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Joining the party

21 June 2004 Angelo Coppola

Absa launches a new offering for high net worth individuals, students and medical professionals and overseas-based corporate employees which involves the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)(International), and follows 16 months of discussions and product develop

Absa’s Brendan o’Donnell, speaking about offshore banking, says that while they are literally last out of the starting blocks, in terms of an offshore banking offering, they have learnt from the other players.

They have seen their clients generally moving into Africa, central Europe and some to the Far East.

They are hoping to target the international roaming business people as they get posted internationally, those studying overseas, or traveling on holiday.

The bank is looking for the high net worth individuals, who are people who want to diversify internationally, as well as those looking for convenience and flexibility and a balanced approach to investments.

There is an annuity income model for Absa, and comes from the balances in the clients accounts.

They are looking for genuine client relationship management, and hope to offer independence and choice of offering, as well as the offshore investments and banking.

The bank’s international footprint was emphasized and the international alliance will include client referrals. Absa will become an originator of business to the international business of RBS.

In terms of clients they will be looking at the medical market, students and high net worth individuals. They will also be targeting competitor clients who were previously with the bank.

David Gillespie, director retail banking, discussed one of the product offerings - a multi-currency money management solution – Royalties International. This is a multi-currency account with one account number, one statement, for people dealing or transacting in numerous accounts.

They are also offering a preferential interest rate, trying to entice people to use as a savings account, with transaction cards thrown into the deal, as well as some lifestyle benefits, such as an international concierge service.

There is however no lending facility on the offering.

One of the offerings is the ability to establish an account from SA, in the UK, with transactional capability on landing at Heathrow, specifically aimed at people emigrating or being posted to the UK for a corporate contract.

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