Headquartered in the Mauritius International Financial Services Centre, AfrAsia Bank Limited was launched in October 2007 in the midst of the world’s worst financial crisis. This boutique corporate and private bank provides a comprehensive range of tailored financial solutions and a dedicated and personalised customer service to its clients.
Since the start of its operations, AfrAsia Bank has been fully leveraging Mauritius’ strategic advantages and long-established links with Africa and Asia to position itself as the reference point for banking and financial solutions linking the country and the Africa-Asia trade corridor. At the cross-roads of these two continents, Mauritius is the ideal conduit for exponential growth in trade and investment – and the bank is already a direct beneficiary of these capital flows.
“AfrAsia Bank was among the first to recognise the growth potential of the African Lions in matching the rise of the Asian Tiger economies” said James Benoit, CEO, AfrAsia Bank. Over its three years of operations, it has opened three representative offices in South Africa, the latest one in Durban during this financial year. The customer response has been outstanding. This has been achieved through an intensely focused distribution model, use of the social media and thought-leadership events and conferences.
Putting clients first
The bank’s experienced team of relationship managers has been providing expert financial advice that enables individuals to achieve their objectives through innovative banking products and carefully considered wealth management solutions for every stage of their wealth development.
As a testimony to the bank’s market positioning and its ‘bank different’ customer service approach, AfrAsia Bank received the Best Private Bank in Mauritius 2011 award from Euromoney.
AfrAsia has more than quadrupled its capital base since its launch, with foreign interests now owning 28% of the bank. These include private equity firms from South Africa (Dale Capital, 7%) and Singapore (Intrasia Capital, 12%), and most recently, the French development finance institution, Agence Française de Développement, through its private sector arm, PROPARCO, taking a 9% stake in the bank.
A strong vision to serve the growing Africa–Asia trade and investment corridor with Mauritius at its heart, along with rigorous financial forecasts, risk modelling and corporate governance, have been key in attracting these global investment firms.
During its last financial year, the bank nearly tripled its profits. Growth in the bank’s deposit base has been a key element for this success.
AfrAsia Bank has used every opportunity to establish its brand internationally, achieving several milestones in the process, including a 50% investment into AXYS Capital Management Ltd, to complete its private banking and wealth management services using Mauritius as a regional hub. The bank has also invested in a corporate finance business in Cape Town, now known as AfrAsia Corporate Finance, to develop its cross-border global banking services.
AfrAsia was also the first Mauritian-owned bank to obtain a Foreign Institutional Investor (FII) licence for global business flows into India. The bank recently started its global custody services in partnership with ABN AMRO Bank to further diversify their products and provide a single point and easy access to the world’s capital markets.
This has been a real success story considering that just four years ago, the name “AfrAsia” was viewed as a risky strategy – people wondering if the “Africa” part would jeopardise its standing. The bank is now well positioned to grow in its home market and to scale up and expand its international operations.