One of the central premises of the literature on financialisation is that we have been living in a new era of capitalism, characterised by a historical shift in the finance-production nexus. Finance has expanded to a disproportionate economic size and, more importantly, has divorced from productive economic pursuits. In this paper, we explore these claims of ‘expansion’ and ‘divorce’ based on a longue durée analysis of the link between finance and production in Senegal and Ghana. As such, we de-centre the dominant approach to financialisation. Seen from the South, we argue that although there has been expansion of financial motives and practices the ‘divorce’ between the financial and the productive economy cannot be considered a new empirical phenomenon having occurred during the last decades and even less an epochal shift of the capitalist system. The tendency for finance to neglect the needs of the domestic productive sector has been the structural operation of finance in many parts of the Global South over the last 150 years. Therefore, one cannot put forward a theory of the evolution of finance under capitalism without taking these crucial historical insights into account.