Standard Bank’s R1 trillion asset management juggernaut

Standard Bank subsidiaries Stanlib and Liberty now manage over R1 trillion in assets combined – making it one of the largest asset managers in South Africa. 

This was revealed in Standard Bank’s results presentation for the 2023 financial year, which was the first full year with Liberty incorporated into the company. 

The bank posted impressive results, with earnings growing by almost 30% in 2023. 

Standard Bank delivered earnings growth of 27% and a return on equity of 18.8% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Standard Bank’s client franchise health showed improvements across several metrics. Active customers grew by 6% to 18.8 million, with growth recorded in both South Africa and the rest of Africa. 

In addition, digital retail clients in South Africa increased by 8% as more clients transitioned to the company’s digital channels. 

Standard Bank recorded over 2.8 billion digital transactions for retail clients, up 30% year-on-year, and distributed over R41.1 billion on behalf of its South African clients via its digital wallet platform. 

These impressive results are partly attributable to the improved performance of Standard Bank’s insurance business, mainly Liberty, and increased assets under management. 

Since the announcement of Standard Bank’s Liberty minority buyout, the bank has received over R5.7 billion in distributions related primarily to capital optimisation. 

Africa’s largest bank by assets bought out the minority shareholders in Liberty in February 2022 to streamline the business and position the bank as a diversified financial services provider. 

Liberty generated R3 billion in new business value in 2023, up 13%, with life and short-term insurance up 8%. 

This has also enabled it to combine Liberty’s assets under management with its existing asset management company, Stanlib. 

The combined assets under management in South Africa grew strongly in 2023 from R934 billion to just over R1 trillion. 

This makes Standard Bank’s asset management business one of the largest in the country, behind only the Public Investment Corporation and Ninety One. 

In the rest of the continent, assets under management grew more modestly from R448 billion to R473 billion. 

Liberty and Standard Bank’s asset management businesses’ results are summarised in the graphs below.