The story of the year

Our strategic focus to build the leading African integrated financial services group is advancing well. The year under review marked a number of notable achievements, including the completion of the disposal of a 60% stake in Standard Bank Plc to ICBC, which is the final hurdle in repositioning our international operations and in redeploying our capital to support our Africa-focused growth strategy. We also achieved profitability of our rest of Africa retail banking operations for the first time.

We continue to position the group for the future, putting our customers and clients at the centre of everything we do. In line with the realities of risk, regulation, technology and competition that are shaping the African landscape, we are investing significantly in our diversified operations, our people and culture, our systems and infrastructure, and our brand. We understand that our commercial success over the long term depends on the social relevance and outcomes of our contribution as a financial services organisation that serves the real economies of this continent we call home.

Group chief executives’ report

Discusses how we are optimising our business and operating models in support of our Africa strategy.

Financial review

Provides insight into financial performance and the impact of the economic environment on key financial ratios.

Business unit reviews

Describe how our strategy is executed at business unit level according to their operating contexts and business models.

Our operating context

Provides an overview of the context in which we execute our strategy, in relation to our material issues.

The ultimate test of our strategy is whether it will enable us to deliver superior ROE and sustainable growth in earnings – either immediately or in the very near future and whether superior performance will be sustained over the long term.

A strategy refresh was undertaken during the year to express this goal more explicitly and to provide a strategic construct to guide the execution of the group strategy within our business units and enabling functions. It is aimed at improving the effectiveness of our execution to become more competitive in the financial services markets we serve. The strategy refresh provides a principles-based strategic construct to guide the execution of strategies at business unit level according to their unique business models and market drivers.

Our group strategic construct

Sets out the building blocks of our strategy and the thinking that underpins each of them.

Measuring our strategic progress

ROE is our primary measure of progress in delivering on our purpose and vision and thereby creating value for shareholders.

Chairman’s report to stakeholders

Discusses the board’s responsibility for oversight and strategic guidance as we execute our Africa strategy.

Group chief executives’ report

Provides further insight into each of the building blocks of our rearticulated strategy.

The digital revolution in financial services offers increasing opportunities to improve our engagement with customers, develop customised products and services and enable more cost-effective distribution platforms and faster, more reliable back-end processes. The group’s response to these developments has been to make significant investments in establishing and maintaining cost-effective, efficient and relevant IT infrastructure.

The role of IT within the group has shifted fundamentally from being a support function to becoming a critical enabler of our strategy. It lies at the heart of our ability to constantly adapt to a changing world and create sustainable long-term value for our stakeholders.

IT report

Details the group’s IT strategy and how it supports risk management and regulatory compliance.

Group chief executives’ report

Provides an update on the group’s progress in its core banking transformation programme.

Corporate governance report

Sets out the IT governance structure for the group.

Personal & Business Banking review

Describes how we are using IT to improve efficiency, effectiveness and innovation in the retail banking space.

In a rapidly transforming operating environment, and particularly for a multinational organisation like Standard Bank, the board’s dual role of providing oversight and strategic guidance is becoming increasingly complex. To manage this complexity, we must ensure that the board has the necessary depth of experience to engage with stakeholders and executive teams at group and country-level.

Equally important is to continually optimise our governance systems, structures, policies and processes to ensure they support the delicate balances required to create value in dynamic and complex environments – balancing control and flexibility; accountability and empowerment; and penalty and reward.

Chairman’s overview

Discusses key activities in aligning the group’s governance structures to the Africa strategy.

Corporate governance report

Details the group’s governance structures and the diversity of experience in the board’s composition

Remuneration report

Describes the role of remuneration in driving strategic execution, ultimately measured through earnings growth and ROE.

Summarised risk and capital management report

Discusses how the group manages risk and capital as it pursues growth opportunities in Africa.

As an integrated financial services group providing banking and insurance services to the real economy, we are a part of and facilitate at a fundamental level the economic growth and social development of the economies we serve. Ultimately, the most significant outcomes of our business activities are in their contribution to socioeconomic development, which we can only achieve through remaining profitable and staying relevant to the societies we serve.

In South Africa, the group’s Tutuwa Black Economic Empowerment scheme’s 10- year lock-in period ended on 31 December 2014. Since inception, the Tutuwa initiative has generated wealth of R10,7 billion for approximately 6 100 current and former Standard Bank black managers, 261 black SMEs and two empowerment partners.

How we create value

Links our business activities to social outcomes.

Group chief executives’ report

Provides further detail on the Tutuwa Black Economic Empowerment Scheme.

Our socioeconomic impact

Provides key financial and non-financial metrics that quantify the group’s socioeconomic impact.

Our indirect environmental impact

Describes how our business activities and conduct mitigates environmental risk.

Related downloads

Risk and capital management report and annual financial statements

Our risk and capital management report provides a detailed discussion of the management of strategic risks related to the group’s banking and insurance operations, including capital and liquidity management and regulatory developments.

The full audited annual financial statements for Standard Bank Group, including the report of the group audit committee, is included in this document.

Sustainability report

Presents a balanced and comprehensive analysis of the group’s sustainability performance in relation to issues material to the group and its stakeholders.

Notice to members

Sets out the agenda and related information for the annual general meeting on 28 May 2015.

Proxy forms

Provides proxy forms for ordinary and preference shareholders.