Rand Merchant Bank CEO Allan Pullinger.  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Rand Merchant Bank CEO Allan Pullinger. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

RAND Merchant Bank (RMB) has said it is looking to build a permanent franchise in Ghana following the official opening of RMB Nigeria last week.

The establishment of RMB Nigeria required an initial capital investment of $100m, and the South African investment bank was hopeful it would get absolute returns in the short term and economic returns in the medium term.

"RMB will look to build its franchise in Ghana. We are currently very active ... in a number of sectors. This is being done on a "fly-in, fly-out" basis, and RMB would prefer to build a permanent presence in Ghana," RMB CEO Allan Pullinger said on Friday.

Last year, FirstRand bought a 75% stake in Merchant Bank Ghana, giving its units First National Bank and RMB a platform to roll out their products and services.

In Nigeria, RMB planned to use the country as a platform to offer basic corporate transactional banking. Although there was a plan to leverage skills in South Africa, RMB was ultimately looking to employ Nigerian talent.

Before opening in Nigeria last week, the investment bank had been operating a representative office in the West African country since January 2010.

"Although we have already established a track record through our representative office, RMB Nigeria enables us to significantly scale up our in-country offerings and play a more prominent role in the growth of the Nigerian economy," Mr Pullinger said.

"Potential investors need a reliable, on-the-ground financial services partner who understands the unique challenges and regulatory framework of doing business in Africa."

RMB had positioned itself as a bank without borders on the continent. The bank also said it would offer clients structuring, hedging and execution of spot and derivative flow transactions.