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Navigating the perfect storm

As we start off the New Year and look back over the past twelve months, we can all agree that 2020 will always be remembered as a watershed event for individuals, politics and economy on a global scale. It will forever be recalled by history as a signpost when the way the world was viewed, changed. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide brought on unrest, uncertainty and tremendous socio-economic impacts, forcing business leaders collectively to take unprecedented action. COVID-19 shook the very foundations of the global economy with revenues falling and businesses could brook no stalling. The situation demanded innovation as well as adaptation from all sectors.

One of Namibia’s foremost chartered accountants, Marco Erasmus, has been at the center of this disruption for one the country’s leading Financial Services conglomerates, Trustco Group Holdings. He provides his firsthand experience on one of his biggest challenges to date, how to navigate an internationally renowned organization through this perfect storm.

“During a crisis such as this, the number of difficult decisions that must to be taken increases considerably in both frequency and complexity as the level of uncertainty and risk increases. For us as Trustco, the impact was no different. We had to act decisively to safeguard the group’s future and to navigate through the tremors left by the pandemic. Daily consultative high-level meetings with our teams and staff ensured that we rarely got caught with our pants down on what we all now call ‘the new normal’. We experienced a tough period where we absorbed the global shock we experienced only by gathering new information on how to deal with the impact of the virus. We ensured transparency, regular communication and sound decision making reigned supreme throughout all our processes,” Erasmus explains.

Trustco was one of the first Namibian companies to act once the pandemic hit the home-ground and was identified as a local threat. As a precaution staff were sent home two weeks prior to the official announcement of a lockdown and national state of emergency and the hundreds of thousands of clients of Trustco were kept up to date on the latest development and protective measures to save lives and livelihoods as far as possible. Erasmus explains that a quick adaptation to remote work within the group ensured that the business was able to continue as normal with minimal disruption.

As a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA) with extensive experience in the Southern African Financial Services market, Erasmus currently heads the corporate finance division for Trustco Group Holdings. His previous position, heading one of Africa’s financial powerhouses in the SADC region, Alexander Forbes, clearly showed that Erasmus indeed had the pedigree to make his mark at Trustco. Appointed by Trustco Group in May of 2019 as the Head of the Financial Services division, Erasmus’ focus has been on the driving of the Financial Services’ business strategy and growth.

These days Erasmus finds himself at the helm of the Group’s corporate finance division, driving the group’s funding, capital structuring and investment strategy, which is directed to deliver maximum long-term shareholder returns. The father of two does not consider himself to be the stereotypical formal suit and tie CA. He is more of a jeans and tekkies type of guy, which resonates very well within the Trustco culture which he has adapted to very quickly and became very much accustomed to.

“Our vision is to create long-term sustainable growth for all our stakeholders and I am proud to be part of a very dynamic team. With the pandemic still very much a reality at the beginning of 2021, we find ourselves to be better equipped to ensure that we continue to drive this growth for our shareholders,” Erasmus notes.

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