Since its inception, Banco Espírito Santo Angola has been a partner of the Angolan state, its citizens and all international companies concerned with global preservation and sustainability
Founded in 2002, BESA is today one of the top banks in Angola by both size and prominence. The bank has been able to grow quickly by establishing and maintaining a clear and well-established strategy, based on three key pillars: aiming for profitability at an early stage of the bank’s growth; taking a strong interest in social responsibility; and supporting economic expansion in Angola.
This strategy proved to be a success, and the bank reached a break-even point just eight months after it opened its first branch. Since its inception, BESA’s mission has been to “Maintain the leadership in profitability in the Angolan banking system, leveraging on the expected evolution of the Angolan economy and financial system to become a multi-specialist financial group and expand the branch network to the entire national territory.”
As a banking institution, its values are synonymous with the economic development, growing maturity and partnerships formed that Angola has experienced over the past decade. This has been a decade emphasised by success in a number of core areas for the bank. These include its core values of sustainability; strong financial results; the work it does within the Angolan community – principally for social equality; its environmental ethics; and the value it adds to customers, shareholders and stakeholders alike.
The shareholder structure is composed of Banco Espírito Santo with 51.94 percent, Portmill with 24 percent, Group GENI with 18.99 percent and 5.07 percent from individual shareholders. Situated in Luanda, BESA currently has a share capital around $170m and equity, as of December 31 2011, of $1.02bn From its outset, BESA sought to participate in the socio-economic development of Angola, providing support for the increasing banking needs of both corporate and singular customers.
Over the years, the bank has been a close partner, not only with the State of Angola, but also its citizens, as well as with both national and international companies and institutions worldwide concerned with the preservation of the planet. Since its foundation, BESA has dedicated itself to a policy of sustainable development in Angola, and to this extent the bank believes that economic growth must be accompanied by measures that seek to promote the dissemination of ideas relating to sustainability in its four pillars.
It has long been an innovator when it comes to providing products and services to customers. To this end, BESA is well recognised in the banking community for its pioneering work, including the creation of the first trading room in Angola. Currently, BESA is implementing a strategy of consolidation as a financial group, integrating several specialised services, in particular fund management (BESAACTIF), leasing (BESALEASING) and insurance (TRANQUILIDADE – Corporação Angolana de Seguros).
With the development of an ambitious plan to expand its branch network in the capital and in the other provinces of Angola, BESA contributes to the national effort to promote employment and banking opportunities. This is bolstered by its position as one of the stronger institutions of the Angolan banking market. With a staff base of 562, as at December 31 2011, BESA has an enviable range of innovative products and services.
It has also attracted interest from a large number of customers, with special emphasis on some of the largest companies in the country. This strategy ensured the bank’s employees were focused on providing clients with the highest-quality customer service available in Angola, and led them to target the high-income and business lending and services markets that until then had been neglected by the country’s other financial institutions.
In order to reach out to these core client groups, BESA has ensured that it delivered products and services that other lenders were unable to provide. As such, it was the first bank in Angola to open a market room and offer the brokerage and trading services that its premium clients required.
BESA has managed to attract clients thanks to its effective and efficient international trade unit, which today issues letters of credit that allow Angolan companies to gain access to the key import markets. Since its inception, BESA has become the most efficient bank in the country for issuing these products and services, and the number of these services has grown quickly.
BESA launched the first private banking specialised service in Angola. It offers a specialised customer service; financial advisory services; cash management services for companies (in both the public and private sectors); the structuring and management of financial products; savings products; cross-border services and the real-time monitoring of international financial and capital markets.
Between 2003 and 2011, BESA increased its net income of $3.2m to approximately $339m – representing a tenfold increase on its 2003 results. Furthermore, between the period 2003-2011, deposits grew from $88m to $2.88bn, while loans rose from $21m to $5.01bn. During this time, the number of employees more than quintupled, from 94 in 2003 to 562 in 2011, a result of the bank’s expansion strategy – from six in 2003 to 36 in 2010.
In terms of return on equity, in 2003 the figure stood at 34 percent, in 2011 it reached 50 percent, while the market share of the bank’s assets grew from three percent to 18.5 percent over the same period. In addition, year-on-year, the bank’s results have continued to register a strong growth trend.
All units benefit from the bank’s heavy investment in information technology, which uses an advanced platform permitting each part access to an integrated products and services system that is used by the world’s biggest banks.
That gives BESA a big competitive advantage compared with its local rivals. The bank has also begun to move into other important segments of the financial services industry. Through its BESAACTIF unit it offers investment and pension funds to clients looking to expand their savings and to companies seeking such services.
Responsibility and sustainability
For BESA, the principle of ‘Private Contributor’ means being committed to the community and working together to achieve its most important goals. BESA bases its policy on environmental preservation (BESA Ambiente), social support and education (BESA Social) and recovery of the Angolan culture (BESA Cultura).
Among the many initiatives that the bank has established, the most important are the sponsorship of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the Education Programme of the Portuguese Language to Angolan Refugees, and the support to the Ministry of Environment project: African Forum for Sustainable Development.
BESA continues to support the development of photography in Angola by promoting the contest BESAfoto in partnership with World Press Photo. The year 2010 was marked by the first publication of the bank’s Sustainability Report on the work in this area until 2009. As such, BESA aims to promote sustainability projects, involving its structure as a whole, which far exceeds the provision of pure financial support.
Finally, one of the most important aspects of the bank’s activities is its CSR programmes. BESA understands the importance of education, science and culture to a growing economy, and participates in many different programmes to promote them, all to help improve the lives of Angolans on a daily basis.
Corporate and private banking
BESA’s focus is on the provision of a global, efficient and high-quality service to its individual and corporate clients. In retail banking, BESA operates a network of 36 branches across the country, while at the same time remaining dedicated to its core private banking services.
The corporate banking business mainly acts by enhancing commercial partnerships with SMEs operating in Angola, principally funding their investment projects, supporting their cash needs, and providing them with technical and legal support.
Drawing on its parent company, it also supports Portuguese companies and entrepreneurs that are expanding their activity to Angola. At the same time, BESA also has an important role in supporting exports to Angola, for which it is assisted by a specialised team. BESA’s area of investment banking has also been expanding in Luanda, tracking business opportunities and participating in the execution of project and corporate finance operations.
In particular, BESA co-led the structuring, arrangement and placement of the largest public debt issue carried out in Angola. From its outset, BESA has received recognition from international organisations, receiving accolades from some of the most prestigious financial magazines in the world.
These accreditations are critical factors for the bank’s success, as they highlight that it is focused on the key issues of innovation, new technologies, the development of relationships with stakeholders, continued growth results, the strengthening of market share, the determination to prove its competence in terms of international transactions, and also a wide offering of quality financial products and services to the needs of each client.
The bank’s bright future
In 2012, World Finance awarded the bank the title of Best Commercial Bank, Angola. In achieving this award, BESA was chosen thanks to its activity in the Angolan market, marked by the quality of the products and solutions provided to its clients, and by the constant innovation of its financial structure, thus enabling the institution to continue to offer high-quality services. In 2012, BESA celebrates its 10-year anniversary. It has been a decade marked by success, sustainability, strong financial results, emphatic work for the community, social equality and economic and environmental success – all of which combine to add value to customers, shareholders and stakeholders alike.