A chartered accountant qualification is arguably one of the most efficient routes to the top echelons of corporate leadership. Babalwa Ngonyama, a qualified CA(SA), is CEO of the only woman owned and managed securities firm in the country, Sinayo Securities.
Prior to establishing Sinayo Securities, Ngonyama was the chief financial officer of Safika Holdings and the group chief internal auditor of Nedbank. Other early career roles included being an audit partner at Nkonki and at Deloitte’s Financial Institutions Services Team (FIST) division.
She founded Sinayo Securities in 2013. Specialising in equity sales and trading, Sinayo Securities prides itself on offering top quality services to institutional investors in South Africa. The firm has developed a sterling reputation, to the extent that it caught the eye of billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. It was recently announced that Ngonyama had sold off 49% of her equities brokerage business to investment management company, African Rainbow Capital (ARC), of which Motsepe is chairman. ARC has in turn agreed to invest significantly into Sinayo Securities which will allow the firm to boost its capital base and carry out much bigger trading on behalf of its clients.
Ngonyama’s success has been on the back of hard work and an ability to overcome challenges. Leadership, she says, is not something she sought, although she did want to be a thought leader and to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. “One of my objectives while I was at Deloittes was to get more women into financial services because the sector has historically had a lack of women,” she says.
Promoting women in the industry was also the reason she founded the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA), an organisation focused on accelerating the development and advancement of women chartered accountants.
Similarly, Sinyayo Securities was established to illustrate just how successful women can be in the financial services industry.
Ngonyama takes her role as a leader and role model seriously. “Leadership is a huge responsibility,” she maintains. “You need to remember that your voice and opinions – even outside the workplace – matter. Be careful of who you associate with as you will be judged by the company you keep.”
Her advice on how to succeed in the financial services sector is to be proactive, solutions oriented and accountable. “Don’t ever say it’s not my job,” she cautions.
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