Simon has been involved in financial markets for more than 14 years, most recently as the Head of Quantitative Research and Portfolio Manager for a Multi-National Fund Management company where he was a senior member of the investment committee. He has managed various local and global multi-asset as well as beta-plus, single asset class strategies and has extensive experience in the formulation of Investment processes and risk management tools. Simon holds a B.Com degree in Financial Management from the University of the Free-State and is a CFA Charter holder. .
Trésor SCI Equity Fund - Dec 19
2019 was a rollercoaster ride for most investors, understandably causing anxiety and fatigue for many. After posting a gain of just about 12% in the first half of the year, The JSE AllShare(Total Return) Index then lost in excess of 4.5% over the third quarter, only to regain about as much in the last quarter. The anxiety thus from the ups and downs, and fatigue given the market has not made much progress over the past 5 years.
Importantly, it did produce a return of 12.05% for the year, which is better than Bonds (ALBI + 10.32%), Cash(Stefi +7.29%) and substantially more than Property(JSAPY +1.93%). One can also not ignore though that this was from a low base, as 2018 saw the market lose 8.53% of it’s value.
There were some returns to be had Offshore, but the intense volatility there comes from the Rand Exchange rate which dominates returns. Once again the Rand, if measured to the US Dollar, traded in a massive band where it started the year at R14.40/$ and ended at R14.00/$, whilst trading as weak as R15.47/$ at times, and as strong as R13.25/$ at others, a spread of roughly 17%.
Stories influencing markets, from a Global perspective, mostly surrounded the constant seesaw in negotiations to implement Brexit, and effectively see the United Kingdom leave the European Union. From the U.S, constant media (formal and social) surrounded trade talks with China, and sanctions being implemented and reversed again. This caused sizeable moves in markets, especially in Emerging economies. Towards the end of the year, the focus moved towards allegations against the President, which eventually led to his impeachment. At the stage of writing this, an outcome has not been reached as to his fate yet.
Locally, focus was on weak economic data and further ratings agency downgrades on the back of failing parastatal entities, all begging the question of whether Ramaphosa has been doing anything effective in trying to revive the economy. The data certainly does not suggest it, and no one prominent has been held accountable for any of the corruption that he was voted in on promises to resolve.
Even at this background, it is always darkest before dawn, and our portfolios remain to be neutral to slightly overweight on growth assets, with the rational that we need to participate in the next bull run in order to stand a chance of meeting return targets. We still await a catalyst to entice global capital to return, but he timing of this remain uncertain. You can currently buy quality companies at decent prices, so trying to time the market is not worth the risk of missing out.
The portfolio will invest in assets in liquid form and in shares, across all economic groups and industry sectors of the JSE Securities Exchange South Africa as well as across the range of large, mid and smaller cap shares and such other financial instruments as may be permitted by prevailing regulations. The investment manager will also be allowed to invest in listed and unlisted financial instruments (derivatives) as allowed by the Act from time to time in order to achieve its investment objective.
The Manager shall be permitted to invest on behalf of the portfolio in offshore investments as legislation permits. Apart from the above, the portfolio may also invest in participatory interests of portfolios of collective investment schemes. The idea is to take specific strong-conviction views on a selected group of counters in order to reflect the house view on assets/asset classes. All views will be quantitive driven i.e. we use models to generate views and bets.