Mr. Rajen Pillay

CEO: Capital & Debt Markets
BComm, PGMA, CAIB (SA), MSc (Corp Fin, Liverpool). Member of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), CFO (SA).

Mr. Pillay is a graduate of the University of Liverpool's Management School (ULMS).

He is a Certified Finance Officer (CFO) and a Management Accountant, with extensive experience running and operating Listed and Unlisted Companies.

Mr. Pillay was a Professor of Practise in Financial Engineering at The University of Johannesburg (UJ). Having being a Faculty Member : Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences until April 2022.

His appointment as Professor was based, and is recognition of his track record, in the application of multidisciplinary knowledge. He is an expert in structuring and devising innovative financial solutions, and complex products for clients.

Mr. Pillay is a seasoned and experienced Corporate Finance Specialist, in Practise, for more than twenty years. He currently works in the Investment Banking space and is CEO of Garuda Capital.

Mr Pillay has earned a B.Comm and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Accounting (PGMA) from the University of Natal. He completed his Associate Diploma in Banking and earned the CAIB (SA) qualification; being the premier banking qualification in SA. His MSc dissertation at the University of Liverpool focused on Capital Raising on the JSE. In particular, capital raising via Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC’s). This dissertation being the first and only academic study of SPAC’s in South Africa, to date. In addition, Mr Pillay has successfully completed the JSE Examinations and was appointed a Member of the JSE from 1989.

Rajen was employed at the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) as a Credit Analyst and subsequently also head of Credit at New Republic Bank Ltd. He deals, on a daily basis with Banks and Credit Committees of various Institutions. And possesses detailed knowledge of credit criteria,  banks limits, credit Mitigation policies etc. He is a Certified Associate of the Institute of Bankers in South Africa; CAIB(SA).

Mr. Pillay joined the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) by joining Mathison and Hollidge Inc. where he became Head of Private Clients. Having passed his examinations, he was appointed a Member of the JSE. With the Distinction of becoming the first Black Member of The JSE (in the Old Apartheid days when the JSE was an Old Boys Club).

Later he joined Frankel Max Pollak Inc. as Director of Private Clients. He was then appointed Director of International Bank, Société Générale Inc. (Soc Gen). Mr. Pillay competed against and won over several key Investment Portfolios from Investec Asset Management and Coronation Asset Management (in excess of R2.5bn) from the Joint Municipal Employees Fund, University of Westville and Durban Institute of Technology. Those portfolios were managed by Mr Pillay for several years, yielding good returns for those Institutions.

He has also been a long serving Director of New National Assurance Company Ltd, a large Public Short-Term Insurer. Mr Pillay managed & advised The Board for several years on their equity and cash portfolio.

Additionally he possesses deep Industrial Experience in running a JSE Listed Company. In 1997 Mr. Pillay co- founded and formed the textile giant, Coastal Group Ltd, where he served as Managing Director. The company was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 1997. And employed 2500 workers in six operating companies. Attaining a peak market capitalisation of > R800m. Gaining significant and deep industrial experience Coastal Group Ltd, was a Star Performer on the JSE.

In running this large Listed Company, Prof.Pillay gained hands on experience in:

  • controlling and directing a high calibre Board of Directors
  • development of strategy
  • developing and setting guidelines for Corporate Governance and ensuring compliance with the King Code of Corporate Governance
  • practical experience of handling a large industrial workforce
  • dealing with Banks, Auditors and Legal Firms
  • detection of fraud and Risk Mitigation strategies
  • Ensuring effective Management of Assets and return on investment.

Under his stewardship Coastal Group’s share price appreciated over the three years from under R0.55 to more than R11.00 each. Turning Coastal Group Ltd into one of the Star Performers on the JSE for the period. This represents the pinnacle of financial engineering in practise. However, the Asian Currency Crisis (ACC), during the late 1990’s, resulted in the demise and Nationalization of the Indonesian parent company. And the collapse of its global subsidiaries.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel appointed Mr. Pillay to the Financial Services Board (FSB) in Pretoria. He focused his energies on the Insider Trading Directorate (ITD) which dealt with “inside deals” on the JSE. Mr Pillay played a pivotal role and dealt with several cases of national economic importance.

He has chaired the sub- committee into the Collapse of Saambou Bank Ltd at the request of the Minister of Finance. Under his purview, the largest fine in South African corporate history of R42m was levied against Deutsche Bank for insider trading. The bank admitted guilt and paid within two days.

He was instrumental in the controversial arrest of Mr Roger Kebble in the Randfontein/ Harmony saga. Mr Pillay has contributed in the Educational Sector as Member of Council of the University of Durban Westville (UDW). Having chaired UDW’s Finance Committee. Mr Pillay has been active with and is Patron of GOPIO International. Also representing GOPIO in New York, Kuala Lumpur and at various Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) in India.

He was honoured by GOPIO Malaysia, having been awarded their International Excellence Award for Finance. Rajen has sponsored & assisted several KZN organizations including Durban Child Welfare, Boys Town (Tongaat), Verulam Hospice and sponsoring the Inaugural UKZN Golf Day.

Mr. Pillay has the distinction of being appointed by President Nelson Mandela and Comrade Alfred Nzo (former Foreign Minister) as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Mauritius. He accompanied President Thabo Mbeki on his first historic Presidential visit to the USA. The business delegation held detailed & ground-breaking discussions with Pres. Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

Mr. Pillay is popular as a Speaker and Panellist, with the following recent engagements:

a) Accounting and Finance Show

b) Global Trade Review (GTR: Cape Town and Livingston Zambia).

c) Various Africa Energy Indaba Conferences.

d) Financial Markets Indaba (London & Harare).

In summary Mr. Pillay’s experience is extensive and comprehensive. Covering the fields of: accounting, auditing, banking, stock broking, finance and trading (which was ground breaking at the height of Apartheid), asset and portfolio management, deep regulatory & compliance experience (ITD), custodianship and stewardship (UDW Council & Chairman of Finance Committee), running and operating a boutique CF Firm, as well as being an industrialist (Coastal Group Ltd). In addition, Mr. Pillay’s MSc research thesis for the University of Liverpool on SPAC’s, remains a solid contribution to the study of finance in SA.

He is an exemplary custodian of corporate governance, clean management & strict adherence to ethical business practice.

Mr. Pillay is also a Director of the ANC Veterans League Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd and advises on their Investments. He is a Specialist in Business Strategy and also assists Foreign Corporates with their Country Entry Strategy.