Antoinette Kwofie, Shattering the Glass Ceiling In the Finance World

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There is a gender gap in the finance industry and it’s no secret that this industry is very male-dominated. However, some women have made some strides and continue to be a force to reckon with when it comes to the banking and finance industry. Being the only female Executive member of the Ghana Bankers Association CFO Network, which brought her rich experience to bear on driving thought leadership and robust engagement of regulatory authorities to improve the banking Industry, Mrs. Antoinette Kwofie, Executive Director, Finance, Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd., is changing the narrative of women in finance.There is a gender gap in the finance industry and it’s no secret that this industry is very male-dominated. However, some women have made some strides and continue to be a force to reckon with when it comes to the banking and finance industry. Being the only female Executive member of the Ghana Bankers Association CFO Network, which brought her rich experience to bear on driving thought leadership and robust engagement of regulatory authorities to improve the banking Industry, Mrs. Antoinette Kwofie, Executive Director, Finance, Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd., is changing the narrative of women in finance.

A results-oriented and focused professional motivated strongly by achievement and progress and endowed with drive and dedication to goal-setting and achievement, Mrs. Antoinette Kwofie has a proven track record of consistently creating value and exceeding business performance through successful implementation of business strategy, driving change whilst managing risk and developing high performance teams.

A certified Chartered Accountant with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ghana, Legon, and a member of Barclays ILEAD Cohort 1 (the first group selected for the prestigious talent development programme run by Duke Corporate Education, 2012), Mrs. Kwofie, prior to joining Barclays, worked in senior finance roles within the National Health Service in the UK, where she was instrumental in driving change within the Finance Function in the health service. Her experience also cuts across audit, financial consulting as well as banking.

Right from joining Barclays Bank Ghana in September 2007, there was no doubt Antoinette was going to change the face of the banking sector with her rich experience and strong will to succeed.  She held a number of senior roles within the Finance Function including Head of Business Performance and Analytics as well as Financial Controller. Prior to her current position, she was appointed as the Finance Director/CFO in May 2014, after successfully leading different units within the finance team and acting in the role for a year.

Under her strong leadership support, the business continued to optimise its geographic footprint and its improved returns while strengthening capital ratios.

• Profit before tax grew by 30 per cent to an industry first of GHS50m (GHS423m in 2016).

• Return on equity improved significantly to 42 per cent (It was 48 per cent the previous year).

• Return on earning assets rose to 8.2 per cent from 7.4 per cent the previous year.

• Cost to income ratio improved significantly to 36 percent, one of the lowest in the industry

Having demonstrated strong leadership skills and ability to build and lead high performance teams, Antoinette was appointed to the Board of Barclays Bank Ghana as an Executive Director in February 2017.

She provided strategic leadership to a team of 39 Finance, Tax, Product Control and Management Information (MI) analysts in the areas of accounting, financial reporting (including statutory and regulatory reporting), financial control, business performance management, strategic planning and Product Control.

Under her leadership as the CFO, the performance of Barclays Bank Ghana  consistently exceeded its targets, resulting in the business regaining its position as the most profitable bank in the local banking industry (for 2 years running) and within the Barclays Africa Group Subsidiaries. The achievement of higher returns on equity has also been a trademark of her performance. In addition, her passion for operational excellence has translated into greater efficiency focus across the bank as well as greater focus on innovation. The marked progress seen on her watch has led to employee engagement being at its highest within the finance function and other units as well. She is also the executive in charge of driving the use of analytics within the business to guide decision-making.

From substantially growing the bank on all measures to changing how Barclays Ghana measures and rewards performance through the Balanced Scorecard, Antoinette has significantly contributed to moving Barclays Ghana firmly towards its goal of becoming the ‘Go-To’ bank for clients, customers, colleagues and stakeholders.
Antoinette sits on the Board of Phoenix Insurance as a Non-Executive Director contributing to the strategic direction of the organisation. Her contribution has impacted the profitability of the business positively.

She also sits on the Trustee Board of the Barclays Bank Tier-2 Pension and Tier-3 Provident Fund Boards. Her robust challenge and insightful contributions have helped grow both funds significantly. She chairs the Investment Committee of both Funds, and has consistently delivered above-market returns for the past 5 years, without increasing unnecessarily, the risk profile of the funds.

Being driven by her passion for people development, especially the youth, she sees in experienced people providing guidance and direction to the youth of today. In line with this passion, she occasionally lectures and takes up a number of speaking engagements with the University of Ghana Business School. She is also the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership and Events lead of Barclays Gana and has been a key part of the team driving diversity and inclusion in the bank. She mentors a number of young people, both in and outside the universities. Through these engagements, some of these young people have found careers, not just jobs, and to others, the listening ear provided helped them surmount challenges. Seeing young people find their purpose and get fulfilled bring her great satisfaction.

She also has a track record in the Ghanaian and South African Regulatory reporting standards, Basel II and III Advanced Capital Reporting and IFRS reporting.

Over the years, she has successfully led and delivered several projects successfully. She delivered substantial efficiency savings in her current and previous roles within Barclays through initiatives she developed and implemented. Process improvement is a key part of what she achieved during her 5-year stint with the NHS in the UK, as she sought to automate and simplify budgeting and reporting among other tasks there.

Her enormous contribution to the finance sector, has won her a number of awards.  In 2017, she was named the CFO of the year for Ghana’s banking sector at the 3rd CFO Awards organised by Instinct Wave. Barely a year after, she emerged the Woman CFO of the Year at the 4th Finance Innovation Awards. The finance amazon is ranked one of the top 5 female performers in Barclays, an award which gained her entry into the prestigious Women in Leadership programme in Barclays Emerging Markets.

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