Magda Wierzycka shows her class after Sygnia return

Magda Wierzycka

Sygnia’s performance since Magda Wierzycka’s return as chief executive showed why she is revered as one of South Africa’s top business leaders and CEOs.

Wierzycka started the hedge fund firm IQvest in 2003, which was sold to the African Harvest group later that year. She was named CEO of African Harvest.

As chief executive, she negotiated the sale of African Harvest Fund Managers to Cadiz Financial Services in 2006.

She also led the management buy-out of the remainder of the African Harvest group, through which Sygnia was founded.

She served as CEO of Sygnia from the start. Under her leadership, Sygnia’s assets under management grew from R2 billion in 2006 to R238 billion in 2019.

Wierzycka led Sygnia to become the second-largest multi-management company in South Africa.

Sygnia was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 14 October 2015. The share offer was 20 times oversubscribed.

Wierzycka stepped down on 31 May 2021, handing the reigns to David Hufton. However, under his leadership, the company did not perform well.

Between May 2021 and May 2023, Sygnia’s revenue increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%. Under Wierzycka, the CAGR was 23.7%.

During Hufton’s tenure as chief executive, Sygnia’s profit increased at a CAGR of 14.11%, again much lower than the previous six years’ 28.2%.

The slowdown in revenue and profit means investors lost trust in the company. The share price declined by 9% during Hufton’s time as CEO.

Since Wierzycka returned as Sygnia CEO in May 2023, the asset manager has achieved strong growth.

Sygnia’s 6-month revenue increased from R408.6 million (H1 2023) to R435.3 million (H2 2023), translating into a CAGR of 13.5%.

Profit increased from R138 million to R165 million in six months, translating into an annualised CAGR of 42.3%.

Wierzycka’s return has also bolstered investor trust. The share price has increased by 23% since she took the reigns in May 2023.

The charts below show the Sygnia share price under former CEO David Hufton and Wierzycka’s second tenure as chief executive.

Share price under David Hufton – 1 June 2021 to 30 April 2023 (-9%)

Share price under Magda Wierzycka – 1 May 2023 to 17 May 2024 (+23%)