Who Owns UBA Bank?

The united bank for Africa(UBA) is a leading pan-African financial services group with a presence in 20 African countries, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Dubai.

Who Owns UBA Bank?

With its extensive reach and growing influence, understanding its ownership structure becomes crucial for various stakeholders, including investors, analysts, and customers.

This blog post delves into the intricate details of UBA’s ownership, shedding light on the key players and governance framework.

From Humble Beginnings to a Pan-African Powerhouse:

UBA’s roots trace back to 1949 when the British and French Bank (BFB) commenced operations in Nigeria. Following Nigerian independence, UBA was incorporated in 1961, taking over BFB’s assets and liabilities. In 1970, it became the first Nigerian bank to go public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), marking a significant milestone in its journey.

The Elumelu Factor: A Pivotal Role in Shaping UBA’s direction

UBA’s ownership structure has evolved over the years, with several key players shaping its direction. However, the most prominent figure in recent times is undoubtedly Tony Elumelu, a renowned Nigerian economist, philanthropist, and investor. Through his investment holding company, Heirs Holdings, Elumelu acquired a significant stake in UBA in 2005, playing a pivotal role in the bank’s subsequent growth and expansion.

Understanding Heirs Holdings and its Influence:

Heirs Holdings, established by Elumelu in 2010, serves as a strategic investment vehicle with a diversified portfolio across various sectors, including financial services, power, hospitality, and oil & gas. As of December 2023, Heirs Holdings held a 5.73% direct stake in UBA, making it one of the largest individual shareholders.

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A Diverse Shareholder Landscape:

It’s crucial to recognize that UBA’s ownership is not solely concentrated in Heirs Holdings. The bank boasts a diverse shareholder base, with the remaining shares distributed among institutional investors, retail investors, and other stakeholders.

As of December 2023, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) reported institutional investors holding approximately 66.43% of UBA’s shares, highlighting the significant participation of investment firms and asset managers.

Governance Framework: Ensuring Transparency and Accountability:

UBA operates under a well-defined governance framework designed to ensure transparency, accountability, and responsible decision-making.

The bank’s board of directors comprises experienced individuals with diverse expertise, responsible for overseeing strategic direction, monitoring management performance, and safeguarding shareholder interests.

Additionally, UBA adheres to regulatory guidelines set forth by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other relevant authorities.

Addressing Common Questions:

Is UBA a government-owned bank?

No, UBA is not a government-owned bank. While the Nigerian government may hold some shares through various entities, its ownership stake is not significant enough to exert control over the bank’s operations.

Does Tony Elumelu control UBA?

While Heirs Holdings holds a notable stake in UBA, it doesn’t translate to absolute control. UBA operates under a board-driven governance structure, ensuring decision-making reflects the interests of all stakeholders, not just individual shareholders.

Who are the other major shareholders of UBA?

Due to the dynamic nature of the stock market, identifying specific major shareholders beyond Heirs Holdings and institutional investors can be challenging. However, the Nigerian Stock Exchange website provides periodic disclosures on significant shareholdings, offering valuable insights into the evolving ownership landscape.

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Can I invest in UBA? 

Yes, UBA’s shares are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other international exchanges, allowing individual investors to participate in its ownership.

Who is the founder of UBA?

UBA was not founded by a single individual but emerged from the merger of two established banks: Standard Trust Bank and UBA Plc.

What are the benefits of UBA’s public ownership structure?

Public ownership fosters transparency, accountability, and wider participation in the bank’s success. It also allows for easier access to capital and broader market reach.

How can I invest in UBA?

Investors can purchase UBA shares through licensed stockbrokers or investment platforms on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


UBA’s ownership structure reflects a blend of individual initiatives, institutional participation, and adherence to regulatory frameworks. Understanding this intricate web of stakeholders is crucial for various parties seeking to engage with the bank, assess its future prospects, and navigate the broader financial landscape in Africa. As UBA continues its journey as a pan-African financial powerhouse, its ownership structure will likely evolve, reflecting the ever-changing dynamics of the financial services industry.

Richard okechukwu Chinedu

FinTech enthusiast with a passion for making financial technology accessible and understandable. I break down complex concepts into actionable insights to empower readers to navigate the ever-evolving world of FinTech.

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