The biggest investors in South Africa

 ·7 Apr 2024

Ninety-One has maintained its crown as South Africa’s largest asset manager.

According to Alexander Forbes’ latest Survey of Retirement Fund Investment Managers, Ninety One, F.K.A Investec Asset Management’s assets increased 6% to R823 billion.

Stanlib retained second place while also securing a 6% asset increase to R649 billion.

Coronation moved to third place with an 8% increase in assets to R562 billion, surpassing Sanlam Asset Management (SIM).

In 2023, the top 10 managers collectively held 62% of the total assets, with total assets under management (AuM) increasing by 12% from 2022.

However, it should be noted that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is not included in the survey as it is a government entity despite having roughly R2.9 trillion in assets under management.

The latest survey also showed that 51 out of the 79 top asset managers achieved level b contributor status for BEE, an increase from the 49 out of 70 seen last year.

Notably, all top 10 asset managers from the June 2023 AuM survey were rated as level 1 contributors in 2023.

Notably, many asset managers are increasingly turning offshore as South Africa struggles with a low-growth economy (0.6% GDP growth in 2023).

“In the Global Best Investment View category of the Manager Watch™ Survey, performance for the year surpassed domestic mandates by 4.5%, with median returns of 12.6% and 8.1%, respectively, driven by strong global equities,” Alex Forbes said.

“Out of 45 surveyed managers, 34 exceeded a 30% allocation to international assets, with 11 surpassing 40%. Average exposure to international assets rose to 34.2% in December 2023 from 29.9% in December 2022.”

“Only four managers had international asset exposure below 30% by more than 5%.”

Furthermore, asset managers are seeing a shift to the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

“Currently, only 32% of asset managers have embraced these technologies, indicating early-stage adoption. However, this cautious approach underscores significant growth potential,” Alex Forbes said.

“As the industry evolves, strategic investments, skill development, ethical considerations and fostering collaboration will be vital for maximising the potential of AI and ML.

There was also an uptake in 2023 in responsible investing principles, with 69 asset managers participating in the surveys endorsing the Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa, up from 62 in 2022.

The number of asset managers who signed up for the Principles for Responsible Investment also jumped from 48 in 2022 to 59 in 2023.

“This growth underscores a continuing trend towards the integration of ESG factors into investment and business decisions, highlighting an enhanced commitment to sustainability within the investment industry.”

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