Ebrahim Tootla, 29

Ebrahim’s CA journey began at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2011, where he self-funded his studies. He completed both his CTA and board exams at his first attempt.

In 2015, he joined Standard Bank on a training contract. During his formative rotations, he stumbled across his passions of treasury management and Islamic banking and managed to negotiate a role which interlinked these two passions.
Shari’ah banking was only at the business concept stage then and he was the second person to join the team. They took the business concept through many approval processes and dedicated themselves to developing products which are both Shari’ah compliant and align to Standard Bank’s values.

After four years of perseverance, their financial position has surpassed competitors who have been in the market much longer than them. They are pioneering the market with South African, African and world firsts. Ebrahim feels that his skills and knowledge as a CA(SA) allowed him to place himself strategically at the heart of Shari’ah banking in Standard Bank. Their team has grown in skills and personnel leading them hiring newly qualified graduates. The skills he gained through his training programme and as a registered assessor have assisted him to equip them with the skills they needed to transition into the workplace.

In addition to being instrumental in the success of Standard Bank’s Shari’ah division, Ebrahim has developed the treasury function with its associated risk management mechanisms and frameworks, proposed tax amendments to National Treasury, was one of 50 people globally awarded a scholarship to complete CIPA at AAOIFI, and assisted in structuring Shari’ah-compliant investment banking and global markets deals.

He is dedicated to making his passions assist the less fortunate. He was part of a CSI project where they adopted a crèche and transformed it from an informal building to a permanent structure with toilets and fridges in such a way that ongoing costs would be minimal. He also assists NPOs to manage their cash flow in order to maximise their charity work.

Ebrahim is governed by the maxim, ‘There are no problems in life, only opportunities.’ Hard work and a never-give-up attitude have allowed him to merge a formally excluded part of the financial sector into the formal economy. This solution not only touches South Africa but has the potential to reach deep into unbanked Africa − which is where his next challenge lies.

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