Before the age of 30, John Oliphant became Principal Executive Officer of the Government Employees’ Pension Fund, a defined benefit fund and the largest pension fund in Africa, with assets worth R1.6 trillion. In less than five years, he managed to double the fund’s assets. Little wonder, then, that he was named Industry Person of the Year in Financial Services, as well as Africa’s Top Emerging Leader by Africa Investor in partnership with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Oliphant had to demonstrate his tenacity from an early age.
“The school where I matriculated had limited resources for teaching, so the pass rate in my year was only 29%, but I worked hard and emerged as one of the top 100 achievers in the Free State. That opened doors for me to study further and secure a better future for myself and my family,” he says.
Oliphant obtained a BSc in actuarial science and mathematical statistics, followed by a BSc (Hons) in advanced mathematics of finance, both from the University of the Witwatersrand. Later, he obtained an MSc Finance in economic policy from the University Of London.
These achievements have equipped him for his leadership position at Third Way Investment Partners, a BEE financial advisory and investment firm with assets under management of R2,4 billion. If Oliphant’s track record is anything to go by, that figure is set to grow.