• Janina Slawski

Alexander Forbes publishes 2019 Manager Watch Survey of Retirement Fund Investment Managers


The 26th edition of the Alexander Forbes Manager Watch™ Survey of Retirement Fund Investment Managers has been published. It showcases the performance of institutional fund managers in South Africa, revealing the country’s largest and best asset managers and their BB-BEE ratings.


This edition includes 19 surveys: eight balanced, ten specialist and one multi-manager.


“The surveys encourage accountability, competition and improved transparency of reporting investment returns by asset managers,” said Janina Slawski, Head: Investment Consulting at Alexander Forbes. “The publishing of these surveys ensures that clients and their consultants have access to information that can inform independent review and recommendations of asset managers in line with client requirements. The surveys also showcase the progress made by the asset management industry towards a more sustainable industry that successfully meets the challenges in transformation as well as elements of responsible investing.”


The surveys also assist in determining whether international trends toward lower costs, and passive and alternative investment allocations are similarly being mirrored in the local industry.


The survey’s key findings include:

1. General

There has been an increase of 18.3% among asset managers and 10.9% of new strategies participating in the Alexander Forbes surveys in 2019 as compared to 2018:

2. Assets under Management survey highlights


According to the June 2019 Assets under Management (AuM) survey, the Old Mutual Investment Group is still the biggest South African asset manager even though there was a decrease in assets of 4.3% from June 2018. Investec Asset Managers leap-frogged Coronation into second place with an increase of 12.3%. Coronation experienced a decrease in assets of 5%.


The top 15 asset managers in the AuM survey constituted 80% of the 65 asset managers who participated in the June 2019 AuM survey.


The asset distribution shifted in 2019 from levels three and four BEE contributors with a significant increase among level two contributors by 14.2% and 10.71% in the level one contributor category. This shows that asset managers are transforming and taking BEE seriously.


Twenty-one of the 65 participating asset managers were level one contributors compared to the 12 in last year’s survey while 26 managers are on level two. Looking at the total AuM of the top five black-owned asset managers in the June AuM survey, it is encouraging to note the growth of 10.7% when compared to the top five black-owned managers in the June 2018 survey.


3. Comparing the one-year performance of some BEE managers across surveys


Some managers participating in the BEE survey performed very well when compared to managers across surveys:

4. SA and Global Balanced Manager Watch™ – Best Investment View: All the managers in the SA BIV category had positive returns for the year except Bridge who posted a return of -4.8% for their Managed fund. Similarly, in the Global BIV category, all the managers posted positive returns for the year with the exception of the PSG Balanced fund with a return of -0.15%.