Barclays' legal department is undergoing a significant restructuring in Africa, which will create an entirely new legal team in Johannesburg
"The aim is to improve risk management and bring everyone together," said a spokesperson for Barclays. Currently, Barclays operates in 11 countries in Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Sey-chelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Egypt. At present, there is a small legal function in only five of the regions, each carrying the responsibility for their own territory. Where no legal function is present, the bankers report directly to the managing director on legal matters. Barclays aims to create two legal hubs - one in Johannesburg, which will have sole responsibility for South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius and Seychelles, and one in Kenya, which will operate Tanzania and Uganda. Ghana and Egypt currently have their own legal functions, albeit very small, and these will also be overseen by the lawyers in Johannesburg. Where there is a legal capability in any of the territories, it will be supervised centrally by either Johannesburg or Kenya. As yet, there are no concrete plans to review Barclays' external lawyers, although the decision will lie with the central teams, as and when they are in place. Three senior lawyers, one of which will head up the whole operation, will be recruited to Johannesburg, but as yet none have been named. Barclays uses a range of law firms in South Africa, including Webber Wentzel Bowens and Bowman Gilfillan for banking and finance work, but there is no strict panel.