Selma Kapeng has been the Head of Global Markets at RMB Namibia since 2015 and manages a competent team that assists clients to manage, understand, measure and account for risk exposure in the global financial market.
“The sphere of operations is ever changing and thus, there is immense pressure on the team to offer hedging solutions. We deal with the risk areas of foreign exchange, interest rates and commodity exposures. In addition to these offerings, competencies are extended to advice, structure and creating new products to assist clients in managing their specific exposure in financial markets. It is for this reason that entities consider hedging their exposures, ensuring budget certainty and protecting themselves against catastrophic events,” said Kapeng.
Kapeng added that only last year, approximately N$82.5 billion worth of Namibian trade (trading with the rest of the world) was exposed to foreign currency risk. Importers are adversely exposed to the probability of the foreign currency strengthening, which translates into needing more of the local currency to pay for imports.
“On the other hand, exporters are adversely exposed to the local currency strengthening, resulting in receiving less of the local currency for foreign sales.”
Regarding commodity exposures, she said that Namibia has abundant natural resources and the volatile movement in the commodity prices could have an adverse impact on earnings. “Bear in mind that commodities at times are twice as volatile as currencies to which mining companies are already exposed for their export proceeds. Namibians are both producers and consumers of commodities. For example, the mining and construction industries use significant quantums of diesel, and hence companies may wish to hedge themselves against adverse movements in the energy markets. Cognisance however should be taken of natural hedges present and the team can assist to identify such opportunities to lower costs.”
“In addition, the GM team is actively trading in the fixed income market, whereby we sell and buys fixed income instruments for our clients,” she added.
Kapeng began her career as an accountant in various Namibian state-owned enterprises and with further studies in B. Comm (Hons) in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management at the University of Cape Town her career took her to the financial markets industry.
“To broaden my knowledge in financial markets I obtained both the ACI Dealing and Operations Certificates. These certificates are recognised worldwide and attest to the holder’s mastery of the fundamental instruments and structures of a modern treasury. I was later promoted to the position of Senior Investment Officer at BoN before joining the great FNB as Head of the Funding Desk.”
About her job Kapeng says: “Operating in a rapidly changing environment can be challenging. Recent volatility in financial markets has been events driven – despite this we need to keep abreast of market developments to understand the possible risks our clients could be exposed to.
“My advice to fellow women: We are equally competent and organisations are realising that. Push your boundaries, optimise the opportunities in your sphere of operation and keep reinventing yourself.”