Steven Harper experience


Founder | Managing Director

Helmsley Advisory

2015 - Present

  • Reviewed the concept and investment proposal of a potential new venture for a listed agricultural inputs company.

  • Built a rolling forecast projection model for a health insurance company operating in over 30 countries. The model calculated results at a product option level and then rolled up multiple jurisdictions and currencies to give a consolidated view of projected financial performance.

  • Produced a detailed business architecture view of a large pensions business in South Africa for each product / service and then at a consolidated level, along with an operating environment analysis.

  • Reviewed multiple business cases and gave feedback to the authors to ensure the quality was of a sufficient standard and the financial sections had been thoroughly interrogated prior to being tabled with the strategy execution committee of a large division of a listed financial services company in South Africa.

  • Reviewed ~45 entities across 14 countries for a listed financial services company in a project which sought to optimise the legal holding structures, eliminate redundant entities and exit non-core businesses. The exercise also included a Balance Sheet review of key entities to remove and repatriate excess capital.

  • Valued a general insurance underwriting manager operating in the large corporate and parastatal sector in South Africa.

  • Performed the valuation of a USD 14 million listed financial services group in Zimbabwe using various valuation methodologies as applicable per subsidiary (i.e. discounted cash flow, various multiple-based methodologies, appraisal value based on the embedded value methodology, and book value).

  • Performed the financial due diligence and confirmatory valuation of a USD 7.5 million financial distribution and advisory group in South Africa.

  • Reviewed the high net worth investment sectors in South Africa and internationally to understand key trends, and then presented a shortlist of suitable acquisition targets for a large client in the wealth management sector.

  • Reviewed the projection model and valuation of a SaaS startup that dealt with financial products distribution and payroll. The effort was carried out on behalf of a client investigating the acquisition of a shareholding in the startup.

  • Collaborated with the executive team to produce a strategy document for a benefit consulting startup in South Africa.

  • Investigated five potential acquisition targets in the benefit consulting sector of South Africa. Activities included due diligence, valuation and transaction management. Successfully executed a transaction with one of the targets investigated.

  • Built a financial statement projection model for a landscaping firm in Dubai looking to raise finance.


Corporate Finance Manager

Liberty Holdings

2009 - 2015

  • Managed the due diligence and transaction process for the potential acquisition of a USD 1+ billion listed financial services group in South Africa in a competitive auction process. The due diligence team consisted of over 160 people across the African continent, including various consultants and lawyers.

  • Performed the initial valuation and managed the transaction process for the potential acquisition of a USD 170 million insurance company in South Africa in a competitive auction process.

  • Managed and was part of the team that performed the confirmatory valuation and due diligence of a listed financial services group in East Africa; assisted with the transaction execution, including approvals and regulatory filings.

  • Managed and executed multiple buy-side (72) and sell-side (four) transactions across sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Planned and executed legal entity and balance sheet restructuring exercises in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Uganda.

  • Investigated the acquisition of numerous companies in the following sectors: life insurance, general insurance, asset management, health insurance and administration, pensions/employee benefits, consumer financing, investment and benefit consulting, and financial products distribution. Activities typically included due diligence and valuation work.

  • Undertook various ad hoc projects, including phantom share scheme development and modelling, internal greenfield/startup business case reviews, holding structure investigation, and market opportunity reviews.


  • Established a holding company in preparation for acquisitions and was part of an initial team of three (plus an assistant); over two years, grew the business through acquisitions to include four new businesses with over 400 employees in total.

  • Managed the acquisition of three companies in the medical aid administration industry in South Africa, including a specialist software development company. Was integrally involved in all parts of the transaction process, including business case development, valuations, due diligence, transaction structuring (including earn-outs), transaction agreement review, and transaction execution.

  • Executed the acquisition of a majority stake in a Nigerian health insurance company. In conjunction with the Group Head of Corporate Finance, modeled and introduced an earn-out structure which successfully bridged a wide pricing gap between the parties.

  • Compiled and reviewed various business cases and proposals for smaller ancillary businesses in the health industry.

  • Undertook ad hoc projects and financial modelling exercises, including industry research, an exercise to propose premium levels of merged medical aid schemes for approval by the regulator, and an exercise to model distribution incentives and their net impact on the financial performance of the benefiting businesses.

Corporate Finance/Corporate Development Manager

Liberty Health Holdings

2007 - 2009


  • Developed and managed the performance models which were used for the group's industry analysis (life insurance, asset management, and unit trusts).

  • Monitored the performance of the group’s five asset managers on a monthly basis (including a fund-of-hedge-funds manager) and prepared the performance reports, including an economic outlook review, for the group's asset/liability matching committee.

  • Served as a member and secretary of the group's asset/liability matching committee which was responsible for ensuring that the group's assets and liabilities were sufficiently matched on a monthly basis.

  • Reviewed and documented the end-to-end internal unit pricing process for the investment products written on the group's three life insurance licenses.

  • Performed the analysis for an odd lot share buyback, whereby small shareholders would be bought out at a premium in order to reduce the size of the company's share register.

  • Assisted with the due diligence, valuation, and research for four acquisitions: one in the asset management sector and three in the individual financial advisory sector.


Liberty Life

2006 - 2007


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