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Banking

Banking: Standard/Troika links harness new threesome

Troika Dialog deal strengthens Standard Bank’s emerging markets presence; Troika Dialog gets better access to Standard’s balance sheet and links to China’s ICBC

It is a testament to Standard Bank’s growing status as a global emerging markets lender that its latest alliance had to be approved by so many regulators. The South African group’s partnership with Russian investment bank Troika Dialog will add a vital new element to Standard Bank’s network. The venture received the go-ahead this autumn from authorities in South Africa, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, as well as in the UK and the US.

It will enable Standard Bank to service more effectively south-south trade and capital flows: that is, to derive business from the new, emerging market-led globalization. But with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) having taken the largest single stake in Standard Bank last year (20%), investment links between Russia and China might prove just as relevant to the new partnership as investment links between Russia and Africa.

Standard Bank has a presence in 17 African countries, as well as in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Argentina and Brazil, among others. It also bought an equity markets-focused investment bank in Turkey in 2007.

Acquired prominence
Martin Botha, managing director of strategic projects at Standard Bank, says the China-Russia investment link was not the key factor in the decision to take a 33% stake in Troika Dialog and merge the two banks’ Russia operations.

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