Bullish Seriti enters the lion’s den

Johannesburg – Seriti Capital Partners, fresh from snapping up Cannon Asset Managers (Cannon), is bullish about the prospects of growing the business and make it a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive industry.

In a fairytale story, Cannon’s former employees Tshepo Modiba and Deshan Naidoo are now at the helm of the company that has more than R400-million assets under management.

Seriti Capital Partners was founded this year by Modiba and Naidoo. Seriti bought Cannon from Bidvest Financial Services for an undisclosed amount.

Modiba, who takes over as chief investment officer, said they are excited by the opportunity to grow the business and demonstrate that black people are equipped to play in the white-dominated space.

“When we got wind that Bidvest might be willing to sell the business, we did not hesitate in grabbing the opportunity. It is a business we know well, and it presents a unique proposition,” Modiba said.

Simpiwe Mayekiso will be the company CEO, while Naidoo will assume the role of chairman.

The winds of change at Cannon began blowing in April when the company’s founder Adrian Saville announced that he will be leaving the company after 22 years to join General Capital, a private and independent global multi-family investment office.

Deshan Naidoo of Seriti Capital Partners.

Saville founded the company in 1998 before selling it to Bidvest Group’s financial services unit in 2018. He remained the asset managers’ CEO until his resignation five months ago.

“There is a natural fit between the business and the team. At Cannon, our motto is rigour, resilience and results.

We question absolutely everything. Cannon will continue to focus on managing its clients’ assets according to their mandates, be it wealth that needs to be prudently managed to generate a monthly income, through to patient capital that has a longer-term growth objective,” Modiba said.

The asset management industry in South Africa is dominated by white-owned companies with few opportunities going to black companies.

Scale is a challenge for black managers, while there are new firms launched regularly, they struggle to gain critical mass due to lack of support from trustees, institutions and asset consultants.

According to annual BEE.conomics Transformation in SA Asset Management Survey published by 27four Investment Managers, there are currently 48 black asset management firms in South Africa and they manage only 10% or R490.3-billion of the R5-trillion industry.

Taquanta Asset Managers, Aluwani Capital Partners, Mazi Capital, Mergence Investment Managers, Argon Asset Managers and Vunani Fund Managers are regarded as the foremost black-owned asset managers. Mayekiso said the company has big plans to be a significant player in the highly competitive industry.

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