Ian Kantor, the founder of Investec, has retired from the Investec Board of Directors after 45 years.
Ian is best known to the business world as the founder of Investec, the international banking and wealth management group. Investec is a South African success story: listed on both the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges, it employs 10 000 people worldwide. Investec also contributes to society, partnering with local communities and supporting the growth of entrepreneurs.
Ian grew up in the Free State and has a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pretoria. In 1969, he enrolled for an MBA at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB). After graduating, Ian started his career at IBM and taught business finance at the University of the Witwatersrand with an emphasis on the mathematics of finance. He was in the same class as Stewart Cohen (who later became a co-founder of Mr Price), Tiger Wessels and Peter Thorrington-Smith (who would both go on to establish UTI Worldwide). In 2015 Ian joined them to establish the UCT GSB Foundation and is a stalwart supporter of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts. Ian is still an active alumnus of the UCT GSB and remains very much engaged with his alma mater; he also serves on the GSB’s Board of Advisors.
On 28th March 1974, Ian started a small leasing company, as a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments, which in 1976, together with Larry Nestadt and the late Errol Grolman, he acquired and named Investec. In 1978, Glynn Burger, Bernard Kantor and Stephen Koseff joined Investec. Ian continued as CEO of Investec until 1984, Chairman of the holding company of Investec until 2002 and a non-executive director of Investec until 2020.
In 1988, Ian moved to the Netherlands to acquire and develop Bank Insinger de Beaufort, a private bank, as its CEO, and later Executive Vice-Chairman as well as Chairman of the holding company of Insinger de Beaufort, listed in Luxemburg. More recently, Ian founded Sailfish Management B.V., based in Amsterdam.
In 2016, together with his wife Mary Lou, Ian set up a foundation in Amsterdam called New Angle which helps and supports various medical, sport and cultural institutions such as Alzheimer Centre of the Free University of Amsterdam, the World Press Photo Foundation as well as De Balie, the biggest centre for free speech in the world.
Besides his reputation as a numbers person, Ian is an avid reader, earning him the nickname “the philosopher” from his Investec partners. He has also been a dedicated runner since the age of fifteen; he has run in many cities across the world, from Hong Kong to Moscow. His favourite route ever is on the Cape Peninsula: the coastal road from Clifton to Hout Bay harbour and back, at 5 am on Saturday while listening to the Bea Reed’s Gentle Alternative on Springbok radio.
- GSB Industry Expert Speaker Series: In conversation with Mr Ian Kantor. Webinar. UCT GSB, 23 Sep 2020. Password to access the video: w#$u2prb
- Progressive insights: Ian Kantor’s lessons in leadership. Podcast. Investec Focus, 12 Aug 2020.
Ian Kantor’s surprise book selection says it all. Special man. Always will be. by Alec Hogg. BizNews, 30 June 2020.