Anton Pillay is CEO of Coronation and Chairperson of ASISA.

To mark Youth Month, we hosted our annual interactive session with finance and business university students from across the country. The online discussion, with the theme of #Yougotthis, honed in on how the students are feeling and how they plan to respond to the next 12 months given the challenging times due to the impact of Covid-19.

Determining a clear path and purpose is vital for students as they embark on their careers. How young people respond to their circumstances and the challenges that they face and how they use the resources available to them will ultimately determine their futures. What was encouraging was that most of the students remain optimistic about the future. A positive and confident approach is what matters most.

Several of the students in attendance were part of the Young Investor Programme (YIP), while others were recipients of Coronation’s Bursary Programme. YIP aims to bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge obtained at university and practical work requirements, preparing budding asset managers for the challenges and rewards of the finance and investment industry.

Nurturing young talent

Our investment in long-term youth initiatives support education and provide meaningful opportunities for young future leaders through a number of programmes that help young South Africans get ahead.

  • Coronation Exceptional Students Bursary Programme

Since inception of the programme, 128 students from all over South Africa have been awarded full tertiary bursaries on merit and financial needs. In 2021, 22 students of whom 82% are black and 64% are female were awarded bursaries.

We not only provide financial support, but also psycho-social support and tutoring for all bursary students through the company’s development programme with Excel@Uni. This support is critical, especially during such challenging times. Coronation has one-on-one discussions with students every month to understand the struggles they face, which guides the programme and the initiatives that follow.

We also offer them resilience training, as we believe it is a key skill for the wellbeing and development of young people, especially given the uncertainty experienced during Covid-19.

  • Graduate Intern Programmes

Our internship programmes assist in growing and deepening the investment industry’s pool of talent. The two-year workplace experience internship programme for unemployed graduates was established in 2012 and is aimed at developing specific skills that are in short supply in the marketplace. In 2020, we launched the Coronation Brilliant Minds graduate development programme designed to ease the transition from student to employee by providing structured support, and opportunities to develop interpersonal and technical skills.

72 graduates have benefited from the intern programme since it launched. 88% of the interns are black and 67% are female. 14 interns are currently on the programme of whom all are black and 57% are female. Five graduates have been placed at Coronation since January 2021 and we’ll be recruiting four more interns before the end of this year.

  • Developing teachers

Education is at the heart of our CSI activities. We believe that every child has the right to a high standard of education and yet this is not a reality in South Africa.

In 2020, Coronation joined the YES4Youth initiative by appointing 30 unemployed black youth into teacher assistant roles at schools in Gauteng and the Western Cape. This year, five of these interns were afforded the opportunity to complete a NQF 4 Early Childhood Development qualification as a start to building their careers in education.

Acting purposefully for the youth of South Africa

These are just a few ways in which our business actively supports and develops young talent. There is a significant role for our youth to play in shaping the future of South Africa. Hearing their challenges in various engagements over the last year, which have gone beyond the extraordinary given the global pandemic and deepening economic hardships, has been humbling, concerning but ultimately inspiring. The youth motivate us to remain steadfastly committed to our purpose of investing in our country and its people for the long-term.

Anton Pillay is CEO of Coronation and Chairperson of ASISA.

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Maintaining an equity bias and following diversification principles provide the foundation for building strong investment portfolios. - David F. Swensen, CIO, Yale and philanthropist