The First Rand Merchant Bank plans to set up a bank in Namibia instead of operating as an Investment Bank, thus moving away from an Asset Management Company under the First National Bank (FNB) Group.
RMB Namibia is an Asset Management Company focused on investments and became operational on February 1, 2011. It was launched on September 14, 2011 to offer a full suite of investment banking products to the Namibian market.
However, the Director of Strategic Communications and Financial Sector Development at the Bank of Namibia (BoN), Ndangi Katoma could not confirm whether RMB is setting up its own operational Bank but maintained that RMB Investments Namibia has been established in Namibia and not Rand Merchant Bank.
“The difference is that Rand Merchant Bank is registered as a banking institution in South Africa, while RMB Investment Namibia is established and operates as an Asset Management Company in Namibia,” said Katoma.
Katoma added that according to information in the BoN’s possession, RMB Investments Namibia has been established in 2011-2012 already, and operates as an Asset Management Company in the First National Bank Group.
He noted that since RMB Investments Namibia is just an Asset Management Company in the First National Bank Group, it is not authorised as a banking institution and therefore was not licensed by the Bank of Namibia, meaning that RMB Investments Namibia is not allowed, by law, to conduct business as a commercial bank.
“RMB Investments Namibia operates as an Asset Management Company in the First National Bank Group and is registered and licensed by NAMFISA,” said Katoma.
Katoma noted that in accordance with the limitations and restrictions that exist within the Banking Institutions Act of 1998, as amended, the Bank of Namibia prohibits any person from using the name or expression “bank” in its name.
“This is only allowed if such person is registered and authorised by the Bank of Namibia to operate as a banking institution. In this case therefore, the Bank of Namibia prohibited Rand Merchant Bank to use the same name in Namibia as is being used in South Africa.
“For the purposes of the business in Asset Management they are conducting in Namibia however, they are allowed to use the abbreviation ‘RMB’,” said Katoma.
Katoma maintained that the BoN is not the regulator of RMB Namibia and can therefore not express itself on the business model and its operations, saying, question will therefore be best responded to by NAMFISA as they registered and licensed RMB.
RMB is a diversified financial services brand covering investment banking, fund management, corporate banking, and advisory services, in addition, all businesses under the RMB brand form part of the wider First Rand Group.