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Roundtable: Average South African hedge fund is up more than double the global average YTD

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A number of South Africa based hedge funds have received significant foreign interest and sizable inflows from European multi-family offices. There is also interest from US endowments and fund of funds. Similar to multinational corporations that are looking for business opportunities in Africa, astute investors are moving into Africa as well. South African managers have the skill and experience to deal with emerging markets and frontier investing, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa.

Initially South Africa was perceived as only a mining-rich resources economy and so the country got predominantly categorized within the resources cycle. Other investors believe there are good investment opportunities in South Africa itself outside of just resources and mining. These investors also recognize the country's highly regulated stock market and financial market system together with its mature fund management industry. South Africa is very well-regulated and advanced relative to a lot of other markets and certainly to the rest of the African markets

The vast majority of South African hedge fund assets is coming form domestic institutional pension fund investors, which led to a very early institutionalization of the industry. Nearly all local hedge funds (representing 99.9% of assets) already use an independent administrator for fund valuations. Client administration and reporting are also commonly outsourced: disclosure and transparency in particular is exceptional: funds representing 70% of industry assets report performances intra-month to investors and funds representing nearly 60% of industry assets actually report their portfolio holdings to investors on a daily basis.

The 2012 Opalesque South Africa Roundtable was sponsored by IDS and Eurex and took place on November 7th in Cape Town with:

  • Carla De Waal, Head of Funds of Hedge Funds, Novare Investments
  • Genene Carse, Business Implementation Manager, IDS
  • Andre Steyn, Founder, Steyn Capital
  • Lee Dalley, Skybound Capital
  • Robert Oellermann, Co-Founder, Tantalum Capital
  • St John Bungey, Chief Investment Officer, Blue Ink Investments
  • Uys Meyer, Founder, Blue Alpha Investment Management
The group also discussed:
  • Regulatory Update:
    • Pension Funds Act and Regulation 28 now include hedge funds and alternatives
    • The proposed inclusion of hedge funds under the regulatory ambit of CISCA, the local Collective Investment Schemes Control Act, will have far-reaching impacts and can make hedge funds more accessible to a broader market
  • Returns:
    • The average South African hedge fund is up more than double the global average YTD.
    • Some South African funds of hedge funds returned annualized 8% - 11% p.a. over the past, while the HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index has returned a muted 1.4% p.a. during the same period.
    • South African hedge funds provided an effective downside protection in 2008.
    • South Africa's hedge fund performances does not correlate as significantly with other emerging markets.
  • Products:
    • How the early institutionalization of the South African hedge fund industry has contributed to an uniform design of products
    • New products, opportunities in commodities and soft commodities
    • Fund platforms and how to access South African hedge funds
    • How to deal with investors' performance pressure and short-termism
    • Statistics, opportunities and challenges around pan-African frontier investing

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