AGF’s catches up with Zack Bezuidenhoudt, Head of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, S&P Dow Jones Indices, to discuss index-based products and passive investing. Anna Lyudvig (AL): How South Africa is positioned for growth and what are the ways that passive investing may contribute? Zack Bezuidenhoudt (ZB): The investment options South Africans have access to have increased dramatically over the last few years. More options in the passive space have meant that investors can now construct low cost strategies across multiple asset classes and styles of investing. S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) has rolled out a range of plain vanilla and smart beta indices in South Africa that serve as the underlying for ETFs and index funds. S&P DJI introduced the SPIVA® South Africa Scorecard three years ago to show how active funds have performed against its respective S&P indices. The SPIVA® Scorecard is an educational resource for market participants to learn holistically about the differences between active and passive investments, and how each performs over various timeframes. AL: How to take advantage of the wide range of index-based vehicles now available to market participants? ZB: S&P DJI launched a range of new indices for the South African market four years ago, including various smart beta indices that follow factor based investing style such as, quality, momentum, value, yield, low volatility and size. Our indices underly quite a few new ETFs listing on the JSE, ranging from indices that measure Local and Global Property, Global Equity, Multi Factor, Single Factors, Dividends, Fixed Income and Large Cap South Africa and US equity. Market participants have more choice with a broader range of index-based ETFs across asset classes and regions. Market participants that prefer unit trusts also have more options, as various asset managers now offer smart beta and index funds, as well as Robo Advisor solutions offered across the risk spectrum. AL: Which indices may best suit particular risk/return goals, and when/how to employ each? ZB: As an index provider, our indices are meant to measure the returns of broad markets and market segments through a fully transparent and publicly available methodology that outlines the rules for governing the indices as well as the eligibility criteria to be added to an index. We do not govern our indices for outperformance.
What contribution can Private Equity make to the financing of infrastructure in Africa? The issue was brought into sharp focus at the recent SuperReturn Africa Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, which brought together a number of experts to consider the current challenges and potential solutions. The scale of the task is immense, with World Bank research from 2017 highlighting that Africa’s urban population - which now estimated at 472 million people - may double over the next 25 years, and that $93bn may be needed to close the infrastructure investment gap. Securing the right infrastructure investment will clearly be vital in translating rapid urbanisation into sustainable economic development on the African continent.
AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Wildu du Plessis, Head of Africa at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, about how the nature of deals, exits and fundraising activity has changed in Southern African private equity throughout the years.
A major initiative made possible by the Phatisa-Meridian partnership was the Productivity Improvement Program for Smallholders; instrumental in mobilizing the AAF’s TAF to provide funds and the necessary expertise to roll out the outgrowers' program in Malawi through Meridian’s existing network of retailers in the country. Farmers Worlds, part of the Meridian Group, has hired 60 salesmen/women termed ‘agronauts’ to operate out of Meridian’s (> 100) retail outlets and reach 12,000 farmers in the central and southern regions of Malawi. Phatisa is a sector-specific fund manager with committed investments from Sierra Leone in West Africa to Mauritius in East Africa. This reflects a total of nine portfolio companies across a diverse range of agri and food-related businesses. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has backed several initiatives to support their Feed Africa Strategy, such as Africa-based Phatisa, which invests in food and agri-related businesses in Africa that show strong growth potential.
AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with industry leaders about the state of African private equity and future prospects
AGF’s Anna Lyudvig (AL) speaks with Rory Ord, Head of Unlisted Investments at 27four Investment Managers about the new private equity business and the launch of the PE fund of funds.
Investment in emerging and frontier economies has been a major theme of the past two decades, writes Chris Becker, Economist, Investec Bank
RisCura has launched the 2017 private equity (PE) update of its Bright Africa report, providing a comprehensive view of PE investment across Africa. This research covers fundraising, transaction activity, pricing and investor focus. “The latest findings point to a favourable shift in PE deal sentiment in Africa,” says Head of Independent Valuations, RisCura: Heleen Goussard.
The opportunity for growth-ready fund managers and asset managers is huge. Are you ready to capture it?
Adnan Razzak (AR), Head of Funds & Investor Relations, FCCA, tells AGF about AXIS, PE fund administration and financial services sector in Mauritius
The path to robust data management remains an ongoing journey, though there is growing recognition among African investment firms that the time for transformation has arrived, writes Amit Bharakda, Sales Director, Eagle Investment Systems, a BNY Mellon Company
Africa’s funds industry may not have the scale or scope of those in North America or Europe (yet). But the markets are dynamic and evolving rapidly. To keep pace, asset managers will have to evolve too. And one key area of focus must be the efficiency and sophistication of their operational infrastructures.
The youngest of three daughters Refilwe Mekwa was born and raised in a small village in Limpopo by her single parent mother, a teacher at a government school and someone who naturally values education and the benefits it brings to people’s lives. Refilwe’s mother made many personal sacrifices so that she could send her daughter to an affordable private school that provided high quality education.
Demographics are shaping the investment attractiveness of Africa’s hotel sector, writes Mthuli Ncube, Head of Research, Quantum Global Group