JOHANNESBURG, June 11 South African bank
FirstRand said on Tuesday it has launched an asset
manager, the latest entrant into the already crowded investment
market of Africa's top economy.
Banks around the world are increasing their focus on
fee-generating asset and wealth management businesses as tougher
regulations put pressure on core lending operations.
FirstRand, South Africa's second-largest bank, has been
without an asset manager since spinning off its Momentum
insurance unit in 2010. But it is likely to face stiff
competition from other established players such as Investec
and Old Mutual .
"The idea is also to continue to increase our non-interest
revenue and fee income from this business," FirstRand Chief
Executive Sizwe Nxasana said.
The new unit, Ashburton Investments, already has more than
110 billion rand ($10.81 billion) in assets under management,
Nxasana said, adding the bank aimed to become a "meaningful
participant" in the market.
Ashburton will give investors access to some non-traditional
instruments, said Boshoff Grobler, who heads the business.
"We're moving into the unlisted space," he said. "We will
provide local investors with access to credit assets that have
traditionally sat on the bank's balance sheets in investable
Ashburton will also offer exposure to real estate and hedge
funds, he said.