Board of Directors

Desmond Kent Smith

Chairman

Desmond Kent Smith was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on
21 June 1947. After matriculating from Indwe High School, he obtained his B.Sc degree (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch. In 1973 he qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (London) and completed the International Senior Management Programme (ISMP) at Harvard Business School in 1992.

He joined Sanlam in 1968, where he became Managing Director in 1993. He retired from Sanlam at the end of 1997 and served as Managing Director of the Reinsurance Group of America (South Africa) (RGA) from 1999 until 2005. He was Chairman of Sanlam from 2010 until 2017, is currently Chairman of RGA and holds several company directorships.
He served on a number of the committees of the Actuarial Society of SA and the International Actuarial Association (IAA), and is a Past-President of both.

He served as Chairman of the Life Offices Association of South Africa (LOA) in 1996, 2004 and 2008 and is a Past President of the Pensions Institute of Southern Africa.

Paul Stewart

Chief Executive Officer

Paul has worked in investments both internationally and in South Africa. In 2005 he joined Plexus Asset Management as Chief Operating Officer and became Managing Director of the Plexus Group in 2008. Plexus was acquired by Bridge Fund Managers (formerly Grindrod Asset Management) in March 2012. Paul has served on and chaired various industry committees including ACI and Asisa. Paul has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years.

Ian Anderson

Chief Investment Officer

Ian joined Bridge Fund Managers (formerly Grindrod Asset Management) as Chief Investment Officer in September 2009. Prior to that, he ran his own consultancy where his clients included Marriott Asset Management, Fortress Asset Managers (part of the Resilient group of companies) and the Property Loan Stock Association of South Africa. Ian was the Investment Director at Marriott Asset Management from 2002 to 2007, having joined the firm as an Investment Analyst in 1996. Ian has been involved in the management of specialist listed property portfolios for the past 15 years and the investment industry for over 20 years.

Greg Heron

Board Member

Greg, a chartered accountant, is the CEO of Infinitus Holdings, an investment holding company with interests in quality, high growth unlisted businesses. Infinitus Holdings is a significant shareholder in Bridge Fund Managers. He has over 25 years’ experience in corporate, structured and property finance as well as operational exposure to a variety of businesses. Greg has served as a board member for various companies in both the listed and unlisted environment.

David Polkinghorne

Board Member

David is the Chief Executive of Grindrod Bank Limited. Outside of banking David was appointed to the Grindrod Executive Committee and the Grindrod Limited Board in 2005. He was Chairman of the Kearsney College Board of Governors, is a non-executive Director of The Umhlatuzi Valley Sugar Company, and is a Trustee of The Cecil Renaud Charitable Trust, the Kearsney College Development Fund and Durban Children Welfare Society.

Andrew Blades

Board Member

Andrew is Managing Director of GFS Holdings (Pty) Limited (GFS) which houses all the non-banking financial services activities of Grindrod Limited.  Strategically it became necessary to formerly separate GFS from Grindrod Bank Limited.  GFS has a 49% equity stake in Infinitus Holdings (Pty) Limited which is the majority shareholder in Bridge Fund Managers.