Marcus prepares to take over at Reserve Bank

Gill Marcus, who will succeed Tito Mboweni as governor of the South African Reserve Bank next month, joined as an adviser on Thursday, marking her return to the central bank after five years in the private sector.

President Jacob Zuma announced the appointment in July, which was well received by investors given her credentials as a previous deputy governor and deputy finance minister.

Marcus (59), a former activist within the African National Congress and seen as close to Zuma, was head of the country’s largest retail banking group, Absa.

“Generally, and my views are shared by the market, she is a welcome addition to the Reserve Bank. She is generally a well-received choice as governor,” George Glynos, managing director at market analysts ETM, said.

Although seen by some analysts as more left-leaning than Mboweni, Marcus’s arrival is not expected to lead to a change in the central bank’s relatively conservative monetary policy stance, particularly given that inflation targeting remains its mandate.

The government and ANC have both stressed that policy will not change.

Glynos said he hoped Marcus’s tenure at the bank would lead to a more consistent and clear message on the bank’s monetary stance.

“We want fewer surprises and more clarity on Reserve Bank thinking,” he said.

The central bank’s rates-setting policy committee has surprised economists a number of times over the past two years in their decisions, the latest being a 50-basis-point cut in August after hinting at the prior meeting that the cycle may have bottomed out.

Mboweni, who has knocked suggestions he and Marcus clashed during her time as his deputy governor between 1999 and 2004, told shareholders last month the bank was in good hands.

“Ms Marcus is no stranger to the bank or to the financial sector, and I know that I will be leaving the bank in extremely capable hands,” he said.

Mboweni leaves the central bank on November 6 after more than a decade as governor.—Reuters

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