As Seen in Forbes Africa: ACBM Disrupts Investment Banking Market

ACBM might be a name you haven’t heard of yet, but this new, ambitious investment bank is leading a revolution.

3 years ago   •   3 min read

By Angelique Tzanakakis

Describing itself as ‘the world’s first regulated, digitally-native investment bank’, its rapidly-growing business customer base enjoy the freedom of managing their finances from their mobile phones. While we expect this convenience in consumer banking, it’s far from the norm in the complex world of investment banking.

Customisation is what makes ACBM unique. Its services are built like an app - customers manage their multiple accounts from an easy-to-use dashboard on their mobiles. They even get to choose the information the dashboards display, managing their cash-flows, payments and investments from the same place. Customers can make real-time international transfers. Some can open a new account in a matter of hours. And importantly, customers have the reassurance that ACBM’s services meet the compliance and regulatory requirements of today’s cross border trade.

“We set out to reinvent investment banking, to make it simple. We want to put businesses and investors back in control of their banking,” explains Simon Tobelem, ACBM CEO, co-founder and veteran of the corporate finance industry.

ACBM’s disruptive approach is winning over businesses, multi-entity corporations, investors and high-net worth individuals across the world. Last year the company established its headquarters in Mauritius, illustrating the importance of customers managing investments into and out of Africa.

Cloud-first strategy is a game-changer

ACBM’s game-changing approach has been made possible because it has built its business from the ground up on the cloud. Its unique banking platform, developed in-house, runs on Google Cloud Platform. This cloud-first strategy affords unparalleled agility.

Conversely, traditional financial institutions are weighed down with overhauling their legacy systems as they slowly adopt digital banking. “Migrating customers from their existing infrastructure is difficult, slow and very risky,” says Tobelem.

Innovation drives customer-centricity

For ACBM, agility and innovation go hand in hand. Take ACBM’s unique onboarding process for new customers. For a traditional bank, this can take months as it manually gathers forms, validates information and runs multiple risk profile checks. The result is frustrated, impatient customers. In contrast, ACBM developed its own onboarding app and integrated it with Google Workspace. The result is a much faster process where the customer feels in control and their first interaction with the bank is a positive and seamless experience.

Innovative service features like fast onboarding and a customisable dashboard require regular updating at the backend. ACBM’s software development team uses Google Kubernetes Engine as the underlying infrastructure to enable this. Developers can build and deploy apps at speed, and the apps can handle any peaks in customer usage.

“We’ve designed the platform in a way that everything is sized to be limitless and universal, while new services and features can be easily scaled, changed and connected. Our IT is blockchain, AI and future ready. We don’t have older technology to maintain. It’s our IT architecture approach that makes us endlessly customisable,” Tobelem elaborates.

Gregory MacLennan, CEO of Digicloud Africa, Google’s Enablement Partner in Africa, comments: “ACBM has set the bar high in digital banking in Africa and it’s been a privilege to be part of ACBM’s unique approach. We’re very excited to see what ACBM will do next!”

Security is paramount

Of course, with IT at the heart of everything it does, data protection, privacy and compliance are top priorities. “Security is paramount,” says Tobelem. “Protecting each customer’s information is no less important than protecting their money.” ACBM works with Google partner DotModus to navigate the complex regulatory requirements. Together they ensure ACBM’s cloud platforms, apps and processes are secure, robust and resilient.

Tobelem says the corporate banks are trying to catch-up, but he’s confident ACBM will keep outpacing them. He concludes with his vision for the company: “In the same way Google has become the backbone of the Internet, we want the ACBM platform to become the backbone of digital finance."

Spread the word

Keep reading