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RYK VAN NIEKERK: Welcome to this Market Commentator Podcast – my weekly podcast the place I converse to main funding professionals. The visitor is Piet Viljoen right now; he is the founder and chairman of RECM. Piet, welcome to the show. I need to begin being profitable on your money in recent times: Your Balanced, Fairness and International Feeder Fund was exceptionally good and adopted a relatively weak efficiency, did you modify the strategy in recent times?  PIET VILJOEN: Thanks for getting me to the podcast, Ryk, it is a pleasure to be here… RECM had a excellent document until 2013/2014, around there and then or for a interval that exceeded that to other individuals in the company to scale back the danger of key individuals, and I went back to the portfolio administration course of. On the similar time, it also stepped again to the precise follow-up, which led to a process that has all the time been a low-risk course of for the 2013/2014 interval, with excessive danger management. condemn giant positions. So the method modified a bit
Philosophy is nonetheless a value; We are very invaluable buyers and we’re still, even as we speak, although nobody needs to name worth as an investor, we’re pleased with buyers. However the investment process modified considerably and we discovered that there is a lot of analysis that exhibits that great conviction, huge positions can work over time as long as you’ll be able to stand up to the inevitable volatility related to such duties. In fact, in open-end funds, reminiscent of mutual funds, when you’ve got giant gadgets, as we did in 2014 and 2015, it has a very adverse influence on the shopper portfolio and their way of thinking. So we lost a lot of consumers on this process, and that's one factor we haven't taken under consideration at that time. Thus, by the top of 2015, the company had contracted significantly and, in fact, our customer base and in addition the company had a lot of turmoil.
Then I began to take back the portfolio administration course of and the management of the past three years, I’ve managed all of the funds in line with the original RECM course of, with a small position, firmly riskinhallittuja, diversified portfolios, but based mostly on a deep value philosophy invests. I feel the outcomes of the last three years are speaking about it. So it is a very lengthy option to say sure, for some time the process modified – our philosophy was not, but our process went by means of some delicate transitions – however we at the moment are returning.
RYK VAN NIEKERK: In fact As you stated, the funds have been released. How fast does a good end result result in a wealth of funds?
PIET VILJOEN: No, it doesn't come quick. If you lose your credibility with the client, building it takes a very long time. They are saying "trust is something that is earned in the long run, but you lose it in a short time". So we’re building our trust with our clients and potential new clients. Up to now, I feel that the workforce has accomplished a nice job, however this stuff take a lot of time. However day by day we’re busy.
RECM's Choice Making
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Identical to you do research, in many other corporations you see an funding committee and lots of fund managers work collectively in the whole portfolio. Beforehand, it looks like you've taken management. How do you determine in the workforce what to take a position or is it principally a determination?
PIET VILJOEN: One among RECM's key rules has all the time been one-point duty, I feel as soon as you will have the committee's selections, the people cancels the duty and everyone sees one another when one thing goes improper – it's not a fault of anybody. So we consider very strictly one level. So I take duty for all of the fund administration selections, and I have a group of three analysts who help me. We sit together and talk about this stuff. We speak about them, analyze them, however I determine, and I management the cash and I like these selections.
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Let's speak concerning the native market; We’ve got seen fascinating developments over the previous yr. Let's begin with the medium-high sector, which was utterly closed last yr. Alsi (JSE All Share Index) fell 11%, but many corporations truly dropped considerably more. How do you like this business and the alternatives it at present provides?
PIET VILJOEN: I feel many corporations from the medium-sized enterprise sector had been available on the market for a while, as a result of growth-oriented managers attracted extra money within the 2015/2016 interval and have been purchased by these corporations. They have been thought-about to be virtually infallible, good leaders of excellent corporations, and I feel the view was that it didn't matter what the worth you paid for the shares, you’d earn money as a result of they’re such good corporations which are managed by such good individuals. But in the long run, this stuff don’t work, and I consider many of these strains have returned to the ground.
So we begin to see some alternatives there, one or two, but we expect it's too early to take part in these ex-favorites if I can do this. We additionally consider that there is an alternate grouping of shares for center capacity, which was by no means before the favourite, but which is even more hated, and are the economic corporations of SA which might be solely exposed to South Africa and perhaps barely in sub-Saharan Africa, however mainly within the South Africa
No one needs to do anything with South Africa; Nobody needs to do anything with these corporations, and at the similar time the financial system goes by way of a very robust part prefer it does each 5 or 6 years, so the profitability of these corporations is underneath strain. So you might have revenue that comes out fairly badly, you could have unfavourable feelings and every thing that provides little or no worth to those corporations that target SA corporations, and now we see more opportunities.
“We want to invest when times are bad”
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Your fairness fund, the International Flexible Fund and a balanced fund are fairly strongly positioned in HCI, Hosken's consolidated investments. It is clear that it is one among these stocks in SA Inc. The share didn’t work properly last yr, why do you prefer it a lot?
PIET VILJOEN: Primarily because it didn't work so nicely final yr, simply joking. There are a couple of arrows. First, we expect that HCI is managed by Johnny Copelyn, considered one of South Africa's largest personal fairness buyers. Over time, he has created super worth in his dealings with shareholders; He doesn't pay an excessive amount of and he often buys good funds. So we’ve an funding firm led by a big capitalist.
One other factor is HCI-owned belongings of the very best quality: Tsogo Solar is in all probability one of the best lodge group in the nation. eMedia is a cutting-edge media firm: it has been going by means of a robust time, nevertheless it's a robust enterprise; it generates good cash flows. You possibly can go through the stability sheet, they’ve a entire bunch of really good corporations. Sadly, all of them are concentrated in South Africa, but when the financial system modifications, it flies.
The third factor right here is that you simply get all the qualities good corporations that a good subordinate borrower uses at a nice discount
RYK VAN NIEKERK: However this strategy is protected by local financial efficiency. Now, many economists aren’t too busy in accelerating progress within the brief and medium term. When do you assume the local financial system is flying, use your personal phrases?
PIET VILJOEN: The financial system is all the time a robust factor; For my part, economists all the time try to extrapolate present circumstances to the longer term. A number of years ago, 4 or five years ago, when issues went terribly properly in South Africa, all economists stated it was going properly. So that you all the time have this extrapolation of economists and we don't find out about it, we don't perceive how they arrive to their predictions. We only know concerning the financial system when issues are dangerous, in a few years they are much better and when issues are good, in a few years they are much worse.
The occasions are dangerous because then the funds are low cost and no one needs them, and when the occasions are good, we promote it off and then we don't pay attention too much to what economists say.
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Nevertheless it seems to be endurance – you are not going to see that SA Inc.'s shares are more likely to move within the foreseeable or close to future. Do you’ve a endurance horizon?
PIET VILJOEN: No horizon set, however we expect it's value being affected person. In our opinion, the market is more and more not only regionally but in addition internationally, short-term individuals. It's like I'll offer you one marshmallow and in case you don't eat it, I'll offer you one other one, and you may have two, but the market will all the time eat marshmallows earlier than it gets another foam bear. Speedy satisfaction is the best way of the world and is stronger and stronger.
I feel one of the edges of investment is to be glad with the delayed satisfaction and we expect it is the sting that many individuals can’t replicate, so it is
As I stated, there is no deadline, however we expect that when you pay a sufficiently low worth for the property, over time rewarded – you just don't know when. I feel Clover is a good example: it is a inventory that goes sideways for 5 years after which blue, and its worth is 50% and also you've made 10% a yr for five years, which is higher than the market, which is great. However you needed to be there sooner or later throughout these 5 years and sit with it and wait and wait. I feel it is a basic instance of delayed satisfaction. It is one thing in RECM that we’re excellent, delayed satisfaction.
"Last year, our funds did not lose money"
RYK VAN NIEKERK: This is fascinating, however it signifies that buyers shouldn’t anticipate linear performance, ie 10% per yr. You must be affected person for a while and abdomen sideways and even destructive efficiency and anticipate a massive bounce. Do you assume buyers respect this?
PIET VILJOEN: I feel this is all the time a drawback because most buyers need to see regular wins, however in the process they provide up their overwhelming outcomes. Quite, we reward a short while we wait after which get massive returns over time. So it's a very totally different efficiency profile and one you could solely get should you're patient. This is how we choose to do things, and we expect it makes us very totally different from different fund managers and we expect it costs.
Ideally, what the term profile seems to be like is that everybody else makes money once we're a little money … but when individuals lose a lot of money, we don't often lose. When you put these two episodes collectively, you’d do a little when everyone does a lot, and when everybody loses a lot and do little, it is a robust performance.
On the finish of the promote it is the one who loses a minimum of who wins. If you will a common win yearly, and every year you employ increasingly more dangers, sooner or later everybody will crash like last yr for a lot of buyers. One of many causes our funds did so nicely within the final three years is that final yr our funds did not lose cash – they have been flat or slightly elevated. This is the top end result we would like, and it's the end result we expect our clients want.
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Let's take a look at the political setting. We are in the election yr: we’ll in all probability see a curler coaster and see a lot of propaganda. How does this affect investment selections?
PIET VILJOEN: How does it affect funding selections? By no means. It doesn't have an effect on what we do. To the extent that prices rise a lot, it might lead us to sell some belongings and, to the extent that prices change a lot as a results of policy responses, it might result in the purchase of different belongings. But we only react to playing cards once we cope with them – we're not making an attempt to predict what is occurring.
As for politics, I do not know. It's like a financial system: I do not know I can only react to what worth alerts give me. I remind the listeners that in the final 30 years, in South Africa, we have now gone by way of main ups and downs that nobody might predict, and even in the event you might predict them, you’ll be able to't predict the impression on stock costs and I feel this yr will probably be much the same.
I don't assume it’s a must to fear about politics or the financial system. All you have to do is be sure that the worth you pay is low enough to get a safety margin towards dangerous outcomes?
It is exactly this that must be taken care of, not exactly what these uncomfortable side effects are, because they’re unpredictable, but is the worth that pays you for the property, even when dangerous issues occur?
RYK VAN NIEKERK: Native markets have additionally been poorly developed in recent times compared to what we have now seen on the international market. Do you assume this difference can normalize within the close to future?
PIET VILJOEN: This is an fascinating question. I feel it's a query that uses most of us. I consider that if Zuman's part of ANC was still responsible, I might say it will continue and go on the Zimbabwe / Venezuela route, through which case you had to ensure that you didn’t have any exposure to the South African stock market or the property market at all, because there are good opportunities there go to zero. I consider it is attainable that it might not occur; I feel there is little probability that it won’t happen. What is the chance of putting it on? Not a excessive chance. I give them about 20% or 30% of the chance to get the financial system again on monitor, and I feel it is proper for South Africa.
I feel the funds listed here are low cost; they low cost nicely, the very dangerous end result and the top end result does not essentially happen. In that case, you would make a lot of money on South African property, how they’re priced right now. So I consider that a versatile portfolio guarantees no less than some exposure to Africa. In case you have all of your property outdoors South Africa, as many individuals consider at present, I don't assume it might be sensible to assume there are lots of markets at sea which are quite expensive. There are currencies just like the greenback, which are quite expensive, and I feel you’re exposing yourself to totally different dangers should you do it. So I feel a smart portfolio would now be uncovered to Africa, relying in your danger tolerance, kind of, however a minimum of some. I feel you ought to be very careful whenever you transfer your money at sea. It is not clear to me that obvious options corresponding to America, the US Greenback and another places are one of the best locations to get your offshore belongings. So I feel it's all the time, as all the time, very careful.
RYK VAN NIEKERK: We now have to go away it there. Thank you, Piet. It was the founder and chairman of Piet Viljoen, RECM.