Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group chats to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about her life, her journey in a male-dominated world of finance.
She arrived in South Africa as a refugee at the age of 13.
I spent about a year in a refugee camp - very much like the pictures you seeing from Syrian refugees. We were refugees from Poland, from communism then and arrived in South Africa not speaking the language nd with no money whatsoever.— Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group
Her parents were determined to rebuild their life.
South Africa has been very good to me and I am a proud South African rather than being a very proud Polish person which I'm not.— Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group
She says she has always had a huge desire to give back - and through Sygnia lowering costs and shaking up the industry she feels she has started to do that.
But growing up in Poland gave me one thing - and that is a very, very strong background in maths and science. Eastern Europe has been very strong always at those two education streams rather than anything else.— Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group
Though she could not speak the language, she was able to communicate through maths and science and was fortunate to get bursaries to study actuarial science.
But she very quickly moved into the field of investments and learned to track money in a cheap and effective way.
Magda Wierzycka gives her views on how to improve financial literacy in South Africa.
She says the levels are very low in the country.
The financial services industry in South Africa spends enormous amounts of money making sure (financial) literacy is kept at a very low level.— Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group
So the amount of jargon that is used, the amount of emotive advertising to make you believe fairy tales is enormous.— Magda Wierzycka CEO of the Sygnia Group
Sygnia prides itself in providing affordable and realistic asset management, stockbroking and administration services, as well as a wide range of savings products, to institutional and retail clients.
Take a listen to Magda's journey through the world of finance, how she reached the top of her game and how the financial services industry rips people off: