelm you, you will lose the deal and you will give in to whatever is being offered to you. In order to avoid that, here are tips to overcome tough times and to win even the hard negotiations:


Know your opponent as well as possible. This is the rule no matter what you do. You should understand your opponent to the T. Who the person is, what his culture is, what he thinks, what he stands for, how is his network, etc. are the questions you should ask yourself and answer through research before meeting up for the negotiation. Understanding the opponent will give you a great advantage.


Read More