Mergence executive leadership moves to drive strategic growth

Mergence Investment Managers

Boutique asset manager, Mergence Investment Managers, has announced a number of high-level changes to its executive leadership team on the back of a year marked by impressive growth, despite unprecedented challenges.

As part of the Mergence Group under the chairmanship of industry visionary Masimo Magerman, Mergence Investment Managers has enjoyed a solid track record since its inception in 2004, with current assets under management totaling some R35 billion. The team provides a diversified product range across both public and private markets for institutional and individual investors within southern Africa (SADC). 

In spite of the ongoing Covid-19 disruption on local and global economies, Mr Magerman, non-executive chairman of the board, says the positive outcome of  Mergence Investment Managers’ 2021 results bears testimony to the tenacity and expanding depth of diversity and skill within the leadership team. “Conscious leadership, with a steadfast commitment to a deliberate and well-structured management succession plan, remains at the core of Mergence’s continued growth directive. The new leadership structure will provide a streamlined and dedicated springboard from where to drive and accelerate the group’s business growth and succession planning strategies – in the interest of creating shared and sustainable value for our clients, investors, associates, and employees”, says Magerman.

“We are particularly excited to announce the appointment of Yoza Jekwa in the position of chief executive officer of Mergence Investment Managers,” he says. “Not only does this underscore the group’s commitment to the advancement of female representation in the South African fund management industry, but also because she has been integral to our success and in directing our growth journey since her appointment as joint managing director in 2019.”

“It is also quite fitting that this announcement coincides with Women’s Month during which we celebrate the phenomenal success of women, not only in financial services, but the across all industry sectors and levels of society in our country,” he adds.

It is a rare privilege to work alongside a leadership team that completely supports the ethos of an organisation. This leadership team is an embodiment of the Mergence ethos and actively subscribes to the principles that guide our efforts to help drive true societal and economic reform.

With responsible investment engrained in its culture, Mergence has pioneered infrastructure and development investing in South Africa in 2010. The company was among the first to sign the Principles for Responsible Investment supported by the UN and also endorses the Code for Responsible Investment in South Africa (CRISA).

“We believe in the power of people, planet and prosperity acknowledging that profits can only be achieved when enduring sustainable value is being created for all of its stakeholders. The level of depth, direction and collective experience that this leadership team brings will enable us to further drive transformation, act on our values and fulfil our mission and commitments by creating shared value and a generating positive impact for all our stakeholders,” Magerman says.

The strategic appointments within Mergence Investment Managers’ executive leadership fold are as follows, which are effective from 1 September 2021:

Yoza Jekwa – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 

Yoza is being promoted to CEO, following her appointment as Joint MD of Mergence Investment Managers in November 2019 after 17 years of investment experience in private markets.

Her executive priorities will include oversight of the corporate strategy development and implementation, capital structure optimisation and key stakeholder liaison responsibilities. 

In addition to her responsibilities, Yoza will continue to oversee the Private Markets business and will also remain in her position as chair of the Investment Committee.

Bradley Preston – Chief Investment Officer (CIO)

Bradley, who has been serving as Joint MD alongside Yoza for the past year, has been appointed to the position of CIO. Having been with Mergence for over 16 years, Bradley enjoys unparalled experience in derivatives, absolute return and specialist equities.

As CIO, Bradley will provide strategic and managerial leadership to the investment team to drive our investment priorities. He is also responsible for the development of short- and long-term investment goals that will steer Mergence Investment Managers through its next phase of growth.

In addition, he will also focus on our macro strategy adding value primarily through tactical allocation across asset classes and assisting in strategic reallocation of alternative and long-only investment strategies. His role will include providing input, direction and value to the Private Markets Investment team. 

Fabian De Beer – Chief Risk Officer

At Mergence since 2006, Fabian has fulfilled the roles of Investment Strategist, Chief Investment Officer, and Director of Investments. In his new role as Chief Risk Officer, Fabian will focus on all investment risk and compliance matters across the firm, havinggained over 32 years’ experience in senior and executive management positions, as well as directorships at major South African banks and retirement funds. 

John Afordofe – Chief Financial Officer 

Previously Chief Operating Officer, in his new role of Chief Financial Officer, John will direct financial goals, objectives and budgets, and will execute capital raising strategies to support our expansion. He will spearhead efforts related to enterprise risk management and oversee the investment of funds held by Mergence Investment Managers, weighing up and managing associated risks. In addition, John’s responsibilities also include the development of our Information Technology (IT) systems and operations. 

Semoli Mokhanoi – Director of SADC and Head of Business Development and Marketing

Semoli will continue to serve in his capacity as Director of SADC and head of business development. He remains responsible for business expansion and exploring new opportunities in the African market, having achieved immense success in this area of business since joining Mergence in 2017.

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