NAV on 2020/02/27
|NAV on 2020/02/26
|52 week high on 2020/02/20
|52 week low on 2019/03/11
|Total Expense Ratio on 2019/09/30
|Total Expense Ratio (performance fee) on 2019/09/30
Prime Collective Investment Schemes
MSCI World Index
Christo has more than 29 years experience in the financial industry including positions at the Reserve Bank, The Development Bank of Southern Africa, The University of Stellenbosch and Sanlam Asset Management. Christo serves on the board of 4i Group and 4i Asset Management.
Autus Fund Managers
Autus Prime Global Equity Feeder comment - Sep 19
Two interest rate cuts of 25 basis points each were announced by the United States Federal Reserve. Further import tariffs on Chinese goods were extended by the Trump administration until after the end-of-year festive season as trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies continue with no clear solution in sight. The United States Treasury bond yield curve inverted at the two-year and ten-year maturities which caused some investors to speculate that a recession could be looming. The last time the yield curve inverted at these maturities was in 2007. In July, Boris Johnson was elected as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Johnson promised to deliver on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union even if it comes at the cost of having no trade agreement (a so-called Hard Brexit). Early indications are that Johnson will struggle to win the necessary parliamentary support to deliver on his promise (as was the case with his predecessor).
It is increasingly difficult to find “green shoots” of hope when surveying the current South African economic landscape. The economy rebounded by 3.1% in 2Q2019 after the -3.1% recorded in 1Q2019. The mining and finance sectors contributed positively while manufacturing and trade detracted from economic growth in the quarter. For 2019 GDP growth of 0.6% is projected. Recent inflation updates and expectations show that inflation is at or near the midpoint of the 3%-6% target range despite fuel prices having risen 14.5% year-to-date and administered prices being hiked. Headline inflation of 4.2% is forecast for 2019. At their July meeting, the SARB elected to lower the bank rate by 0.25% to 6.5% while the prime rate was lowered to 10%. Effectively, the SARB returned to the SA consumer what it took away in November 2018. Business confidence (SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry Index) continued to drop in August to levels not seen in 34 years. The NHI Bill was released, setting out the architecture for an NHI fund. This has raised questions over the future of private healthcare and the cost and funding implications on government revenue. Prevailing policy uncertainty, the Eskom debt burden, an increasing budget deficit, and worsening debt-to-GDP ratio make a Moody’s rating downgrade ever more likely in the foreseeable future.
Credit must be given to Finance Minister Mboweni for publishing a paper offering a detailed examination of the structural reforms needed to reverse the downward trend in South Africa’s growth potential and competitiveness. Sadly, it was met with much resistance from alliance partners and some members in the ruling party. We hope that consensus could be reached sooner rather than later by all major role-players on implementing much needed economic and job growth initiatives as a matter of urgency.
The return on the Fund was 7.15% against the benchmark return of 7.48% in rand terms for the quarter. This positive return is almost entirely attributable to rand weakness against the United States dollar since the market was relatively flat over the period. Stocks that were sold during the quarter include Berkshire Hathaway, Fedex, Prudential, and JP Morgan. Sell decisions are always based on a combination of deteriorating fundamentals and/or rich valuations. Opportunities to acquire new holdings were found in AT&T, AbbVie, Palo Alto Networks, and Altria. With the exception of Altria, these companies display improving fundamentals with relatively undemanding valuations. In Altria’s case, the valuation was the main consideration for inclusion. Companies in our investment universe continue to report strong growth and high profit levels. This may come under threat if global trade tensions continue to increase, especially with respect to firms that have significant exposure to China. We are limiting our exposure to the most vulnerable businesses and we are perpetually seeking safer investments at reasonable prices.
The Fund's objective is to provide capital growth over the long term from investable opportunities in global equity markets. The portfolio will, apart from assets in liquid form, invest solely in participatory interest of the Autus Global Equity Fund.