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We aim to be the financial services group of choice.

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It is essential that we maintain a strong relationship with our shareholders to ensure we have a shared understanding and vision for our future performance. Not meeting these expectations reduces shareholder confidence.

This section should be read in conjunction with our Financial Director’s review and our risk summary. Additional information: consolidated and separate financial statements; risk management report; and 2015 financial results booklet.

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2015 priorities

Progress made in 2015

We will continue to improve our business in South Africa, repeat the successes outside South Africa and drive growth in our Corporate Bank and WIMI franchise across the continent.

We achieved our target to be top three by revenue in four of our five largest markets – Botswana, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia.

Our revenue share from outside South Africa increased further to 20.8% (2014: 19.5%), within our target of 20 – 25%. We continued to expand WIMI with our acquisition of First Assurance in Kenya and improved revenue momentum in key annuity businesses.

Focus on revenue growth and continued cost management to improve our cost-to-income ratio.

We continue to focus on growing revenue in target areas (including Markets, Rest of Africa, Corporate South Africa and Retail Banking South Africa). Our structural cost programmes continue to produce efficiency gains that allow us to invest in growth initiatives. Our cost-to-income ratio decreased to 56.0% from 56.8% in 2014.

Increase return on equity in a sustainable manner, avoiding any short-term actions in an attempt to meet the target.

Our return on equity increased to 17.0% (2014: 16.7%), the highest since 2008. South Africa’s return on equity improved slightly to 17.9%, while Rest of Africa’s improved to 13.7%. We have identified opportunities for improvement in the medium term.

Looking ahead

Although we are unlikely to achieve our return on equity and cost-to-income targets in 2016 due to a deteriorating macroeconomic backdrop characterised by uncertainty and volatility, we believe these are still correct in the medium term. We will stay focused on execution towards achieving these targets:

  • A return on equity in the range of 18 – 20%.
  • To be top three by revenue in our top five markets.
  • A revenue share of 20 – 25% from outside South Africa.
  • A cost-to-income ratio in the low 50s.