Embarking on a completely different career at the age of 30 (thanks to her husband for focusing her attention on a job advertisement), Nerina Visser is glad that she took the leap of faith. She switched from the defence and weapons industry to the finance and investment industry and also did seven years of postgraduate studies (MBA and CFA) after having three children.
Today she looks back on numerous career highlights after the risky career change. She established an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) business within Nedbank and listed two ETFs on the JSE, and a secondary listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (2010-2011). Impressive awards like top-rated analyst in the Quantitative Analysis category in the annual Financial Mail “Ranking the Analysts” in 2006, Nedbank Top Achiever (2010) and Most Influential Women in Business and Finance in South Africa by CEO magazine (2010) followed. She became the president of the CFA Society South Africa in 2017 and received the CFA Institute Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018.
Making a difference in the investment industry and in the lives of individuals through investment education is the latest highlight in Nerina’s career. She managed to start her own consulting business just over three years ago, which allows her the freedom of using her time as she chooses and focusing on making a difference. She is also part owner and director of the etfSA Portfolio Management Company.
Nerina views passion, honesty and integrity as integral characteristics of being successful in a career. Being curious and staying humble, as well as being light on assumptions and heavy on pragmatism and being ‘client-centric’ are also important.
A life lesson Nerina learned, is to be kind. “In a world where you can be anything – be kind. There are enough people who are (or want to be) ‘right’ in this world. What the world needs more than anything, is kindness.” She is internally motivated by topics she is passionate about, her desire to make a difference, her overwhelming sense of responsibility and striving to stay true to her greater purpose.
“I don’t recall challenges as being that, but rather as opportunities for growth and change. Some of the biggest paradigm shifts and subsequent successes in my career have come as a result of what would have been viewed as challenges at the time, but in retrospect I can only see the benefit it brought.”
Nerina feels that the future of Stellenbosch University lies in its relevance to society and the extent to which it is fit for its purpose to equip its students for the demands of society and what it requires. Her best Matie memory is of the University choir and the two years she was part of it.
- By Elbie Els -