Imfundo Trust – a scholarship initiative by Old Mutual Investment Group (OMIG) – recently held its inaugural Tech Talent Career Expo at the Group’s headquarters in Cape Town. The expo was aimed at young South Africans with an interest in pursuing a career in investment (or asset management), fintech and related industries, and forms part of Old Mutual’s support of fintech as the asset management industry rapidly evolves in this direction.
Experts predict that the Fintech industry will exceed $300 billion globally by the end of 2022.
“Fintech is what’s driving the evolution of the investment management industry and its advancement is rapid,” explains Nono Melapi, Programme Manager at Old Mutual Investment Group. She says that investment firms are increasingly turning to technology to remain nimble and agile so to be able to respond swiftly to growing complexity in the market.
“As a responsible business, we must therefore ensure that we develop a talent pipeline with the necessary skills to meet our clients’ needs. What’s more, we are committed to supporting talented young South Africans in gaining scarce and emerging future skills that will enable them to forge a career in investment management,” says Melapi.
As part of OMIG’s commitment to cultivating these skills, the investment firm is currently recruiting for its first Tech Graduate Programme, which starts on 1 February 2023.
Since its inception in 2011, the Imfundo Trust has provided young black matriculants – and particularly women – with funding for full-time study at an undergraduate and postgraduate level at select South African universities. In this way, the Trust aims to accelerate transformation in the investments industry.
In addition to receiving funding for full-time study, scholarship recipients benefit from ongoing support and mentorship under the Imfundo programme.
Geneva Mathebula was one of the scholarship recipients in 2021: “It can be very difficult to find the will to keep going when the going gets tough,” shares Mathebula. “The seminars and webinars, the on-campus activities and frequent check-up calls – all of these have really helped me to keep my head high and to focus on my goal”.
According to Gabriella Fabby, another Imfundo scholarship recipient, Imfundo allows her to focus on her dream career without having to worry about how to finance her studies. “I aspire to work in the investment management industry because there’s so much room for growth,” says Fabby.
How fintech is shaping asset management
Kutloano Chauke, an IT Manager at OMIG, presented told attendees at the Tech Talent Career Expo that in a fast-paced, data-driven environment, pen-and-paper type of work is simply too dated and inefficient.
“Fintech not only changes, but significantly improves, systems and data processing. It allows asset managers to solve for extremely complex problems across continents and time zones, using the kind of modelling capability that would historically have been limited to the likes of NASA. This technology makes prediction models, risk analysis, portfolio management and even banking tasks faster and more accurate – and it gets better and better at a very rapid pace”.
“Most investment management research tasks now rely on programming and machine learning. Investment management teams need data and development skills to explore datasets and automate repetitive tasks. Increasingly, investment managers also need to conceptualise and – in collaboration with IT specialists who can generate industrial software – build models to gain an advantage in their market”.
The most in-demand skills for fintech
The growing reliance on fintech is driving demand for tech skills in the investment management industry. Data analytics, software engineering, artificial intelligence (AI), quantitative investments and investment engineering are among the critical game-changing skills, according to Melapi.
“For our Tech Graduate Programme, we have shortlisted candidates with a passion for technology, with degrees in computer science, mathematics and statistics. These graduates will focus on building AI, machine learning and cloud technology skills at OMIG”.
“We’ve also implemented our own AI programme to upskill current employees in coding, machine learning and deep learning – with the aim on integrating these technologies into our investment management processes,” concludes Melapi.