Standard Bank—An African Tiger
In November 2011, Jacko Maree, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group, was reviewing the Group’s major decisions in recent years, thinking about the future, and looking for opportunities as South Africa emerged from the global financial crisis of 2008-10. The Group had fared relatively well during the financial crisis, in the sense that no major losses had occurred, and there was almost no exposure at all to the U.S. real estate market or to derivatives based on mortgages there. Even so, the global slowdown had hurt South Africa, and Standard Bank’s core businesses there had suffered as well. To keep shareholders happy, the Group needed to demonstrate a clear strategic direction and to demonstrate commitment to that strategy, possibly by pursuing acquisition(s) or other kinds of expansion.
The case may be approached as an example of strategy development in a particular industry—financial services—in a post-crisis environment. This will tend to focus the analysis on banking fundamentals. At least equal emphasis is on the emerging market issue: how does an Africa-based financial services company compete against both local rivals and international competitors such as HSBC and Citibank?