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Africa: Ecobank launches investment banking arm

Pan-African group restructures operations; Investment unit to trade 17 African currencies

Togolese holding company Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) launched an investment banking arm in New York in October as part of a wider operational shake-up at the Ecobank group.

Offong Ambah, chief executive of Ecobank Capital, tells Euromoney that his Paris-based unit will stage a London launch in the next few months once it receives approval from the French regulator for UK operations. Ambah hopes over the longer term to run Ecobank Capital primarily from London, where he is already renting offices.

Over the past year Ecobank has also established a Johannesburg-based arm, Ecobank Corporate, to oversee coverage of global, regional and large local corporate clients in Africa: taking advantage of the group’s two-year-old alliance with South Africa’s Nedbank. The group has simultaneously created an Accra-based department to oversee government relations, and retail and business banking, in the individual African countries where ETI has subsidiaries. The three units will pool clients.

"Over the past four years Ecobank has expanded from three West African countries to 30 countries with more than 700 branches in what we term Middle Africa," says Ambah. "After that, we felt we needed to change how the group was organized. Previously the group has only been structured geographically."

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