Tyrone Soondarjee - CFO Sasfin Bank: `Use your position to improve quality decision matters in defining the future of a company`

Supplement your qualifications with solid practical experience and ensure continuous professional development to stay relevant in a fast changing global economy. That is the vital advice given to you by Tyrone Soondarjee, CFO of Sasfin Bank, when asked what vital piece of advice he would give ambitious finance professionals who 'want to make it big' in the industry. Like himself, in a way.

Sasfin Bank was founded in 1951 by Sydney Sassoon, the father of current CEO Roland Sassoon. Having evolved from a textile company, Sasfin Bank is now South Africa's leading niche Banking and Finance Group, billed as 'the bank for entrepeneurs'. It is one of the locally-controlled banks licensed by the Reserve Bank of South Africa, employing over 750 people and a yearly turnover of R800m. The bank was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1987. Sasfin provides a number of specialised financial services from stockbroking to business finance and equity finance.


We meet for a one-on-one with Tyrone, who joined Sasfin Bank in July 2007 as Group Chief Financial Officer. He was appointed Financial Director and Executive Director in October 2010. Previously this qualified CA with 30 years experience in the professional services and banking industries held various executive positions at Deloitte & Touche Group, was Financial Director at TNBS Mutual Bank and Group Financial Manager at New Republic Bank.

1) What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love how it is a dynamic role in a constantly changing environment and industry. I enjoy deals and opportunities to grow and expand the Sasfin Group offering and brand in an intensifying regulatory landscape.

2) How has the role of the CFO changed in the last ten years?

I feel the role of the CFO has developed into a more strategic and catalyst role to the Board and Group from that of operational and compliance orientated.

3) How do you see the role of the CFO evolving in the next say five to ten years?

I think the CFO will use the position to improve quality decision matters in defining the future of a company and as a key driver of strategy. Also, the CFO will partner with business owners in establishing a business value mindset to align business to evaluate and execute strategies.

4) Which skill do you think a finance professional should master to be most successful in his work?

He/she should be a good communicator and should be seen to be an independent and impartial listener

5) Which achievement or project in your business career are you most proud of?

Various, but the successful re-engineering and transformation of a large group of companies into a focused and sustainable business offering that was profitable and growing.

6) Which education would you recommend for a successful career in business, and why?

I would recommend a CA-education: it offers a broad premium qualification that covers multiple disciplines and areas of business.

7) Did you ever encounter a book - business book or guide - that inspired you greatly in your everyday life?

Jack Welch - Jack.

8) Who is your role model in life and why?

That would be Nelson Mandela. He is an icon with the greatest humility and humbleness to forgive and achieve reconciliation.

9) What vital piece of advice would you give young finance professionals?

Supplement your qualifications with solid practical experience and ensure continuous professional development to stay relevant in a fast changing global economy.

10) What was the best piece of advice - business-related - that was ever given to you personally?

Quality as a CA

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category: Interviewing the CFO