Babalwa Ngonyama – A Maven Making Major Waves in the Finance Sector 

Babalwa Ngonyama | Sinayo Securities: Making Major Waves in Finance Sector | The Enterprise World

In the world of finance, a transformation is underway that challenges age-old stereotypes and redefines the very essence of the industry. For decades, the finance industry has been dominated by men, and there was a huge gap between the roles of men and women. This change is a big deal. It shows that anyone, regardless of their gender, can be successful in finance. It also means that the finance industry is getting better because it’s becoming more diverse. When people from different backgrounds work together, they can come up with new ideas and make better decisions. 

Women are progressively emerging as leaders, decision-makers, and innovators within the financial realm, demonstrating that their capabilities know no bounds. This journey is not only one of empowerment but a testament to the transformative power of gender diversity in an industry once considered impervious to change. 

Featuring for The Enterprise World’s this issue of The Most Successful Business Leaders to Watch in 2023 is the story of Babalwa Ngonyama, a prominent leader in the finance sector

The Illustrious Journey of Babalwa Ngonyama 

“When I entered the finance sector my motivation was to challenge the male dominated status quo in the industry and pro-actively enhance the level of women participation in the financial services sector.” 

Babalwa Ngonyama’s realization of shifting the balance played a huge role in her career. She states, one can only shift the balance by playing a meaningful role in the economic activities and the financial services sector is at the core of the economy of our country. 

Babalwa Ngonyama’s biggest challenge being a female-led business, was to overcome the numerous barriers women encounter. 

As she states, there are certain ways in which men approach business and women bring a different perspective to the financial services industry, which then enhances the traditional way of how business is done. 

Making clients believe in the company and the authenticity of its services has truly been an arduous task. In contrast to established businesses, you need to double the business development effort; be it through making multiple presentations, continuously engaging potential clients and convincing them of your capabilities. 

“Other potential clients would make it clear to us that they had doubts and would say, “Let’s give it a year and see if you survive before we do business with you.” These challenges have made us stronger, built resilience and provided us with the platform to be focused on execution excellence.”, she further adds. 

Recognizing and Mentoring Talent 

“We invest time in evaluating if the key people we seek to bring on board will be good fit with the Sinayo culture and ensure they share the vision, values and ethos of the company.”

Sinayo is a purpose led organisation, with clearly set out goals and direction. Knowing where the company is going focuses people’s minds and development.

Mentorship plays a crucial role in the development of our people, there is a well-known saying “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” It is in this vein that Babalwa Ngonyama started the Project Funda – a two year on the job training programme to accelerate the entry of young black graduates into the financial services industry. To date, more than 80 graduates join the program, and most of them have been placed in attractive financial services businesses. 

“We also focus on the ongoing development of the intellect and soft skills for our people.”

The team develops Tigers at Sinayo, people who can hold their own, are self-driven and adaptable with strong communication skills whilst empowering others to be their best. They have a strong focus on building resilience, critical thinking skills and confidence. 

“We believe that through fully embracing diversity will we truly unlock the vast potential of the broad spectrum of talent.”, Babalwa Ngonyama adds. 

About Sinayo Group

Sinayo Group is an independent, majority black female-owned stockbroking firm that is a member of the JSE Limited. The firm provides top-quality securities trading services to pension funds, insurance and asset managers in South Africa, specializing in JSE-listed equity sales and trading. 

In addition, they also hold strategic equity interests in Camissa Asset Management and Optimize, which provides us script lending capabilities. Through Sinayo Wealth, the firm offers research covering South African and Global Equity research; Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) and quantitative research. Their partnership with Software Design provides transaction cost analysis for the trading team. 

“Our vision is “we touch South Africans by democratizing investments and by being game changers”. And our mission is to provide our clients and partners with extraordinary insights, which generate tangible impact and enduring wealth.”

To drive their mission to be a leading and trusted global provider of securities trading and multi-sector investment solutions, the firm had to merge the expertise of individuals with extensive experience with their entrepreneurial spirit, while also cultivating enduring and impactful client relationships. 

At Sinayo, the team also assists asset managers execute trades to rebalance their equity portfolios and thereby contribute to preserving people’s wealth. In addition, the company has expanded its activities through investments in asset management, derivatives and short-term insurance. 

“What we do, including how we buy and sell shares or manage pension fund assets is important to the livelihood of pensioners – the ordinary person in the street.”, adds Babalwa Ngonyama. 

Challenging the Challenges 

The challenges that Sinayo faced included competing with large global banks, with the advantage of substantial balance sheets and resources to build expansive research, sales and trading teams. 

“We had to rely on innovation and the exceptional commitment of a focused team of professionals, dedicated to making Sinayo relevant to our clients.”

The team had to compete against multibillion-dollar operations by differentiating themselves. Their approach emphasized agility, adaptability and innovation, combined with exceptional teamwork. Sinayo was able to climb the JSE rankings, expanded its trading counters to include the JSE Top 40 companies and broke into the JSE Top 20 this year. 

Funding the company was a challenge as the firm had to sufficiently capitalize the business to competitively operate against established securities broking firms. 

Attracting the right talent to work for a small firm remains a challenge in this sector. Babalwa Ngonyama has been successful in attracting strong professionals who have brought invaluable experience and are a good fit with the culture of the firm. 

Nothing Succeeds like Success 

The growth trigger for Sinayo was the confluence of their in-depth understanding of client needs, securing the ability to tailor-make client solutions and raising additional capital to adequately fund the business. 

The effort to develop clear client strategies ensured the team deployed its limited resources where it could have had the most impact. This assisted in building strong and enduring client relationships. 

“With the stability of institutional support, we were able to gather assets that offer synergies to our core securities trading business.”

These entail asset management, script lending, derivatives and short-term insurance investments. 

The Suite of Products and Services of Sinayo

The focus of Sinayo’s securities business activity is equity research and trading. We provide research and equity trading execution to institutional clients. Sinayo Group is active in asset collection across multiple sectors in various countries. 

The company’s Sub-Saharan Africa reach offers execution in 11 African countries, namely: Botswana, BRVM, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, 

In cooperation with S-Software Design, Sinayo has been providing transaction cost analysis (TCA) for equities on the JSE top institutions in the South African financial markets. 

Making a Difference 

The world continuously evolves, and the energy crisis South Africa is confronting compelled Sinayo to invest time and resources in the development of renewable energy sources. The company announced at the recent BRICS conference our R1 billion investment into the development of a renewable energy components manufacturing project that will create 1,000 jobs. 

“Our commitment to transformation is demonstrated by Project Funda, through which we actively identify and nurture talent in securities research, trading, broader financial services and leadership. We believe in supporting all aspiring talent, and Project Funda will be expanded in 2024 to include a programme for South African Artists and Sports People.”, Babalwa Ngonyama further adds. 

What the Future Holds? 

Sinayo offers access to specialist speaker events, global experts from across the globe, covering current and relevant topics. We currently have engaged UK and Chinese fashion experts to give the clients the inside track on the impact that SHEIN is having on the South African retail market. 

“We do not rely solely on South African based opinion; we have the flexibility to focus on a topic and deliver the intelligence.”

Most recently the company has launched a global equity research offering, which is unique in the level of analysis and number of stocks, sectors, fundamentals, quantitative and technical aspects. The product is a must have for all Institutional investors. 

Another area of importance is ESG which the team believes is here to stay and will only grow in its importance. The company currently offer a quantitative ESG ranking for South African listed companies but are in the process of developing a qualitative product on listed companies which can also be used to analyze private equity opportunities.

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