Financial Services

The South African financial services industry is complex and multi-faceted, making it very difficult to categorise.

Firstly, there is a bewildering array of products and services, with new ones being added almost daily.

Secondly, changes in the external environment are leading to on-going and unpredictable change in the structure of the industry:

• Changes in industry regulations in the industry have meant that the barriers between banks, life offices, unit trust companies and stockbrokers are being broken down, and many of these organisations are exploring entering new areas of business.

• Technology is key in enabling innovative players to deliver their products and services in new ways.

• Global players are entering Africa via the South African market, with competition coming mainly in the form of mergers, take-overs and the purchase of shareholdings in local companies. International banks were among the first of the multinationals to arrive after the 1994 general election, lured by deregulation of the JSE and imminence of exchange control relaxation. There are now more than 70 in the local market. While many entered through stock broking, they quickly diversified into corporate finance and advisory services.

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