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.
Ian Kantor / GSB MBA ’69, Founder of Investec // As a business leader, it is useful to have a combination of traits. I cannot limit this to a single attribute. To begin with, character, drive and integrity. Secondly, an understanding that building a business goes beyond just the money. It is also about an awareness and a determination that is socially motivated. Thirdly, an ability to take an idea and turn it into reality, but also to figure out what ideas there could be when confronted with reality. Next, an ability to move quickly where necessary, but also to have the patience and strength to wait for things to develop, with all that that entails. Finally, interpersonal skills. To be able to listen to others and empathise in order to find a common ground with others and an ability to build collective will with counter parties both internally and externally. Running a business is top sport, and it is really tough without good health. In my opinion, these traits are universal no matter where in the world you do business.
Damian Malgas / GSB MBA student 2020 and GSB Foundation scholar // I find that the MBA at the GSB is very much unique – there’s a massive focus on understanding your place in society. Every course includes Sustainable Development Goals or externalities in one way or another, and that’s really cool and interesting. We are going deep into understanding that business doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it affects not only your employees and your customers, not only your triple-bottom-line; it affects society as a whole. And that’s something I really enjoy and can subscribe to. Acknowledging that the GSB is so focused on shaping you as a holistic business person allowed me to submit to the process and fully embrace all the material that’s coming our way.
Asanda Manina / GSB MBA student 2019 and GSB Foundation scholar // The GSB Foundation scholarship affords me the opportunity to be here on campus, full-time, and 100% focused on the MBA, an opportunity that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. But getting the scholarship is more than the financial windfall. It’s also about the fact that someone looked at you and they had this belief that firstly you deserve this and also that you’ll do it justice, you know? It’s like a pat on the back, a confirmation of “Yes, you can do this” – and to get that from people you don’t know is really amazing, it’s an amazing feeling.
There is less than a month to tax-year end on 28 February, the time of the year when many of us prepare our tax returns. If you haven’t taken full advantage of the tax-deductible amount you’re donating to charitable causes, then now is the time to do so.
Making a donation to the GSB Foundation now will not only save you tax: this saving may then allow you to increase the amount you donate to others and benefit those you sponsor even more.
How you can help us take Africa’s future leaders further
You can take advantage of the tax benefits available by donating to the GSB Foundation before the end of February in two convenient ways:
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Your donations will enable future leaders to make the most of their time at the GSB, launching them into careers that we humbly hope will fulfil our stated vision of building leaders committed to building Africa.
This year we have been able to fund four full scholarships for the full-time MBA course. Asanda, Euston, Jane and Nobukhosi are on their way, supported by the contributions of generous GSB alumni. These graduates are already established professionals in their own right.
Linda and Peter extended a warm welcome to the 2019 scholars of the GSB Foundation. Nobukhosi, Jane, Asanda and Euston will be studying for the MBA on a full-time basis this year, supported by the Foundation.
The scholars, each in their own right, are seasoned professionals ready for the next challenge. Nobukhosi carved out her career in construction and Jane in retail marketing; Asanda climbed the ranks in accounting and financial services, and Euston in geoscience and mining.
The GSB Foundation scholarship provides for tuition fees, mentoring, and other non-financial support of scholars throughout the year; the assistance is enabled solely by the contributions of time, treasure and talent by GSB Alumni. Candidates for the scholarship have passed all UCT GSB entry requirements and been offered a place on the GSB MBA Programme prior to applying to be considered for a scholarship.
Congratulations on your amazing achievements thus far and wishing you a great start on campus! We look forward to being a part of your journey this year.
The students of the 2019 GSB MBA classes – full-time and modular – started on campus and orientation week is in full swing. Earlier in the week, students followed the invitation of the GSB Foundation and met with Peter Wingrove, the Foundation’s Managing Director, for an informal session on the Foundation’s work and offerings.
Peter started the session with explaining the big picture, that the students are now part of the GSB Alumni network; a network that spans 5000+ graduates in more than 80 countries across the globe. It is these alumni who support the GSB Foundation, united by the vision to enable the future generations of GSB Graduates.
The students of 2019 hail from many countries, including Angola, India, Belgium, Germany, Canada and of course, South Africa. They can tap into the GSB Alumni network during the time of their studies and beyond. They can also get involved, from wherever their paths will take them. The students also asked questions relating to the Foundation, the Alumni network and managing the workload of the MBA programme. Peter, being a GSB MBA Graduate himself, was able to give advice on how students can make the most of their time and how to start growing their network.
As mentioned by Peter at the end of the session – the team of the GSB Foundation wishes all MBA students of 2019 a productive and inspiring time on campus and we look forward to engaging with you!
Segran Nair / GSB MBA ’05 and Director of Open Academic Programmes at the GSB // One of the biggest cost components of the MBA is tuition; so where individuals are able to receive a scholarship towards their tuition it’s a huge burden released. Also, in the context of South Africa, many historically disadvantaged individuals still tend to have multiple financial obligations that extend beyond their immediate financial commitments, for example, the need to financially support an extended family. Having the ability to receive a scholarship then not only enables them to get onto the GSB MBA programme but ensures that they can continue supporting their families. It makes a tremendous difference to allow deserving individuals the opportunity to study on a full-time basis. And as much as there are no formal strings attached to these scholarships, there is a principle of paying it forward – from those individuals that were supported so far, each one has shown commitment in terms of giving back to the school at some later point in time.
Sandy Mattison (GSB MBA ‘97) received the 2018 GSB Director’s Alumni Award in the category “Contribution in building alumni relationships”. The award was presented at the 2018 GSB Graduation Ball, 22 June 2018 at Century City Conference Centre, by Acting UCT GSB Director Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran.
Sandy is passionate about the GSB MBA programme and the GSB Foundation’s work of supporting students with their studies. A GSB alumna herself, she wanted to get involved and she certainly set the bar high: Her aim was to raise R100,000 towards an MBA scholarship.
The idea of the fundraiser was sparked at the reunion of the MBA Class of ’97 in December 2017 and soon thereafter, Sandy started rallying for the cause. In co-operation with the GSB Foundation, a dedicated Class of ’97 MBA Scholarship Fund was set up. Within six months she had gathered more than twenty individual pledges from class colleagues over R5,000 each and the funds raised exceeded the amount she initially set out to achieve.
The GSB Foundation congratulates Sandy on her hard work and fully supports this wonderful recognition of her efforts by the GSB. We are deeply grateful for her initiative and extraordinary dedication. Due to Sandy’s efforts and that of her class colleagues, another student will be able to complete the GSB MBA programme with the support of the GSB alumni network.
Sandy’s class is one of several classes now raising funds for MBA scholarships at the GSB – if you would like to know more, please see the GSB Foundation’s Alumni Campaigns page. The Director’s Alumni Awards were initiated in 2007 and annually honour alumni of the GSB who have made an outstanding contribution to the alma mater.
Linda Fasham / Executive Consultant at the GSB Foundation // I love interacting with people! As part of my work at the GSB Foundation, I organise events where alumni meet and connect with captains of industry. Having just retired from being the GSB Alumni Relations Manager for many years, it was a natural progression for me to join the Foundation when it started out. Working at the Foundation is about ongoing communication and relationship building. It’s a personal relationship – people know your name after all these years of being involved with alumni affairs. I enjoy the fact that, through our work, I am still engaging with the alumni of the Business School. All that we do at the Foundation speaks to the loyalty and passion that alumni have for their alma mater; I hope that our work is a true expression of this and will enrich the connectedness of our alumni.