South Africa – Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) is now operating from a New York based representative office, to facilitate greater US business flows into the African continent. RMB’s parent, FirstRand Bank, has received all necessary approvals from the United States Federal Reserve Board and New York State Department of Financial Services.
RMB CEO Emrie Brown said that foreign investors are increasingly turning to Africa, with its vast natural resources, extensive markets, young population, and excellent technological prospects. The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement will also ease access into Africa, stimulate intra-regional trade and boost growth.
Said Brown: “The new office will link investors in the United States with Africa’s extensive business opportunities. As an established, on-the-ground corporate and investment bank with offices across the African continent, we understand the challenges and regulatory environments for business success in Africa. We are particularity well-placed to drive investment into the continent thanks to the advisory expertise we have developed since RMB’s establishment in 1984.”
Brown added that the bank will work with US-headquartered multinational corporations with African subsidiaries, non-governmental corporations, as well as US corporates with no African presence that intend to engage in business or establish themselves in Africa.
Albert Maartens, who heads up the US operations, said that the new office will enable RMB to spend more time with key corporate and institutional decision-makers and facilitate assistance to and communication with US corporates looking to expand into Africa.
Said Maartens: “RMB will be able to act as trusted adviser for our existing and future US clients so that they can take advantage of our innovative product offerings within the environment in which they wish to operate. As a division of FirstRand Bank, we can offer investors longer tenors due to our large capital base, access to deep expertise on the continent, an impeccable compliance record and due diligence skills and processes that are firmly in place.”
RMB’s product and services offering will include the full spectrum of corporate and investment banking products such as M& advisory, lending, equity and debt capital markets, custody, foreign exchange (FX), derivative hedging instruments and cash management. These will be offered across multiple sectors and industries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as mining and minerals, logistics, consumer goods, fintech, healthcare, energy and infrastructure.
“RMB has exceptional talent, focused on providing clients with distinctive service and deep African expertise. We are passionate about entrenching ourselves in the new jurisdictions in which we choose to operate – and about having a positive impact on the business of our clients we serve,” concluded Brown.