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Our eight material matters

Whereas our four strategic choices respond directly to our operating context and direct our resource allocation and trade-offs, the group’s material matters ensure that we keep those aspects that enable us to create sustainable value, top of mind. As with the strategy, the board plays a key role in identifying and testing assumptions and approving the material matters.

Our 2019 material matters in summary

2019 material matters

High-level shifts from 2018 material matters

Ethical leadership, management and business This is a new and now the highest-ranking material matter, which includes aspects of mitigating corruption and fraud.
Credit risk management and mitigating losses due to bad debt There has been a shift in emphasis away from growth prospects to managing credit and liquidity risk.
Financial and cybercrime/cybersecurity Financial crime has been separated from the ethical aspects with the emphasis on technology as an enabler.
Meeting customer needs and expectations No change
Demand for specialist skills driving focused development, training and diversity Supporting elements now include succession planning.
Responding to a changing regulatory and operating context Supporting elements include socioeconomic issues, political instability and environmental and governance challenges.
Fintech, insurtech and evolving digital assets No change
Enhancing and optimising management and operational systems No change

Our material matters explained

In this section, we provide more detail on the material matters, including the stakeholder groups most affected, positively or negatively, by each. The risk report contains specific detail on some of these matters. For example, in the risk report, we set out the material matters in relation to the principal risks and identify the board committees mandated to consider each.

The banking sector is characterised by disruptive innovation from non-traditional competitors who use automation and digitisation to render some conventional offerings obsolete and to compete on price. These new players design flexible and dynamic solutions based on new financing platforms, open banking and cloud-based products and services.

Regulators around the world, including southern Africa, are keenly observing the managed roll-out of open banking in the UK, which started in January 2018. Open banking is a reform which obliges all UK-regulated banks to share customers’ financial data (such as bank, credit card and savings statements) with authorised providers if customers give their banks permission to do so. The goal is to give consumers more choices by increasing competition between banks and fintech start-ups while ensuring secure and stable markets.

Capricorn Group’s response and approach

Bank cheques have been phased out in Namibia, effective end June 2019. As such, Bank Windhoek is offering its customers other payment methods such as mobile banking, internet banking and cellphone banking in addition to point-of-sale (POS) devices, ATMs across the country and various card products. Biometrics that assist in validating know your customer (KYC) information and reduce the risk of identity theft is being investigated for implementation.

In terms of process automation, the group completed the first wave of business improvements that are enhancing client onboarding, simplifying application processes and introduced cloud-enabled control on debit and credit cards. Customers can now adjust limits themselves.

EasyWallet continues on a steep growth curve owing to the convenience of doing secure and simple money transfers.

On 1 July 2019, the group concluded a 30% acquisition in Paratus Group Holdings Limited. Paratus Group Holdings and its subsidiaries and associates operate in 24 African countries, the most significant of which are Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.

Our investment in Nimbus, and indirectly in Paratus, was a deliberate move to explore new technology and digital infrastructure options. We anticipate new opportunities from the convergence between telecommunications and financial services combined with strong growth in demand for data services.

Nimbus is focusing its investment strategy on ICT companies in sub-Saharan Africa. Paratus provides communication, connectivity, carrier and cloud services to the public, private and corporate sectors in Namibia. Its telecommunications and network services include VSAT solutions, IP products, multiprotocol label-switching technology, fourth-generation wireless broadband network solutions, wireless data communications and E-Pad solutions. Paratus Namibia also owns the Trans-Kalahari Fibre line.

In Zambia, we are staging a partnership with a fintech start-up bringing a minimum viable proposition first to that market in pursuit of the opportunity presented by digitising the cash economy so prevalent throughout Africa.

Our aim is to continue making diverse investments in customer-centric technology and digital assets.

Read more about digital operations and investment in the Group CEO’s report.

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