Stanlib’s Junaid Bayat on how he found his niche

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Junaid Bayat is a family man, a lover of music and movies, and head of finance at Stanlib.

It was a sibling who was one of the driving forces behind Junaid Bayat’s decision to venture into finance, he says.

“My older brother Zain was very instrumental in my choice to become an accountant. He recommended accounting before I even knew what accounting was all about,” he recalls.

Family can steer one in the right or wrong direction, but Zain’s advice proved to be sound, and it was the right fit for Junaid. According to Junaid, finance was a great choice and accounting was a natural fit for him.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey in finance through the years.”

It was not always an easy road as Junaid had to start his working career whilst studying on a part-time basis. That means long study hours and long nights whilst having a young family and a fledgling career to develop and mould.

His career started off as an accounts administrator at a manufacturing company and he quickly progressed to an accountant with a commercial focus.

“This offered a great career base for me, and it provided a huge learning experience in both finance and the business world,” he says.

He then ventured into different sectors to gain experience and exposure to different facets of business. He worked at a FMCG company, in financial services, corporate real estate and is now at Stanlib, an asset management company.

According to Junaid he is thankful for the direction that his career took as he worked in dynamic environments with amazing people that have helped him to build his career and shape his future.

Finding his niche at Stanlib
Junaid joined Stanlib in December 2019 and is still enthusiastic about his job and team. The growth and learning opportunities on offer through the wealth of experience in their business and the freedom to explore new opportunities, ideas, and ways of work, still excites him.

Stanlib recently celebrated 20 years of managing client assets. It was founded in 2002 as a joint venture between Standard Bank and Liberty Life.

“As the finance lead on Stanlib projects, I have been privileged to be part of the current projects from inception with quite a bit on the go that’s focuses on streamlining and digitising our way of work as an organisation. Closer to home we are busy with an Oracle EPM Finance Project. I am leading the project and find it interesting, challenging and fulfilling.”

Stanlib has a solid finance team, and he enjoys collaborating with colleagues. Stanlib’s CFO is Avashnee Ramdial, and it is a privilege for Junaid to be her 2IC. From Avashnee, he has learnt that “striving for excellence, playing to your strengths and resilience along the journey is always the game changer”.

On future goals and motivation
Junaid would like to be involved in more strategic initiatives in the future, involving digital enhancements and developments in business. The 4th Industrial Revolution is now posing a challenge to businesses and an opportunity to finance, and he believes that at Stanlib, finance business partners, can and will play a pivotal role on this journey.

It motivates Junaid to see the value that his contributions have made.

“It drives me to see the value of my contributions, either through the eyes of others, through a new way of work, coaching, supporting and mentoring, or process improvement that makes life easier, fun and productive for us all.”

Junaid has won the Nedbank Top Achiever award twice and the Stanlib Excellence Award in the past. “For me, it is not a core focus to win personal accolades, but when you consider the rarity of these awards and the recognition it gives you, it has a way to make you feel that it was all worth it,” he mentions.

Junaid is passionate about finance and the role it can play in the development or organisations, but if he was not in finance, he probably would have been in property. He has a passion for all things property as well as ERP implementations.

“These are both dynamic and exciting spheres of work that I involve myself in whenever the opportunity presents itself.”

And at home?
Not all his colleagues know it, but Junaid has quite an ear for music since childhood. He listens to all kinds of genres and has mastered a couple of musical instruments.

He is a committed family man, and nothing makes him happier than spending time with “the most amazing woman and life partner” and their two children.

“My kids are wonderfully amazing human beings, and I spent all my free time with my family. I enjoy family time and I always look forward to it.”

It is then no wonder that a family trip overseas tops his bucket list.

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