From left: Mark Anderson executive director of the Vunani Group, Advocate Dr Wallace Mgoqi chairperson of AYO, Naahied Gamieldien, acting chief executive of AYO, with Ethan Dube, chairperson of the Vunani Group. Photo: Supplied
CAPE TOWN – The largest and fastest-growing black-empowered JSE-listed ICT Group in the country, AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), and Vunani Group, an independent black-owned and managed diversified financial services group, yesterday announced the formation of a R100 million fintech joint venture to expand the fintech platform and financial services activities of Vunani.

Vunani Group is the investment vehicle owned by Ethan Dube, Butana Khoza and Mark Anderson, the three founders and senior management of listed Vunani Limited.

Vunani Group owns 50percent of Vunani Limited, a diversified financial services group, with more than R30billion of funds under management and R10bn assets under administration, which employs more than 300 staff through its four operating businesses: fund management, fund administration, investment banking, securities trading, corporate advisory and private equity.

AYO listed on the JSE in December last year; offering numerous end-to-end solutions to a host of industries. The group's product and service offerings include business process management, big data analytics, data security, software development, Internet of things solutions and cloud services.

Dube said Vunani and AYO wanted to make a high social impact, particularly on the lives of ordinary people, by reducing transactional cost as well as providing access to financial services.

“The strategic partnership with AYO allows us to approach like-minded investors and partner locally and abroad, specifically on the African content. Our fintech focus will include payment technologies, online insurance, lending and banking, digitisation of securities trading, use of crypto currencies (to allow small- and medium-sized emerging businesses to trade across borders), robot advisers and the application of artificial intelligence in asset management and many other possible new technologies that are available to the financial services industry.

AYO chairperson, Advocate Wallace Mgoqi, said: “The tie-up between AYO, South Africa’s largest black owned and listed tech company, and Vunani, one of South Africa’s longest-standing black-owned financial services groups, places empowerment and transformation at the centre of the joint venture."

“Strategic partnerships, like the one we have established with Vunani, are key to business today and I am very pleased that we have been able to conclude this joint venture. We believe that Vunani will expose AYO to innovative financial products and services, some of which we could ultimately introduce to our clients and partners, thereby enhancing the ecosystem we are building, a key feature of today’s technology practioners,” commented Naahied Gamieldien, the acting chief executive of AYO.

Dube added: “Technology, in particular the interface between ICT and telecoms - a core enabler provided by AYO - and access to global partnerships, will over the next decade be the great disrupter in financial services on the African continent. Vunani intends to expand its existing fintech operations and enter new markets, both through organic growth and by acquisition.”

AYO recently acquired a 55percent equity stake in Sizwe Africa IT Group (Sizwe), one of South Africa's leading integrated ICT solution providers.

It is anticipated that AYO’s investment into Sizwe will have a payback period of three to five years on moderate forecasts and is estimated to generate more than R1bn in turnover with excellent operating and earnings before interest and taxes margins.

Mqoqi stated recently that “Sizwe will significantly increase AYO’s revenue, service and product offering, which will capture further market share and overall presence”.

The recent acquisitions and partnership agreements are in line with AYO’s Go To strategy and serve as further evidence of AYO’s resolve to implement the objectives of its strategic roadmap.

BUSINESS REPORT