Insight

Inspiration and information from leading finance experts.

02 October 2017

CFO SA's Graham Fehrsen: Five lessons for a better future

Through the course of a tumultuous 365 days since the launch of the inaugural and extremely successful Finance Indaba Africa, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn alongside finance leaders and exceptional professionals, and I’ve learnt some great lessons. While some are familiar cliches and almost all seem like common sense, in my experience, it’s the obvious and common-sense advice that is often the hardest to live by. Here are my top five.

25 September 2017

Create a broader environment to drive innovation, says CIB's Anré Klopper-Stroh

“Our role within Human Capital is to be the custodians of culture and strategically partner the people agenda that enables our business strategy,” says Anré Klopper-Stroh, Human Capital Head for the Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB) within the Standard Bank Group. “The role of the Human Capital team within CIB is to partner our people in, for and across Africa to realise their ambitions, thus enabling our clients and the communities in which we operate to achieve their objectives. Furthermore, we need to position ourselves for what the future holds by understanding the mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets required for our people to stay relevant and contribute to the ambitions of the business into the future.”

18 September 2017

In-house banking now within reach: Treasury Technologies CEO Rudolph Janse van Rensburg explains

An in-house bank may be simply defined as an internal organisation which assumes some of the functions traditionally performed by external commercial banks to provide enhanced performance, transparency and control. Traditionally, the operation of an in-house bank was regarded by most finance executives to be the preserve of the largest corporations. Despite the many benefits, these structures were thought to be too expensive and complicated to add cost effective value. As more efficient cloud solutions become available, the threshold barriers for justifying in-house bank adoption have been steadily lowered, and positive cost/benefit analyses are becoming more and more common.

11 September 2017

Africa is a great source of growth, says Standard Bank CIB's Victor Williams

As the head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) for Africa at Standard Bank, Victor Williams is responsible for corporate and investment banking in the 19 countries – excluding South Africa – that comprise the Africa Regions. He says the bank serves corporate, sovereign and institutional clients (local corporates and multinationals) in those markets, providing them with global markets, transactional banking and investment banking services. “In each of the markets in which we are present we are looking to build the leading corporate and investment banking franchise in that market,” he says.

28 August 2017

Standard Bank's Funeka Montjane: FinTech is changing the face of banking

“There’s never been a more wonderful time to be a banker,” says Funeka Montjane, CEO of Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank. Montjane, a 2015 WEF Young Global Leader, believes that the future of banking lies in creating time for customers with the help of automation, artificial intelligence and FinTech. Speaking about the future of banking at the Singularity University South Africa Summit, hosted on the continent for the first time in collaboration with Standard Bank, Montjane said that we’re living in what Stephen Hawking called ‘the century of complexity’ – in a more compressed and globalised world characterised by rapid disruption, and where information is free.

21 August 2017

The 'Patel factor': Minette Smit and Marylla Govender explain

It has been 17 years since the inception of the South African Competition Act, and competition law enforcement continues to be vigorous and successful. Some now argue that competition law and its associated institutions are becoming a victim of their own success. Where other regulators have mostly proven toothless, the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal have been able to pry open cartels and punish offenders. Where broader economic policy has failed to force companies to change tack, competition policy clearly has not disappointed. In this article, competition experts Minette Smit and Marylla Govender explore the most recent trends in competition law, along with the rise of ‘the Patel factor’.

14 August 2017

Cipla SSA CFO Nishant Saxena shares his tips for creating a top team

Nishant Saxena won two Awards at this year’s CFO of the Year Awards – High Performance Team and Young CFO of the Year. He received this recognition because he took Cipla’s struggling, low-margin, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) unit and turned it into one of the most profitable pharma players in South Africa. In so doing, he completely transformed the finance department, creating a high performance team in the process. Nishant shares his top tips for creating an efficient team.

10 July 2017

The CFO is the connector in dealmaking, says Bowmans' Charles Douglas

A thorough, smart and stealthy due diligence process is among the top ingredients for successful mergers and acquisitions. We spoke to finance executives and dealmakers about the homework a growth-hungry company needs to do. “Ideally, the CFO shouldn’t only focus on the financials, there needs to be a cross-over. The CFO, along with other execs, can really help to join the dots in a deal,” says Charles Douglas, head of M&A at law firm Bowmans.

03 July 2017

CFOs should expect more change coming, says Standard Bank CIB's Suzette Els

“Allow compliance to participate in front line engagement to create a mutual understanding on key client challenges and pro-actively pick-up on key client challenges,” advises Suzette Els, Chief Compliance Officer for Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking. In this article, part of a series from Standard Bank specialists, Suzette talks about trends in the compliance space, how clients are being assisted with these, and what CFOs should expect.

19 June 2017

If you want to see deal success, plan, says Ansarada's Arie Maree

A thorough, smart and stealthy due diligence process is among the top ingredients for successful mergers and acquisitions. We spoke to finance executives and dealmakers about the homework a growth-hungry company needs to do. “You cannot over-plan,” says Arie Maree, Ansarada Managing Director for Africa and the Middle East. “Once the rubber hits the road with a deal, there are tight timelines, plenty of stress and lots of money at stake. More planning means a smoother due diligence and ultimately, a smoother transaction,”

05 June 2017

There's no one-size-fits-all solution in forex, says Standard Bank's Richard de Roos

“Everyone has a different way of thinking about FX and settling and hedging their FX and we must solve and understand for each of these,” says Richard de Roos, Head of Foreign Exchange for the Standard Bank Group. In this, the second article in a series from Standard Bank specialists, Richard talks about forex trends in Africa, what Standard Bank is doing to stay ahead of the pack, and what CFOs should expect in this arena.

29 May 2017

In deal making, understand what you buy, says Deloitte's Karin Hodson

A thorough, smart and stealthy due diligence process is among the top ingredients for successful mergers and acquisitions. We spoke to finance executives and deal makers about the homework a growth-hungry company needs to do. “The due diligence report is often just used to tick the box and the findings are not adequately translated into the pricing and sale and purchase agreement,” says Karin Hodson, Partner and Transaction Services Leader at Deloitte. Failure to undertake adequate due diligence can result in significant erosion in value and potential losses of customers, staff and everything in between, she adds.

22 May 2017

Look for the opportunity within the crisis, says Standard Bank's Zaid Moola

“In South Africa, the full impact of a downgrade to sub-investment status will probably only manifest over the next 12 to 18 months. Companies in strong balance-sheet positons should be cautiously opportunistic and look for value-enhancing acquisitions both in South Africa and abroad. As much as economic conditions may be tough, my view is that we should never let a good crisis go to waste,” says Zaid Moola, Head of Client Coverage South Africa for Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) at Standard Bank. In this, the first article in a series from Standard Bank specialists, Zaid talks about the trends he is seeing in his area of expertise and offers expert advice for CFOs.

15 May 2017

The CFO should ensure due diligence is accurate and meticulously undertaken, says Sibanye's Charl Keyter

A thorough, smart and stealthy due diligence process is among the top ingredients for successful mergers and acquisitions. We spoke to finance executives and dealmakers about the homework a growth-hungry company needs to do. “You don’t always want to let the staff of the other company or companies know you are doing this process,” says Sibanye Gold CFO Charl Keyter. “You have to be stealthy so as not to raise suspicions.” Charl gives one of the best and certainly most amusing explanations of due diligence:

08 May 2017

Cybersecurity skills shortages leave us open to attack, says MWR Infosecurity SA's MD, Riaan van Boom

According to Europol’s 2016 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), several EU states have found that cybercrime offences have surpassed traditional crimes, with trends such as crime-as-a-service and ransomware rising significantly. Given the increasing sophistication of the attack landscape, hacking has become a genuine threat facing organisations and countries across the globe. And yet, the ability of those targeted to manage such attacks remain, for the most part, limited. Riaan van Boom, Managing Director, MWR Infosecurity South Africa, unpacks the issue.

01 May 2017

When dealmaking, enter with a focused mind, says Standard Bank's Andrew Balnaves

A thorough, smart and stealthy due diligence process is among the top ingredients for successful mergers and acquisitions. We spoke to finance executives and dealmakers about the homework a growth-hungry company needs to do. “Prepare, ensure all parties are on the same page and don’t get distracted by unnecessary details,” advises Dr Andrew Balnaves, Executive Vice President of Africa Corporate Finance at Standard Bank.

27 March 2017

Reduce people cost through crowdsourcing, says Google's Terrence Taylor

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of crowdsourcing is its potential to disrupt the current cost structure that supports talent management. Crowdsourcing makes sense when thinking about the perennial constraint that businesses face: costs. Cost containment remains a priority, and with people costs (including salary, training, perks, etc) accounting for close to or over 60 percent of the cost structure of most companies, crowdsourcing offers the potential to greatly reducing this expenditure.

13 March 2017

Will crowdsourcing make talent management obsolete, asks Google's Terrence Taylor?

Crowdsourcing promises to make scarce and critical skills available cost effectively, perhaps close to 90 percent cheaper, and disruptively. Yet most companies currently rely on talent management – a human resource function that has been around for over half a century but whose tools and techniques has changed little during its existence – to identify, attract, develop and keep talented people who have these sought after scarce and critical skills. The question is: will crowdsourcing make talent management obsolete?

23 January 2017

Avoid market volatility pitfalls - use an FX expert

Unpredictable, wildly volatile foreign exchange market conditions seem to be established as the normal state of things in today’s economic and political turmoil. Many South African companies with significant import/export business are naturally exposed to FX market fluctuations, which frequently lead to unwelcome volatility in profits and earnings. With today’s emphasis on cost efficiency, companies are torn between budgeting the resources to put an effective FX exposure hedging programme into place or risking a substantial proportion of their revenue.

11 January 2017

Predictions 2017: What will shake up the world this year?

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis, the banking sector remains out of kilter,” writes Peter Thal Larsen (pictured), Global Economics Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, in the introduction of this year’s Predictions 2017 e-book. Every year, Reuters publishes a series of predictions through its Breakingviews team. This year’s book is out, and boy is it a captivating read. What follows is an excerpt from Peter’s Introduction to the book.

09 January 2017

Futurist Craig Wing: Forces to watch out for in 2017

With the festivities of the new year now passed, we tend to reflect on the madness that was 2016. Undoubtedly, globally we will remember BREXIT and the election of President Trump as arguably two of the most “shocking” global events; events which left many of the “experts” reeling after their failed predictions. Herein lies my predicament of writing this piece on the future of 2017: predictions, much like soothsaying, are never an accurate science. Rather, guesstimates of what will come by looking at the underlying cause versus – what has become – a very sexy view of trends. The future is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance. As such, what follows isn’t a set of predictions but what I expect will be three of the prevailing underlying forces; some may be seen and apparent, some will be unseen, with the “so what” repercussions felt way beyond 2017.

19 December 2016

There's still room for improvement in transformation, says CFO of Chancellor House Holdings (CHH), Seithati Bolipombo

The matter of diversity and transformation in the workplace is topical and can, at times, be somewhat controversial. Roy Clark penned a broad and insightful guest article about transformation in CFO Magazine. As part of this, we asked Seithati Bolipombo, an inspiring young CFO, to share her thoughts on the topic. “Transformation won’t happen by osmosis or natural selection because at its core, it is a people thing. It comes down to people and behaviour and the decisions that people make,” she said.

21 November 2016

Like giving birth! MiX Telematics CFO Megan Pydigadu about the NYSE listing

Three years ago, MiX Telematics decided their JSE listing was nice but that what would really boost the fleet and mobile asset management solutions firm was a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing. CFO Megan Pydigadu, nominated for the CFO Awards in both 2014 and 2015, describes the listing process as a roller coaster ride. In this exclusive article, Megan shares a number of important lessons for companies that are considering going to New York.

14 November 2016

Invest in staff well-being for better business success - CFOs weigh in

Healthier companies outperform the market by as much as 50 percent, recent studies indicate. If health is an important measure of a country’s developmental status and needs, the same goes for a business. In this regard, companies are becoming more attuned to the need to both measure and report on their staff’s health and well-being. We spoke to two top CFOs and two corporate wellness experts to find out what companies can do to invest in the well-being of their staff – and what ROI they can expect.

07 November 2016

Executives should be ready for multiple possible futures, says Dr Morne Mostert

“It seems that many executives continue to make decisions not only based on the past but even in the interest of the past or in its defence,” writes Dr Morne Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research at Stellenbosch University. According to him, “the intellectual agility to engage simultaneously with multiple possible futures is highly likely to increase as a prerequisite for a chair in the boardroom of the future”.

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