Arun Varughese, 34

Arun’s passion for finance and entrepreneurship started long before his professional career. He grew up in the Eastern Cape and his entrepreneurial spirit was harnessed at an early age working alongside his father in the family business. Arun has gravitated towards commercial ventures of all sizes ever since.

He obtained honours degrees in Finance and Accounting and a master’s degree in Financial Management from the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is also a CFA charter holder.

He served a year of academic articles at UCT, where he lectured and tutored undergraduate students in taxation. During this time, Arun also lectured at the Raymond Ackerman school for entrepreneurs and at the Thuthuka Academy for aspiring black CA(SA) candidates. Post the completion of his articles at Deloitte, Arun joined Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), where he has spent almost a decade in investment banking.

He is at present a corporate finance executive in the Investment Banking Division of RMB, where he leads advisory teams and is actively involved in spearheading the bank’s growth initiatives in the private equity and telecommunications media and technology (TMT) groups. Arun is one of the youngest members of the corporate finance executive committee at RMB and serves in various leadership roles at the bank.

He also spent a year and half in London building the RMB brand and strengthening relationships with key European clients by focusing on value-additive M&A opportunities across Africa. During his career at RMB, he has advised and helped execute landmark transactions worth some US$15 billion, including the sale of Pepkor to Steinhoff, the acquisition of Clover by Milco, and the Tsogo Sun placement by SAB Miller.

Arun remains passionate about the progression of young talent and works actively towards developing the next generation of leaders in banking. He is also a seasoned member of the FirstRand CSI programme, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. He continues to showcase his passion for start-ups by investing in a variety of ventures such as e-commerce, property and hedge funds.

Arun feels honoured to be nominated for the SAICA Top 35-under-35 competition and hopes his journey will encourage young students from disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire to become chartered accountants and finance professionals.

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