BARCLAYS Africa has appointed Nomkhita Nqweni its head of wealth, investment management and insurance. She takes over from Willie Lategan, who is leaving for insurer Hollard.
The bank declined to comment on whether she was always in line for the new role, or if her appointment followed a recruitment process.
Ms Nqweni heads wealth and investment management at the bank, with R268bn in assets under management. Her new role will add Absa Life and short-term insurance, which collectively brought in R509m in headline earnings for the half-year to end-June. She will also take charge of the fiduciary and distribution businesses.
Bank spokesman Byron Kennedy said the insurance segment contributed about 60% of the wealth, investment management and insurance business’s headline earnings.
"(It) is illustrative of the significantly expanded portfolio that Ms Nqweni is now responsible for," he said. "In her role as Alexander Forbes Financial Services MD, she managed a similarly diverse portfolio."
Ms Nqweni joined Barclays in her current role in 2010. During her tenure, the wealth and investment management businesses saw a R9bn increase in assets under management.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and biochemistry, but was attracted to the world of finance, beginning her career at Alexander Forbes the year after completing her studies. A postgraduate diploma in investment management and a Gordon Institute of Business Science leadership development programme followed later.
She spent most of her career at the financial services firm, aside from nearly two years at SCMB Asset Management (now Stanlib), and six years at Alexander Forbes subsidiary Investment Solutions, rising through the ranks to the CEO’s chief of staff and head of strategy, and finally, MD of Alexander Forbes Financial Services.
She also serves on the boards of the South African Mint and South African Bank Note Company, subsidiaries of the South African Reserve Bank.
The group has challenged Ms Nqweni to build the business’s presence in the rest of Africa. The unit banked headline earnings of R60m from the rest of the continent in the half-year period, a 76% increase.
"Nomkhita has been running wealth and investments at Absa for a while now," Sanlam Investments equities head Patrice Rassou said. "It’s just an expansion of her portfolio to add insurance. It’s a high-profile role, and the key will be to drive the growth of that business into Africa."
Nomkhita Nqweni. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL