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Allan Gray passes away

South Africa loses a giant of the local investment industry
Image: Moneyweb

Allan Gray, the founder of the asset manager that carries his name and one of South Africa’s greatest philanthropists, passed away from a heart attack over the weekend in Bermuda. He was 81 years old.

Gray was born in East London in 1938, and studied accounting at Rhodes University in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape before completing an MBA at Harvard Business School. He spent eight years in Boston working for one of the world’s largest asset managers – Fidelity Management and Research (now known as Fidelity Investments) – before returning to South Africa to found Allan Gray Limited in 1973.

In 1989, he founded the international asset manager Orbis Investment Management, which is based in Bermuda. He also later made the Caribbean island his primary residence.

In 2013, Nigerian magazine Ventures estimated that Gray was the wealthiest man in South Africa, with a net worth of $8.5 billion. He was, however, always fiercely private and his personal fortune was never known for certain.


In recent years Gray in any case donated the bulk of his wealth to charity. In December 2015 he announced that he had transferred his controlling stakes in Allan Gray Limited and Orbis to the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation. In terms of its charter, all of the dividends paid into this foundation must be used exclusively for philanthropic purposes.

Gray also established the Allan Gray Foundation in 2005, which is funded by a donation of a minimum of 5% of the annual pre-tax profits of Allan Gray Limited. It is also supported by an endowment trust that was capitalised with R1 billion from Gray himself.

Now known as the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the organisation aims to foster entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurially-minded young South Africans with scholarships at school level, funding for university education, and support for their small businesses.

The foundation also funds the centre for Values-based Leadership at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, and the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics at Rhodes University.

As of 2017, Forbes estimated Gray’s net worth to be $1.8 billion.


In a statement, Allan Gray Limited said:

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the death of Allan William Buchanan Gray on 10 November 2019, of natural causes. Our first thoughts are with his family, and with them, as colleagues and friends, we are mourning the passing of a man who made an immeasurable impact on many lives as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist.

He has earned his rest.



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So this richest man in South Africa gives so much to development and charity. And ‘they’ dare point fingers at ‘White Monopoly Capital’?

I wonder if all the recipients of his charity even appreciate the hypocrisy of the wholesale slandering of so-called WMC in such a generalised manner.

There’s also the Jannie Mouton as well as Rembrand foundations, to name but two.
Of course white monopoly Capital will get the blame, after all I cannot blame myself now, can I?
The age old question remains: can you afford your sentiment

Rest In Peace would have been enough words at this time.
But then, there’s always me, myself and I.

RIP Dr Allan Gray. You set an example in terms of how an investment company should be run. 100% Reliable. 100% Honest. 100% Client focused.

“Not he who has much is rich but he who gives much” – Melinda Gates. Condolences to the family and the whole of Allan Gray and Orbis.

Sad to hear this. What this man did for charity is mind-blowing. A true doyen of the industry.

What a shining example for us all!

Allam Grays’s cousin, David Gray, a Presbyterian minister in Cape Town, told me a lovely story, of how he was offered bursaries for his four sons to attend school at Bishops. The boys declined. They loved their school of Rondebosch too much to make the transition.

They did take up Allan Gray’s kind offer later as all received bursaries to attend universities though. Each year Allan would invite them for dinner at his residence at Clifton, when he visited SA. He took a personal interest in their lives and progress.

W o w showing an interest in your cousin’s lives!

It is sad to see that one of the best investors in the world and definitely in SA has departed from this world.

Allan Gray grew his investment business from 1973 to be the largest unlisted company in SA. Many of our investors have benefited greatly from the opportunity to invest in his funds.

It is arguably the finest investment institution in SA; it commands huge respect.

What the anti – WMC people do not realize is that black people have always participated in the profits of WMC, through the pooling of black people’s savings and pension funds, by the likes of the PIC, Sanlams and Mutuals, that invested those savings in the best companies in the country, over the past hundred years.

Also, nothing prevented black people from buying the shares of WMC on the JSE.

RIP one of the greats has gone.

Thanks for all you did for me.

His era is probably gone forever. Not a chance some startup guy makes that much money again managing other people’s money! Just the fee basis is entirely different.

Investing is also very different today. IMO the old days ran on let’s be kind and call it privileged information; not just JSE but everywhere. Now, not so much as information is rapid and everywhere and the rules are strict. that insider game still plays off in the unicorns, private equity and VC game rather than public market.

Imagine if he wrote a tell-all! Must have had some astounding stories to tell

Allan is an example of what people with wealth should invest their time and money into. Not only did he help others make a lot of money but he also made sure the bulk of his benefit was left to those able to make as much difference one day in the lives of others. It seems through his family his legacy will live on as a man of get vision and understanding of what life is realy about! He knew well that the value of life is not what you take out but rather put back! His family can be proud of his example, I hope more are inspired to follow his example. Well done Allan!

R.I.P. What talent & class can achieve if left alone to do it. A great man indeed

Now compare this man to Jacob Zuma.

Allan Gray helped build a financial giant. Zuma simply helped himself.

Not much point leaving posts if they keep on being censored, is there?

I think this man had a full life. He is an inspiration.

End of comments.



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