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What a year it has been...

Author: Hannes van den Berg
Equity Portfolio Manager

It is November 2016 and we are already attending year-end functions, buying Christmas gifts and preparing our families for a summer holiday. As usual for me, this is the time to start reflecting on the past year as well as dreaming about the year that lies ahead. 

Reviewing this year’s activities and events, I was struck by an immensely sobering thought:  IT COULD ALL HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFERENT!!!!

There was a time when all that money managers needed in order to do their job, was a sound understanding of economics, a dash of courage and to be street smart. Things have changed, however. Today, one not only needs an understanding of economics, but also of the political backdrop that affects sovereign nations. This does not apply to South Africa only. Think Brexit, think Trump v. Clinton, think Russia, Brazil, China or Turkey.

We used to spend our days waiting for economic releases about GDP, employment, inflation and similar enthralling matters. These days we keep our eyes peeled for political headlines, because these have the potential to move markets far more than economic data. Economic releases are somewhat telegraphed and therefore their potential to move markets is limited. Political developments, on the other hand, are almost always unexpected.  Read more
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