One message the new Investec Group top brass aims to convey is that on its watch there are no sacred cows. New CEOs Fani Titi and Hendrik du Toit have shut down the online investment platform in the UK, Click & Invest, which was losing £12.8m a year. On top of this, £6m of capitalised software was written off in the year to March 31. "We are not a unicorn — our shareholders won’t tolerate heavy IT losses for too long," says Du Toit. Investec would have been considered a unicorn back in the 1980s and early 1990s — long before anybody used the word unicorn in this sense — when it stood out as an innovator relative to the high street banks. It had a branchless model 30 years before Discovery. Yet Investec has underperformed the banking sector over the past decade. The group’s return on equity has inched up from 12.1% to 12.9% but that makes it barely half that of FirstRand. To remedy this, it is selling subscale businesses, including its wealth business in Ireland for a welcome €44m. B...

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