Abdulazeez joined Kagiso Asset Management in February 2008 as the Head of Research and Portfolio Manager. In addition to his research responsibilities, he currently manages the Kagiso Islamic Funds as well as segregated equity portfolios for institutional clients. Prior to his joining the company, Abdulazeez spent 10 years at Allan Gray where he was a senior investment analyst and portfolio manager.Kagiso Asset ManagementKagiso Asset Management was established in 2001 as a (51%:49%) joint venture between the Kagiso Group and Coronation Fund Managers. In 2005 Coronation Fund Managers exited our business and Kagiso Asset Management and staff bought 30%. Independent administration and infrastructure was installed in 2006 and full operational independence from Coronation was established.On 1 October 2010, Kagiso launched its own unit trust management company, Kagiso Collective Investments Limited. Kagiso Collective Investments Limited is a subsidiary of Kagiso Asset Management. The Kagiso unit trust range is offered by Kagiso Collective Investments Limited.In 2011, management and staff increased their shareholding in Kagiso Asset Management to 49.9%.
Kagiso Islamic Equity comment - Sep 17
The fund was up a strong 7.5% this quarter, outperforming the average of other general equity funds (up 6.0%). This was mainly due to strong performances from our global holdings and resource stocks. The fund has returned 12.3% per annum since its inception just over 8 years ago.
Global economic backdrop
Meaningful and synchronized improvement in global growth has continued this quarter. Business sentiment indicators remain very strong with improvements seen this quarter across emerging markets. Global capital expenditure and trade volumes have picked up from the low levels of recent years, but may improve further if growth continues.
Developed market consumer sentiment has increased materially in 2017, although it not yet filtering into accelerating consumer spend. Headline inflation rates across the world have generally increased this year due to increases in food and energy inputs; however core inflation (stripping out these volatile food and energy effects) remains benign.
In the US, this quarter's economic performance has been materially affected by weather-related disruptions (hurricanes Harvey and Irma). Looking through these distortions, real time activity indicators show that economic growth has continued at recent run rates. Acceleration in growth now requires implementation of well-signaled corporate tax cuts, and a pick-up in business investment. Such investment has improved, but is far lower than expected given very healthy corporate profit margins, favorable borrowing conditions, and strong business sentiment.
In both Europe and Japan, GDP growth has accelerated moderately over the year and leading indicators suggest further momentum into 2018. Strong right wing electoral support in Germany and the Catalonia referendum has not dampened EU business confidence (latest manufacturing confidence readings at seven-year highs). Loan growth, though gradually increasing, is still exceptionally low versus history and remains a major inhibitor to a more robust recovery. In Japan, the labour market remains extremely tight (there are 48% more open jobs than applicants - a 27-year high). Despite as yet absent wage inflation, increased Japanese job numbers and robust consumer confidence is leading to sustained 2% plus consumption growth.
Emerging market economies have shown good momentum into 2017, with recovering business confidence in many markets (India, Indonesia, and Brazil in particular), increased exports due to improvements in global trade, generally improving trade balances, and positive outlooks for business investment. There has been a marked increase in capital flows into emerging markets which, via currency strength, is having a dampening effect on the inflation and interest rate outlooks across emerging markets. China has benefited from the positive global backdrop - showing a strong recovery in exports this year. Excessively high levels of credit growth have been somewhat reigned in and the health of the property market seems to have improved. With credit growth slowing after a period of rapid expansion, Chinese economic activity is likely to slow from current levels.
South African economic backdrop
The local economic outlook remains weak as confidence remains damaged by the actions of government and continuous news of rampant corruption in the public sector. Investment has contracted and household consumption growth has slowed to a crawl. State owned enterprises continue to be generally mismanaged, the mining sector faces a huge threat from a poorly constructed new Mining Charter and there have been signs of the hollowing out of experience within the National Treasury. Against a very favourable global growth backdrop, South Africa's growth outlook is expected to remain one of weakest amongst emerging markets. Of concern is the deteriorating health of the national fiscus, with very low growth, escalating pressure from state owned enterprises, and a worrying decrease in tax collection efficiency. Given these medium-term challenges, further rating downgrades are expected.
The outcome of the ANC elective conference in December will be very important in determining the direction of future policy and the government's capacity to effectively implement it - and hence long-term growth prospects.
For a number of years, extreme unconventional monetary stimulus in the form of price agnostic asset purchases has distorted asset prices across the globe. Bond yields remain very low, corporate bond credit spreads are extremely suppressed, and equity prices are high, especially in sectors where stable cashflows are generated (such as consumer staples) and where growth prospects are well appreciated (such as the large global technology companies). Global bond rates have risen somewhat since the second of half of 2016 from record low levels, accompanied by a welcome rise in inflation expectations. These changes in trends, which should continue as monetary conditions begin to normalise, are causing welcome increased dispersion across equities, as well as across asset classes - and are bringing about a better environment for stock pickers.
Over the quarter, developed equity markets were yet again strong across the board in dollar terms. Hong Kong (up 8.5%), Germany (up 7.68%) and France (up 7.8%) were again the outperformers. Emerging markets were also strong (up 8% in dollar terms).
The local equity market was also strong over the quarter (up 8.9%). Resources (up 17.7%) outperformed this quarter, with Anglo American and BHP Billiton contributing materially (up 42.2% and 22.2% respectively). Other strong performers were Kumba Iron Ore (up 39.8%) and African Rainbow Minerals (up 28.9%).
Industrials were also strong (up 8.3%), with heavyweights Naspers (up 15.0%) and Richemont (up 16%) contributing significantly, while British American Tobacco (down 4.2%) lagged. Telecommunication company performance was mixed (Vodacom down 1.9%, Telkom down 3.7%, while MTN was up 11.2%). With the exception of Pick n Pay (down 2.4%) and Woolworths (flat), retailers were stronger after the weak previous quarter (Clicks up 12.9%, Truworths up 10.5%, Shoprite up 5.3%). Food producers were again weak this quarter (down 1%).
Financials were stronger this quarter, with insurers rebounding (life insurance index up 6.1% and non-life insurance index up 8.8%) and banks also strong. Standard Bank (up 12.3%) and FirstRand (up 10.3%) outperformed, while Nedbank and Barclays Africa (both flat) continued to lag.
Fund performance and positioning
Strong contributors this quarter were our global stocks, African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American Platinum and Equites Property Fund. Key detractors were Clover, Master Drilling, AECI and Datatec.
Our global holdings contributed meaningfully to performance again this quarter. Strong contributors were online luxury retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, and specialist chemical producers (BASF, LyondellBasell Industries and Koninklijke DSM). Detractors were Spire Healthcare.
Against a global backdrop of improving economic growth, high asset prices, rising political uncertainty in many countries, and a potentially disruptive Chinese economic rebalancing, we are guarded on the outlook for financial markets. However, we are optimistic that more normal financial conditions (in particular higher real rates, inflation and levels of risk-taking) are proving to be a better environment for stock picking. The outlook for the South African economy is negatively skewed both in the short and medium term and we are appropriately positioned. We retain very high exposure to global holdings, and local mid-cap stocks where we see compelling stock-specific growth vectors coupled with low market valuations. We continue to hold positions in lower-cost platinum group metals miners.
The investment objective of the Kagiso Islamic Fund is to provide steady capital growth and a total portfolio return that is better than the average domestic general equity fund. The generation of income is of secondary importance. In order to achieve these objectives the portfolio will employ a fundamental, bottom-up stock picking strategy, coupled with a proprietary multi-factor investment model and process. The portfolio will generally be fully invested in a diversified portfolio of equity securities, subject to the statutory investment limitations. The portfolio will have a minimum equity exposure of 75%. The fund will not invest offshore. The portfolio will not invest in any interest bearing instruments. The portfolio's main bank account is with ABSA bank, and will make use of ABSA's Islamic banking services which cater specifically to Shariah Fund compliance. The portfolio may also include participatory interests or any other form of participation in portfolios of collective investment schemes or other similar schemes only where the scheme's initial registration is in South Africa. Nothing in this supplemental deed shall preclude the manager from varying the ratios of securities, to maximise capital growth and investment potential in a changing economic environment or market conditions or to meet the requirements, if applicable, of any exchange formally recognised in terms of legislation and from retaining cash or placing cash on deposit in terms of the deed and this supplemental deed; provided that the manager shall ensure that the aggregate value of the assets comprising the Kagiso Islamic Equity Fund shall consist of securities and assets in liquid form of the aggregate value required from time to time by the Act. For the purposes of the Kagiso Islamic Equity Fund the manager shall reserve the right to close the portfolio to new investors. This will be done in order to be able to manage the portfolio in accordance with its mandate. This critical size shall be determined from time to time by the manager. Shari'ah Compliance: Subject to the provisions of clause 3.1 to 3.5, the Manager shall ensure that the Kagiso Islamic Equity Fund be managed in accordance with the guidelines and standards as set from time to time by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. To comply with these guideline and standards the Manager shall: Appoint a Shariah Supervisory Board in accordance with the relevant Governance Standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions; and On request, make available to each investor in the Kagiso Islamic Equity Fund, together with the annual financial statements of the Kagiso Islamic Equity Fund, a copy of the annual report of the Shariah Supervisory Board referred to in clause 3.6.1 above, which report shall be complied in accordance with the Governance Standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions.