Sisa Ngebulana. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Sisa Ngebulana. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Sisa Ngebulana, who founded Rebosis, the first black-owned JSE-listed property group, is expanding into financial services by buying a stake in a well-known stockbroking firm.

Ngebulana is leading a consortium that has acquired 51% of Anchor Capital’s stockbroking arm in an empowerment deal intended to increase its appeal to institutional investors.

The transaction represents further progress in the transformation of the financial services and asset management sector, following Peregrine Securities’ recent announcement of the formation of an empowerment consortium that could receive a 65% stake in return for R901m.

The sale of Anchor’s controlling interest in Anchor Stockbrokers comes only a year and a half after the launch of its research and brokerage subsidiary. Anchor Stockbrokers CE Brett Adams said a black empowerment transaction had always been on the cards and Ngebulana was the preferred candidate. The partnership fits well with the subsidiary’s focus on local real estate, Adams said.

Ngebulana will take the role of nonexecutive chairman of Anchor Stockbrokers. Anchor describes its stockbroking arm as having a niche focus on real estate research.

Stockbroking firms were operating in a highly competitive environment, said Sasfin Securities deputy chairman David Shapiro. Moreover, institutional investors looked for empowerment credentials.

Ngebulana is the founder and executive chairman of Billion Group, SA’s first major black-owned property company.

"Given regulatory changes, corporate governance demands and intensifying competition, it is increasingly important that research houses remain autonomous and flexible to provide clients with objective insights and analysis," Ngebulana said.

The amount paid for the stake was not disclosed. The company said its announcement was voluntary and would therefore not have a material effect on the group’s share price.

Anchor Stockbroking, which launched in September 2017, is one of three Anchor subsidiaries, overseeing assets of R288m as of the financial year to end-December, compared to the group’s R53bn.

The subsidiary generated R43m in revenue, off a R5m operating profit.

The Anchor Group’s overall offshore strategic focus contrasts with the stockbroking arm’s local focus.

It also comes as offshore-focused JSE-listed property stocks have outperformed their South African-focused peers.

Despite the volatility seen in the JSE’s listed property sector so far in 2018, this was simply providing opportunities for stockbrokers, said Adams.

Anchor’s share price closed 1.32% higher at R3.85 on Tuesday, while the financial index lost 0.74%. Rebosis rose 2.2% to R7.89, compared to a 0.14% rise in the property index.