More than money

The general manager of finance at Namdia shares the benefits of being an all-rounder in his career

05 November 2021 | People

Monique Adams and Jeanette Diergaardt

General Manager | Sven Von Blottniz | Namdia

With a rich career history that first started at PWC, and fruitful years in the banking industry, Sven von Blottniz now serves as the general manager of finance at Namdia.

Born in Grahamstown, South Africa, Sven and his family moved to Namibia when he was in grade 4, establishing his roots in the coastal town of Swakopmund. After high school the young Sven continued his journey at the University of Cape Town where he studied for a bachelor’s degree in business with a bursary from PWC.

After his journey at PWC, Sven stepped into the banking industry, starting at the Commercial Bank of Namibia, which is now a part of Nedbank Namibia. Not stopping at one company, Sven continued to move on to become the group company secretary of First National Bank. His journey as a banker ended at Standard Bank where he was the chief operating officer. He also dabbled in the education sector, working at Namibia Training Authority for two years and at the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund.

‘The pioneering game’

Since June 2017 Sven started his journey at Namdia as the general manager of finance. “I have a very long, diverse career; it is about 25 years of finance positions,” says Sven.

He started working at Namdia a year after it was established.

As the GM, his daily duties consist of “making something out of nothing,” according to Sven. He organises the finances of the Namdia, talking with different banks to assess the company’s financial ability to buy the different products it sells. According to Sven, a common misconception the public has is that the company gets the diamonds for free, whereas they actually buy and sell the diamonds to different traders. After ensuring the money is back in the bank, a lot goes into managing the money to ensure the best returns on investments. For the past three years before Covid the company experienced positive growth. During the Covid-19 pandemic the market struggled. “We literally worked at a financial loss for six months, which we never had before,” says Sven. After that the industry slowly picked up and is currently at an all-time high.

“The diamond market has bounced back and people are buying diamonds like you would never believe,” says Sven. When the market drops, luxury purchases like diamonds are the first to go.

“As a finance person, you need to be an all-rounder,” says Sven, adding that everything has to do with finance and you have to connect to everybody.

Declaring their first dividends was one of the GM’s proudest moments, as that means the company has excelled.

The GM sees Namdia growing to twice its size and one day hopes to have pioneered Namibia as a country known for its diamonds. He also hopes to help attract investors to the country and to see tourism boom as a result of the country’s high-quality diamonds.

Personal Life

Sven describes himself as a hands-on father and passionate about his children. Two of his children are studying and working in Germany. Besides being a loving father, Sven enjoys putting a smile on the faces of his colleagues, being a firm believer that laughter is a tool to keep one sane.

Career Motivation

Be an all-rounder who connects with people. Always have an open mind, as that will send your career into various directions. Most importantly, have a strong foundation before starting your career.

5 Facts about Sven

Loves diving for crayfish.

Enjoys nature.

Camping is his favourite getaway.

He has a half finger.

He is passionate about his children.

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