Attitude determines altitude

Bank Windhoek’s manager of sustainable investments and deal origination, Ruan Bestbier, hopes to inspire purpose and influence others through his actions, work ethic and passion for sustainability and the environment.

24 January 2020 | People

Mariselle Stofberg

Pull quote: The urgency to act on climate change is growing, and financial institutions play a crucial role in providing financing to Green projects.

When someone’s biggest fears include being unremarkable, one immediately knows that this individual has a drive and determination to be the change he wishes to see in the world.

Ruan Bestbier tackles everything in life with great enthusiasm, whether it is skydiving, researching Green things, or mastering his Frisbee skills.

“I tackle everything I do with zeal and ambition. I am always willing to learn and to try new things and I live by my late father-in-law’s mantra, ‘beproef alles en behou die goeie,’ which translates to testing everything, but holding onto what is good.”

Bestbier was born in Pretoria and grew up in a small town called Ceres in the Western Cape.

“Obviously, I became a proud Stormers fan and, to my parents’ dismay, an avid skateboarder,” he says.

Reflecting on the moment he realised that support is not always easily accessible, Bestbier says: “I clearly remember my high school maths teacher saying to me, you cannot make a racehorse out of a donkey. With that comment, school clearly took a backseat on my list of priorities.”

To his mathematics teacher’s dismay, he went on to attain a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in agricultural economic analysis and management at the Stellenbosch University despite staying in a rowdy men’s residence where he made lifelong friends with a bunch of wonderful Namibians.

“These Namibians were the ones who introduced me to my lovely Namibian wife. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I studied towards a Master of Science (MSc) in Agricultural Economics part-time whilst I started my first job as an agricultural economist at a deciduous-fruit-exporting company.”

As part of his personal development plan at Bank Windhoek, and to enhance his skill set, he completed his ACI Dealing Certificate through the Financial Markets Association (ACIFMA) and is currently completing the ACI Advanced Dealing Diploma and other online short courses.

“This diploma will enable me to acquire a comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge of the foreign-exchange and money markets, their related instruments, environment and applications, as well as the links that exist between those markets and the practice of risk management,” he says.

In 2016, Bestbier started his career at Bank Windhoek as the treasury middle office officer in the enterprise risk management department.

“I progressed to treasury middle office analyst, where I was responsible for daily liquidity and market risk management, stress testing, limit monitoring and control activities for Bank Windhoek. I perform the same functions for Bank Gaborone (Botswana) and Cavmont Bank (Zambia), which are also members of Capricorn Group,” he adds.

“When the opportunity arose, I took my career to the next level and joined the treasury department, also known as the ‘heart of the bank.' It is here that I became the treasury sales and sustainability analyst as the sustainable investment portfolio moved to the treasury department. This position allowed me to initiate and manage the issuance of Namibia and Southern Africa’s first award-winning Green Bond, a move that led to my current role as manager of sustainable investments and deal origination.”

Throughout his career Bestbier has shown that actions speak louder than words. He strives to be a connector of positive change and unlock sustainable opportunities as a member of the Capricorn Group’s first NextGen Board. The Board serves as a formal body where Millennials and Generation Zs engage with the group’s executive management and give input that lead to creating an organisation for the future by sharing ideas, especially regarding bringing multiple perspectives to the table, building a unique culture, marketing, and business model development.

“I aim to inspire by showcasing how banking and a passion for sustainability can assist in transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for our people and the planet.”

His current role and responsibilities involve driving sustainable or impact investments by raising and managing funds to finance projects which contribute to a climate-resilient and low-carbon environment for future generations.

“The urgency to act on climate change is growing, and financial institutions play a crucial role in providing favourable financing to Green projects. The banking environment dynamics are ever-changing, and part of my job is to conduct continuous research around new industry trends and disruptive technologies, which might come our way in the near future.”

His goal is to make a lasting positive impact on the environment by turning Green and sustainable concepts into reality by identifying and providing them with the needed funding through the Green Bond and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF).

“I encourage others to never fall into a comfort zone; be ambitious; be a go-getter. Never wait for someone to tell you what to do.”

Bestbier believes that a man’s true integrity is revealed on the golf course and when he submits an insurance claim.

“I enjoy a good read, non-fiction mainly, watching documentaries, training in the gym, playing squash, trail running, spending quality time with my wife, and a round or two of casual golf. I am an attentive listener, as I believe it opens your world to greater opportunities and insights.”

Bestbier would like to one day drive a supercar around the Nürburgring racetrack and the Autobahn in Germany and believes his best advice ever given was to never overcomplicate things.

“Any fool can complicate a matter; it takes a touch of genius to simplify it.”

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