Prescient Investment Management has announced a number of significant personnel changes within its investment team.
The most notable is that co-founder Guy Toms will move out of the CIO role to take up the position as strategist. He will be replaced by Bastian Teichgreeber.
Toms had previously served as chief strategist at the firm, but took over as CIO in 2018.
‘What we want to get out of Guy is the ability for him to focus on investments,’ said Teichgreeber. ‘He is not moving out. The opposite is the case.
‘Guy is in the office every day, he sits next to me, and we speak about the funds together every day. But we want to free up his time to allow him to focus on investment strategies, investment philosophy, and the bigger picture. That’s what he loves, and that’s where he is best. We want to completely take away the responsibility of managing the team.’
Teichgreeber is promoted to CIO after six years with Prescient. He was originally appointed as a portfolio manager at the firm in 2015, before taking on the roles of head of asset allocation and head of investment research.
He will continue to manage the Prescient Balanced fund.
Prescient also announced that Conway Williams had joined the firm as Head of Credit. Williams has worked at Old Mutual and Futuregrowth Asset Management since 2007. He was most recently joint head of unlisted credit at the specialist fixed income manager, and prior to this he headed up the listed credit function.
In addition, Prescient promoted three new team heads. Reza Ismail was named head of bonds, Henk Kotze will be head of income and cash, and Rupert Hare was named as co-head of multi-asset strategies alongside Teichgreeber.
‘We are gearing the company towards growth,’ Teichgreeber said of the changes. ‘We want to strengthen the team at all levels to expand and grow the company.
‘We also wanted to be very clear on our structure,’ he added. ‘We have created a flat structure with direct reporting lines to the CIO, so that individual teams have autonomy and that decision making is fast.’
Teichgreeber added that growth in the business does not mean adding more products, but strengthening Prescient’s position in the market.
‘We do think we are the leading systematic asset manager in South Africa,’ Teichgreeber said. ‘It’s a bold statement, but I am happy to make it. We think that we can process more data and more information than anyone else.
‘We have a complete product range, and a very strong product range. We want to grow assets, but not at the cost of having a diluted product range. So we will be focusing on the products we already have.’
He added that Prescient is still looking to hire additional investment professionals to further strengthen its capabilities.
As the new head of credit, Williams said that he hopes to bring additional skills to the Prescient approach.
‘The intent is to enhance and strengthen what is already there,’ he added. ‘It’s exciting to me that the system is already built and well-functioning, is data-driven and thus market-cognisant. There is a portal that works, and as a result, we have the ability to price assets at the push of a button. My role will be to lead a collaborative and cohesive team, and build on and advance research efforts.
‘We will also capacitate the team accordingly so that we have the correct balance of quantitative and fundamental skills.’
As part of this, Prescient announced that Michelle Green, who is currently with Futuregrowth, will join Williams’ team as a credit analyst from the start of March.
Patrick Cairns is South Africa Editor at Citywire, which provides insight and information for professional investors globally.
This article was first published on Citywire South Africa here, and republished with permission.