UNPRECEDENTED MARKET VOLATILITY
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented levels of market volatility. Globally, governments have taken the brave approach of placing the well-being and lives of citizens ahead of short-term economic growth which has severely disrupted supply chains and constrained consumer demand. We applaud the South African government for the proactive actions taken in managing the pandemic, however it is important to remain cognizant of the fact that more than 50% of South Africans were living off less than R1200 per month  before the pandemic. The constrained economy will therefore have a significant impact on the livelihoods of these individuals. Initiatives like the Solidarity Fund (launched by the government) are therefore critical for ensuring that as a nation we survive this pandemic. Furthermore, constrained cash flows may over time affect the ability of companies to contribute to retirement funds on behalf of employees, which could have lasting effects on the retirement fund industry.
This is therefore a challenging time for all South Africans. It is important to note that even during these volatile market conditions, our long-term vision remains consistent. We will continue to relentlessly pursue investment excellence by:
Focusing on delivering market-beating returns for our clients;
Being responsible stewards of the assets, we manage; and
Benefiting the communities in which we invest.
A RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS AND INVESTOR
As a responsible business, our primary focus areas during the pandemic have been the well-being of our staff and our clients. We therefore proactively decided to implement an internal travel ban in February along with self-quarantine guidelines for those individuals who have been travelling. Furthermore, by 16 March, we implemented the infrastructure and processes which anabled the majority of our staff to seamlessly work remotely. This situation required us to be agile, clinical and innovative, the result being that we have successfully transitioned to working remotely through the use of secure technological platforms. We are committed to ensuring that our clients continue to receive world class customer service even during these challenging market conditions.
OUR THEME: THE NEW NORMAL
In the last edition of Fundamentals, we reflected on the current economic climate and provided insights into the future of investing post a COVID-19 world. While It’s not possible to perfectly predict when the world will revert back to its new normal, we believe that over the long-term certain investment truths will persist.
The following is covered in this edition: