2019 will represent the fifth consecutive AfrAsia Bank Mauritian Open (ABMO) as an event, drawing a growing number of professional golfers from the 3 Tours – Europe, Sunshine, Asia. It is clearly an auspicious anniversary, worthy of celebration.
MGT: Many of the participating pro golfers have specifically expressed their gratitude to AfrAsia Bank for its leading sponsorship role for the Mauritius Open... Why did the Bank choose this flagship event, and golf as a sport, to tie its brand to?
Thierry Vallet: Golf is the ideal sport to mix performance, socialising and skilled networking, AfrAsia chose this sport since our inception as we believe that golfers share similar characteristics to us as a private bank: strength, flexibility, and being bold and different.
Our aim is to have AfrAsia as the reference Corporate and Private bank in the region; with the goal of becoming the No.1 choice of bank within the HNWI community and raising the profile of Mauritius as an international hub. Therefore, the ABMO was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of our brand even further. Furthermore, we were incredibly fortunate to have federated top Mauritian stakeholders, both private and public, who joined us to make this event possible, and to create the biggest sporting event in the region. Finally, what an opportunity for Mauritius to be broadcast for more than 20 hours live to some 400 million households around the world…
MGT: Being the main sponsor of the world’s first ever tri-sanctioned golf tournament seems to tie in perfectly with the AfrAsia’s description of itself as ‘the bank that builds bridges between Africa, Asia and the World’... a happy coincidence?
T.V.: We have conjured our entrepreneurial DNA to bring forward an integrated offering for our Clients. Whilst we do this through each stage of business, we also look to ‘connect’ with them globally, building bridges throughout the world, and of course the Africa-Asia corridor is our reference point and where we start! So, to have been the pioneer, the Principal Sponsor and Co-Organiser of the first ever tri-sanctioned Golf Tournament was an amazing opportunity that we could not miss... Doubtless, it was a bold decision at that time to take up such a challenge, but what a great event we created for Mauritius, the Golfing Industry; the Hospitality Industry and the Financial Sector... with an amazing visibility in Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world.
We have clients in about 150 different countries, and we received messages from all over the world, with people telling us saying that they saw the tournament on TV, how magnificent the images were... We hope that this has contributed not only to bring more business in Mauritius for AfrAsia, but for all the stakeholders and Mauritius in general.
MGT: Evidently the strategic objectives of AfrAsia Bank within the region are being met as part of its corporate development, but does sponsoring ABMO provide direct benefits accruing to AfrAsia from its role with this tournament?
T.V.: It is always difficult to measure the direct benefits of sport sponsorship, but the AfrAsia brand has definitely seen great benefits locally, regionally, and even beyond.
Obviously, the TV and online exposure during the golfing week promoted AfrAsia Bank which resulted in increased traffic to our website and other touch points. Promotion of AfrAsia products heightened and the event supported our value proposition – going far beyond products and services, building on and showcasing the importance of meaningful and long-term relationships.
The growth of AfrAsia Bank over the last 12 years has been consistent, from a greenfield project to a success story for Mauritius, as a pioneer in the Private Banking sector at that time. It has also helped to position Mauritius as a preferred Private Banking Jurisdiction for Africa and Asia today.
MGT: The principal shareholder of AfrAsia Bank is also the largest conglomerate in Mauritius, involved in property development, hotels, and tourism related projects... is this a good example a ‘virtuous’ circle of strategy, investment, development, or are all these entities working quite independently of each other?
T.V.: AfrAsia is owned by various shareholders, Mauritians and foreigners alike, and we are proud to operate completely independently from them. However, having the largest conglomerate on the Island as Anchor Shareholder definitely allows us to position ourselves as a bank that is truly Mauritian, and also as a bank that everyone can be confident to do business with.
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of our business; a value that our main shareholders also share with us. We want to be a passionate partner to accompany our clients on their journey, whether they are an International Corporate, an Entrepreneur, Private Individual, or their family and friends.
MGT: An increasing number of pro golfers have expressed interest in investing in the Mauritian golf lifestyle they’ve seen during their time at the tournament... Does AfrAsia facilitate or even offer financial packages for individual investors considering setting up in Mauritius?
T.V.: Whether the client is a Pro Golfer or not, AfrAsia will facilitate the migration of HNWIs in Mauritius through our strategic partners and our extensive network.
We welcome any investors who see AfrAsia as a potential partner/bank of choice.
As a bank created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, we design tailor-made innovative investment solutions for all our investors, ensuring a quick and effective service. Our open architecture investment platform and, more importantly, our knowledgeable private and wealth managers complement our offerings.
AfrAsia wants to be seen not only as the Best Mauritian Private Bank, but also as one of the most trusted Bank in the Indian Ocean, and Africa as well.
MGT: As an avid golfer, and the GM of AfrAsia Bank, sponsor of the most prestigious golfing event in the entire region, what are the personal emotions that you experience both as its representative, and as a participant?
T.V.: This event brought me a great sense of joy on both a personal and professional level. As a golfer and the GM of AfrAsia, sponsoring this event was a unique opportunity to pair with some of the best golfers in the world - I certainly learnt a few top tips. Even more importantly, as co-chair of the first ABMO organising committee with Ryan Dodds, I was deeply involved in the setting up of the event from start to finish...
What a fantastic journey we went through, and with the help of lot of fabulous persons on the team... Mauritius has a reservoir of talents! It was phenomenal to see the ABMO being recognised worldwide and, more importantly, appreciated by several of the world’s top golfers, describing it as: ‘The Most Beautiful Golf Tournament in the World’ It was an incredible experience seeing both Mauritius and AfrAsia make headlines worldwide