This is how South Africa’s biggest financial companies are converging

The fintech opportunity in Africa is large and growing, driven by a young population that is predominantly unbanked, says Dominique Collett senior investment executive at Rand Merchant Investments.

This opportunity has led to South Africa’s biggest financial companies expanding into sectors which have typically been dominated by other players such as insurance and banking, she said in a presentation at BusinessTech’s Digital Banking Conference on Thursday (5 March).

She highlighted companies such as Discovery which expanded into the banking sphere in 2019 and now has around 80,000 customers.

While this customer base is still much smaller than other traditional banks, she pointed to the fact that Discovery had already seen R1.2 billion in deposits which highlights the strength of the brand and the good faith it has built.

At the other end of the spectrum, she pointed to insurer Outsurance which has continued to push towards sectors such as financing and telematics.

To illustrate this point, Collet pointed to how South Africa’s major banks have all entered into partnerships or formed their own start-ups.



According to Collett, the main industries that South Africa’s biggest financial companies are now focusing on are:

  • Insurtech;
  • SME solutions;
  • Digital banking;
  • Proptech.

“The fact that FNB launched a ‘zero bank account’ before Bank Zero even launched shows how seriously they are taking this threat,” she said.

“Banks and insurers have finally begun to realise that they will grow a bit faster if they partner with some of these smaller fintech companies.”

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This is how South Africa’s biggest financial companies are converging