The annual Black Excellence awards were held by the Black Management Forum Western Cape in late March, with Professor Thuli Madonsela as the keynote speaker.
Mergence Investment Managers was awarded Company of the Year 2022 and Mergence founder and Chairman, Mr Masimo Magerman, was awarded Business Personality of the Year.
Mr Magerman is an entrepreneur, innovator, and visionary leader who has helped built the Mergence group from the bottom up over 18 years to the success story that it is today.
As a boy, his first foray into entrepreneurship was collecting empty bottles for cash in Soweto. At the age of 20, Mr Magerman received a scholarship to attend Kean University in New Jersey, USA and following his graduation in 1995, he started his career as a financial data analyst on Wall Street. In 1997 he enrolled for an MBA (Finance) at Rutgers University and thereafter joined Merrill Lynch in London on the convertible bonds desk, before returning to South Africa in 2000 to run an equity derivatives book at Gensec Bank.
In 2004 he co-founded Mergence Investment Managers, an independent investment management firm with a current R35 billion of assets under management. Mergence offers diversified Public and Private Market investment products, spanning equity, multi asset, infrastructure, debt and private equity funds.
The company has majority black ownership and embraces the multi-cultural and multi-racial diversity of Southern Africa. It employs 54 individuals across operations in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Windhoek and Maseru. Mergence has a very strong client retention record, with clients being largely institutional (large pension funds, unions, tertiary education bodies, etc) but it also has a growing retail investment offering.
While Public investments (listed stocks investing) represent the bulk of the company’s assets under management, Mergence was a forerunner over a decade ago in what is known as impact investing, being an early signature to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. With an initial focus on renewable energy, Mergence is currently invested in 16 renewable energy projects across wind and solar. It is also the only institutional investor to be invested in the only two privately owned water concessions in South Africa. Other impact sectors into which Mergence invests include affordable housing, land servicing, acquaculture, cannabis, SMMEs and micro-lending.
This approach was driven from the start by Mr Magerman, who believes strongly in “creating shared value” so that when he returns to the townships of his youth (Soweto and Alexandra in Gauteng) he can explain to people what Mergence does – that is to invest with an impact, so that communities can benefit and see tangible changes and so that pension fund members can retire into uplifted communities. As a business leader, he also believes in putting people before profits, on the basis that if you reward employees on merit, performance will flow from there.
Mr Loyiso Ngqwemla, Western Cape Chairperson of the Black Management Forum, said:“The BMF in the Western Cape, firmly believes in celebrating Black professionals who occupy positions in corporates and those professionals that have started their own businesses. The founder of Mergence Investment Management has created employment opportunities and has displayed exemplary ethical leadership. We congratulate Masimo on his award and accomplishments and wish him and his team well in running an effective business operation in the Western Cape.”