JOHANNESBURG—Africa's largest lender has concluded a lengthy review of its $2m public relations mandate by retaining incumbent agency Magna Carta.

Standard Bank's decision, which was confirmed by a spokesman, follows a competitive pitch that began six months ago, eventually culminating in a choice between Omnicom agency Magna Carta and FTI Consulting.

Magna Carta has handled the South African bank's business across Africa for the past 12 years, while FTI Consulting will continue to oversee PR duties in London.

The mandate covers 17 African markets, along with South Africa, and ranges from high-level strategic counsel and issues management to retail and consumer activation.

Magna Carta's new contract will run until the end of 2016, and sees the firm support the bank across three key units — group level; personal and business banking; and corporate and investment banking.

“We are very excited to continue our 12-year relationship with Standard Bank and are fully aware that our biggest challenge will be to continue being innovative and creative on an account that we have managed for such a long time,” said Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta, which was named 2013 African PR Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report.

The largest African bank by assets and earnings, Standard Bank is now present in 18 African countries, after beginning life in 1862. The company is currently in talks to sell its London-based commodity trading business to china's ICBC, which already owns 20 percent of the South African bank.