You joined from Minerva, following the acquisition in 2018 – how has JTC’s service offering in the Africa region evolved as a result of the acquisition?
One-in-four of my JTC colleagues were actually born in Africa, a region we have not only been serving since 1987, but one in which we have a physical presence through our offices in South Africa and in Mauritius. JTC‘s global platform helps African business families and institutional clients.
How are the demographics of your clients changing and why?
African business families are now increasingly international in outlook, both through family members living overseas and in the diversification of their commercial and investment activity. Many families are facing challenges and friction on issues surrounding succession and business continuity and/or exit strategies.
Our Africa business was initially built by serving the European and Asian diaspora living and working within the continent. This has now largely been overridden as indigenous family businesses and wealth are increasingly looking for quality international guidance on succession and expertise in the diversification of investments off the continent. We continue to work with our local professional partners to increase awareness about the available planning and structuring options.
The other area where we are seeing tremendous change is in the requirements of African institutional and funds sectors. Here there is increasing confidence in accessing European capital markets, DFIs, PE, sustainable investors and the diaspora as sources for growth strategies. JTC is uniquely placed through our 21 international offices to deliver the required complex cross-jurisdictional structuring.
What are the major investments and wealth trends in Africa – What is driving these?
The rise of the African Private Family Offices. The global protocols on transparency, CRS, FATCA reporting and on Economic Substance, are driving a change in the manner of the engagement with wealth and investment providers. Families are increasingly seeking to be more hands-on and in direct control over how their wealth is managed, by whom and how. We have a specialised JTC Private Office, which provides bespoke administration and other services to family offices. JTC Private Office is powered by Edge, our award-winning technology that gives clients peace of mind that their finances and affairs are organized securely in one place.
Aside from the traditional European private banking services and the independent investment managers, sustainable investment opportunities are now engrained within the mindset of any investor, not least because these have a direct impact on Africa. UK & European commercial property, be it direct or through collectives, still remains a bread and butter investment piece for diversification out of Africa.
The role of Private Equity and Development Finance Institutions in infrastructure development, renewables and social initiatives continues to be a focus for inward investment, as well as a key factor in many of the local joint ventures.
How is JTC looking to build on its presence in Africa?
Our focus pivots upon five key cities in Africa as the hubs for their immediate surrounding regions: Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Cape Town .
JTC has a strong legacy African client book of business, spread across a number of our international offices. We believe in maintaining regular dialogue, often through visits & video conferencing, with our clients, their counter parties and professional advisers.
We are conscious of our carbon footprint and work in close collaboration with on-the-ground professional advisory firms and financial institutions within our markets to serve and source new business growth.
What is your take on the future for Africa?
Am I biased? Absolutely – having covered the region for the past three decades, I make no apology for believing in its future.
No doubt the continent faces challenges, and is possibly entering into its first recession for a generation. However, it is a continent full of hope backed up by immense natural resources and a young population. My humble view is that the continent’s future will depended upon its engagement in serving its youth and the empowerment of its women. To achieve this it needs good governance practices, security, education, a leap in tech innovation, and most of all, our whole hearted support.