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Economic downturn: Standard Chartered cuts African team

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Economic downturn: Standard Chartered cuts African team

A major private equity investment firm, in the Standard Chartered Bank, Standard Chartered African Fund (SCAF), has begun shedding load following the economic down turn in Nigeria.

To this effect, three top management staff are already on their way out of the system, in an exercise, which has seen Peter Baird, head of the international investment outfit leave in circumstances shrouded in secrecy.

It is feared that with more than $800 million fund investment of SCAF due for divestment from the Nigerian banking system, some commercial bank’s equity may be negatively affected.

Joe Stevens, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Standard Private Equity, an affiliate of the Standard Chartered, said Baird, who was appointed in 2011, will be replaced by Ronald Tamale, a former Goldman Sachs analyst.

Despite the speculation that Baird was eased off from the outfit due to poor showing in the past one year, none of the spokespersons agreed to speak on that.

Read also: CBN bars 9 banks from forex market over withheld $2.13bn NNPC funds (Updated)

Since the economies of most African countries, especially Nigeria, worsened since last year, with lower commodity prices, rising government debts and weakening currencies, the special bank has been showing willingness to reducing presence in the country, said a source.

Many of Standard Chartered’s investments in Nigeria, are faced with the worst economic recession and its attendant acute foreign exchange shortages.

Also to leave the firm is Yemi Osindero, head of private equity business, along with a senior manager, Nana Dankwa, both of who are said to be planning coming up with an independent African funds team.

With this development, only about five African specialists will be left working with the Standard chartered firm as against 11 a year ago.

International investment experts, Goldman Sachs and Blackrock, are among the foreign firms in the company, while their Nigerian counterparts include: IBTC, Union Bank, GZI, an Aluminium can manufacturer firm, Seven Energy and others.

But with this development, little is known of what will befall all the commercial banks that have links with the equity investment holding, as its planned reduction of its activities in Nigeria continues.

By Emma Eke…

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