Ownership structure and operating model

The original business, which eventually became FirstRand Limited in 1998, was founded in the 1970s as a specialist investment bank by three entrepreneurs, GT Ferreira, Laurie Dippenaar and Paul Harris

Since then, the founders, together with a long-standing and stable management team, have created one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa. The founders still retain a significant equity stake in FirstRand through RMB Holdings and Laurie Dippenaar is the group's non-executive chairman. 
FirstRand was created in its current form in February 1998 through the disposal of Anglo American's interests in First National Bank and Southern Life, and the merger of these assets with RMB and Momentum; one of the largest transactions in the history of local financial services. 
In February 2005, FirstRand sold an effective 10% interest in the group to five broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partners and previously disadvantaged FirstRand staff. The BEE partners, Kagiso Trust Investments (KTI), Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) and Women's Development Businesses (WDB) represent broad-based communities. 
The BEE partners were selected because they share FirstRand's objectives of enhancing BEE by addressing the needs of a wide constituency. In addition, the BEE partners have excellent reputations, successful track records and long-standing relations with FirstRand and each other. They have agreed to retain their shares until 2018 and by the middle of 2015 significant value from the scheme will cascade down to a broad group of beneficiaries in the underlying trusts through dividends.
In January 2015, 66.7 million FirstRand ordinary shares and 12.6 million MMI ordinary shares were sold on behalf of the beneficiaries of the FirstRand BEE staff scheme who elected to sell their shares.
"The group is extremely proud to have been able to generate such significant value for the participants in its BEE scheme, which overall represents a total of R23 billion. We are particularly pleased that so many of our employees have benefited from the group's success over the past ten years with a total of R6 billion of value created for almost 13 000 people through the staff schemes, " Sizwe Nxasana (CEO: FirstRand Limited at the time) announced.
Differentiated by its owner-manager culture, FirstRand executes its strategy through a portfolio of leading financial services businesses comprising FNB, RMB, WesBank, Ashburton Investments and Aldermore and provides a universal set of transactional, lending, investment and insurance products and services. FCC represents group-wide functions.


Retail and commercial banking

FNB offers a diverse set of financial products and services to market segments including consumer, small business, agricultural, medium corporate, parastatals and government entities. FNB's products include mortgage loans, credit and debit cards, personal loans and investment products. Services include transactional and deposit taking, card acquiring, credit facilities and distribution channels (namely, the branch network, ATMs, call centres, cellphone and internet). This full range of products and services is also provided by FNB's African network.



Corporate and investment banking

RMB is the corporate and investment banking arm of FirstRand. Offering innovative, value-added advisory, funding, trading, corporate banking and principal investing solutions, RMB is the market leader in South Africa. It has a deal footprint across 35 African countries and offices in Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya and also operates in the UK, India and China.



Instalment finance

WesBank is the leader in asset-based finance solutions in South Africa. The company is focused on providing quality asset finance and fleet management solutions for a number of market sectors. WesBank's asset finance portfolio includes aviation, agriculture, commercial and company vehicles, plant and office equipment, public sector and franchise finance solutions.



Asset management

FirstRand is in the process of organically and incrementally building an investment management business within its portfolio (independent of but sitting alongside the bank). The strategy is a non-traditional investment management offering, as this plays to the strengths and track records of the Group’s existing origination investment and structuring businesses, although it will also continue to offer traditional products, particularly to its wealth and retail clients. In line with the Group’s multi-branding strategy, the new business is branded Ashburton Investments, and traditional and alternative products will be marketed through this franchise. Traditional products will in the main be originated by the original Ashburton asset management business, which has a 30-year track record as an active investment manager, and the alternative products will initially be provided by RMB.