Vusi Mpofu AGA(SA) says that his life in financial services for the past 25 years can best be described as a ‘beautiful accident.
Vusi Mpofu’s natural inclination was always towards writing and journalism, but the subjects he took led him down the path of a BComm degree, a vacation job with KPMG in 1994, and signing his contract of articles in June 1997.
Having studied to become an accountant, Mpofu obtained his undergraduate degree from the National University of Lesotho in 1997, followed by serving his articles with KPMG. After that, in the course of fulfilling various roles with multinational companies, he completed a Diploma in Advanced Banking with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) before graduating with an MBA from Wits in 2010. Over the years he has also completed executive development programmes with Duke University.
Mpofu has fulfilled various roles in the financial services sector. He has garnered experience in a number of industries as an auditor, accountant, treasurer and now a banker. At every step the opportunities presented allowed him to grow and contribute to the organisation in a meaningful way.
It’s this passion for self-advancement that led Mpofu to his current role at Nedbank where he is the Sector Lead: Mining and Chemicals within its Corporate and Investment Banking division.
Let’s find out more about Vusi Mpofu …
What is your proudest career achievement?
Probably my first transaction of scale in my treasury days: local and foreign trades of R400 million in the space of four hours in 2001. Years and countless transactions later, the buzz of the deal has never left me.
Describe yourself in a few words?
Tenacious, committed to continuous learning and striving to always be aware of different perspectives, especially those that may not resonate with my own.
Tell us more about your role at Nedbank?
I started in the bank in a structured finance role but now head up a team of bankers in the Mining and Chemicals sector portfolio.
Tell us more about some of the exciting developments you are involved with in this field?
Innovation and digital disruption are the current buzzwords across industries and the financial services sector, especially banking, no exception. We are constantly adapting systems and processes and preparing ourselves for the jobs of the future. Keen focus is placed on finding new ways of meeting client needs by leveraging the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The key challenge for the traditional banks is being aware of the threat posed by burgeoning FinTechs which are not being straddled or slowed down by legacy systems and processes and can move with greater agility and speed in delivering banking solutions to clients.
What difference would you like to make in the banking sector?
I am a firm believer in leaving the jersey in a better shape than I found it. Bankers are critical intermediaries for the success of any economy, and I believe that our ability to interact with clients as transparently and promptly as possible on transactions regardless of complications and outcomes builds relationships. These are important elements if the trust of the general public in bankers and large corporates as a whole is to be restored.
What can be done to stop corruption in the public sector?
I do not subscribe to the notion that corruption is a public sector problem – it is a national problem. To discourage corrupt practices across the board requires greater ethical commitment from all citizens, supported by robust censure from all regulatory bodies including prosecution and appropriate sentencing of people found guilty of contravening the law.
What is your favourite hobby?
Running marathons, and I am also a keen follower of the financial markets.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Transparency, good communication and consistency between leadership message and leadership action – authenticity.
What do you believe defines success?
Finding the balance between career progression and being there for my family. Work provides intellectual challenge and stimulation, but time with family and friends, in fact how we interact with fellow human beings in general, feeds the soul. When all is said and done, the quality of my relationships will define my legacy.
What difference would you like to make?
I would like to see more children from less privileged backgrounds being afforded the same opportunities that I had. To this end I mentor and coach a number of young professionals and support school initiatives from time to time.
Vusi is a practitioner member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers of Southern Africa (ACTSA)