Stephen Cranston Associate editor

It is quite sad news that Alan Pullinger, head of FirstRand, which recently reported strong earnings growth, will not be holding a bonfire to burn R200 notes. I was looking around Merchant Place hoping to see the CEO of SA’s leading bank beside a dummy of a dishevelled creature asking for a "penny for the guy". Instead, these notes will be redirected towards supporting the group’s asset manager, Ashburton. It still has to get to the size where it can meet its costs, and it could be many years before it meets FirstRand’s outlandish return-on-equity expectations. The bank did not make life easy for Ashburton boss Boshoff Grobler when it reincorporated the main cash cows, such as the private wealth manager, into FNB. The RMB private client portfolios, run by Paolo Senatore, had been the flagship operation in Ashburton. It was left with the institutional clients such as pension funds or wholesale relationships via brokers. I never liked previous FirstRand CEO Johan Burger’s vision for A...

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