Banking: Multiple Assets

Investec’s products and services span a very wide range. We provide an overview.

By Billie Josephs, December 13, 2010

Investec is a distinctive specialist bank that provides a diverse range of financial products and services in principal markets including the UK, South Africa and Australia, as well as in other centres around the world.

It is organised as a network, comprising six separate business divisions - asset management, private wealth management, property activities, private banking, investment banking and capital markets.

Since it was founded in South Africa in 1974, Investec has expanded rapidly through a series of strategic acquisitions and its goals are to continue to develop the business on an international scale.

"Our clients tend to be entrepreneurs with large amounts of earned wealth. We are a new money rather than old money bank," says an Investec spokesperson.

The bank is particularly strong in the private wealth management and investment banking sectors, where it operates in the UK through the company Rensburg Sheppards, a venerable City-based financial institution which it acquired earlier this year.

It offers investment management services to private individuals, families and charities and its team is very strong on client service.

This sector is distinct from the bank's asset management service, which offers investment products and financial services mainly to major institutions such as pension funds. This has been a real strength for Ivestec.

Growing from small beginnings 18 years ago, it now has around £46 billion under management.

The company's private bank business offers a full range of specialist services, providing banking facilities for businesses and individuals, including high-end mortgages, deposit accounts and cheque accounts, together with specialised lending for professionals and entrepreneurs.

On the investment front, Investec provides corporate finance and institutional banking services, while its capital markets business provides services and advice to corporate clients, public sector bodies and institutions, including foreign exchange and other treasury service.

There is also a strong property division, with specialist vehicles for investment in the commercial property market.

Capital markets is one of the group's most innovative divisions and a source of great strength to Investec. Structured products have done well and the bank looks towards further growth.

Equally, the asset finance division is a specialisation where Investec is now recognised as a market leader. Further growth is expected to include financing large-scale clean energy projects.

Like most banks, Investec has seen trading activity levels fall as a result of the banking crisis, while the number of loans in default has risen.

However the bank has remained profitable in all its divisions and it believes it has ensured it has remained well positioned through the policy of holding capital well in excess of regulatory requirements. "In many ways this (the crisis) has presented us with opportunities as the market has recognised our resilience," says a spokesperson.

Indeed the bank is looking to future growth. "One of the most exciting areas for us right now is private client wealth and investment.

"It has been a tough period, but we do see opportunities across the
business. We have come out of the
crisis in good shape, much better shape than many of our competitors, so we are well placed
to continue growing."

Despite everything, Investec has made it clear in its advertising that "money isn't everything". In the UK, it focuses heavily on social investment in the areas of education, entrepreneurship and the environment. In particular it supports charitable partners carrying out work in east London.

The bank also encourages staff to become involved in activities ranging from coaching young people in success skills to creating an eco-
garden for a primary school. Investec has also launched an award-winning social investment programme in London and has similar programmes in South Africa and in Australia.

The company is very nimble when it comes to marketing opportunities, says the spokesperson.

"When we arrived in the UK, no one had heard of us." Sponsoring English rugby raised its profile and this has been further reinforced by Investec's sponsorship deals with Spurs and the Derby. "Each sponsorship deal has been beneficial to the business."

Last updated: 12:16pm, December 13 2010