Sygnia CFO Murad Sirkot proud of company's investment performance

Sygnia achieved its highest six-month profit, highest dividend and highest six-month basic earnings.

Sygnia has reported a “record set of financial results” for the six months ended 31 March 2020 with profit and basic earnings per share increasing by 92 percent and 111 percent. 

“Our financial results far exceeded our expectations and reflect the initiatives embarked on by our co-CEOs – Magda Wierzycka and David Hufton – and our management team over the last five years,” Sygnia CFO Murad Sirkot says. “It is rewarding to see these initiatives, that cut across each of our traditional institutional, employee benefits and retail businesses, come to fruition.”

He says that they are also pleased by the ever-growing contribution that Sygnia’s stockbroking business is making to the group as a result of new revenue lines.

“Our investment performance has also been exceptional thanks to our experienced investment team, with our flagship multi-manager funds – the Sygnia Signature range – being ranked first in the Alexander Forbes Multi-manager survey over virtually every time frame and risk profile,” Murad adds. “Our flagship range of passive funds – the Sygnia Skeleton range – performed in line with the Signature range.”

He says that the high equity portfolios in both of these ranges have outperformed the actively managed global balanced funds in the Alexander Forbes Global Large Manager Watch Survey over 10 years to 31 March. 

“We achieved our highest six-month profit, our highest dividend and our highest six-month basic earnings per share,” Murad says. “It makes me immensely proud that we have not only delivered significant value to our shareholders but also outstanding investment performance and service excellence for our clients during a tumultuous time in history.”

He adds that, even though Sygnia has made some investment in business development over the last 18 months, more is required in this space to further increase revenue.  

Managing the fallout from Covid-19

Murad says that the most significant challenge has been managing the fallout from Covid-19. 

A significant percentage of Sygnia’s revenue is linked to the market, and the fall in markets during February and March impacted the company’s revenue. “During this time, we considered some margin protection measures to endure the challenges that lie ahead, but not at the expense of operational efficacy.” 

He adds that the company is sufficiently capitalised and will continue to be prudent in how it manages its risks and costs, particularly in these uncertain times.

“While we have measures in place to sustain the business through a disaster, we had not foreseen a pandemic unfolding so quickly, but we were able to continue delivering to our clients.”

He commends the board and management team for “successfully steering the company through the initial impact of the pandemic, as the courage, sympathy and leadership they have displayed during this difficult time” has enabled the company to continue delivering to its clients while ensuring the well-being of its staff. 

He also commends Sygnia’s client-facing staff, “who have had to embrace new and virtual ways of engaging clients and have had to intensify those efforts as clients contend with their own pandemic-related challenges”. 

Finally, he commends the head of IT and his team, who worked around the clock to enable the majority of Syngia’s staff to work from home.

“We moved to a virtual environment quite seamlessly, and this shift also catalysed us to think about new and innovative ways to interact with our stakeholder,” Murad says.