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The New York skyline is seen from the 85th floor of One World Trade Center, where Zimbabwe’s Bard Santner Inc. has opened an office.

Bard Santner opens New York office to tap into US capital market

NEW YORK – Bard Santner Inc., a financial services firm based in Zimbabwe, has opened an office in New York to tap into the world’s largest capital market and expand its offshore operations.

The firm, which has interests in asset management, wealth management, corporate finance, remittances, and commodity trading, said it opened its New York office last week on the 85th floor of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Bard Santner has banking relationships with J.P. Morgan and Citibank, which it said would provide financial and strategic advantages for its New York operations, especially in facilitating investment and financial transactions.

The firm said it plans to venture into commodity trading from Asian countries and also provide advisory services from the New York office, focusing on helping businesses in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to raise capital and facilitate investment.

Bard Santner is chaired by Mauritian-based Vino Bussawah, with four local Zimbabwean directors. The firm currently has a presence in Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mauritius.

“With our deep understanding of local markets and expertise in financial management, we have positioned ourselves well to offer customised solutions to businesses looking to expand and attract investors into the region,” Bard Santner chief Senziwani Sikhosana said in a statement.

“By leveraging our extensive networks and partnerships, we effectively tap into emerging markets, consistently staying ahead of the competition curve.”

Sikhosana said the firm decided to open an office in New York, one of the world’s financial hubs, because of the significant growth opportunities for global capital in the SADC economies.

“This is an exciting time for us, especially considering that the US has the world’s largest venture capital market. Naturally, we are eager to tap into this vast potential. The ultimate goal is to become the preferred partner for companies and other organisations operating in the dynamic and rapidly evolving SADC marketplace,” he said.

Sikhosana said Bard Santner was well-placed in the region and overseas to offer channels for capital movements and investment, but also acknowledged the challenges of local capital markets in Africa.

“Most of the big deals are structured and closed outside the continent; with majority if not all them done in the US, Europe or China. This is not by chance though. Structuring such big investment transactions for different companies, big, small or start-ups, operating in different and multiple countries requires an interplay of advanced finance and legal expertise, and an understanding of the relevant macro-economic environments, as well as mature capital markets that facilitate efficient execution of the deals and flow of funds,” he said.

“Capital markets in most countries across Africa and in the region are still at their nascent stages of growth; and this explains why most big investment deals are negotiated, structured and closed outside the continent. In addition, the financial services sector in most countries in Africa is not sufficiently capitalised to take on large investment deals locally. As a result, there has been syndication of deals with global partners.”

In April 2023, Bard Santner mobilised Zimbabwean capital market players and executives of Victoria Falls Stock Exchange-listed companies to an investors’ conference in London.

Executives from corporate giants which included Innscor Africa, Karo Platinum, Caledonia Mining Limited, and Seedco Group attended the conference which was held at the London Stock Exchange where the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube gave the keynote address. A number business executives also spoke at the conference.

Bard Santner’s chief said the conference received positive feedback from the firm’s local and regional clients, which boosted its confidence in its venture into New York. He said the New York office would help the firm unlock value for its clients, investors and economies, while presenting a fresh portfolio of assets to the world.