Meeting René Grobler, Head of Investec Cash Investments

  • Q: How did you get involved in financial services - was it always something you wanted to do?
  • A: Growing up I was always attracted to business and I knew I wanted to work in a professional capacity. Ironically however, in my final year of school what my father thought was an application to do vacation work at an accountancy firm, was in fact a bursary application. So we were all pretty surprised when a letter arrived in the post advising of my successful bursary application to Deloitte & Touche! Soon after, I began working in the financial services team at Deloitte & Touche and ended up auditing the banks, asset managers, treasuries and pension funds.

  • Q: What makes a good saver - how can South Africans work at being better savers?
  • A: First and foremost, being a good saver really takes discipline. I think in order to stay on track and not get swayed by impulse purchases and non-essential spending, you need to remind yourself of why you’re saving in the first place. By way of an analogy, if you’re on diet it’s tough to motivate yourself and resist temptation if you don’t have a goal in mind for yourself. The same approach goes for saving. Ask yourself, what is the bigger picture? Once you visualise that - for example, perhaps you’re saving for your child’s education - then you know what you’re doing it for. Next, you need to have the basics in place in terms of a financial plan and a budget. It’s also critically important to ensure that you have the right advice. Realistically, very few people can do it on their own so an accredited financial adviser can play a valuable role in simplifying the information overload I think most South Africans experience.

  • Q: What makes a good savings product?
  • A: Simplicity - it must be easy to understand. Also, a good savings product should fill a need-state so ask yourself if you understand that need. Another important element and it’s one that often baffles me, is fees. Everybody buys into the fact that fees are there but do you understand what you’re actually paying for? If not, then ask the question - is it an advisory fee, a platform fee or a product fee? And finally, does the product clearly explain the value you’re getting? Does it deliver on the promise?

  • Q: As we saw last year cash investments are not risk free - what should an investor look for in a cash manager?
  • A: I recommend transparency is key when looking for a cash manager, so you need to be able to understand the risk you’re taking. A cash manager should be able to unpack this for you. In other words, if they can’t explain your investment and the associated risk in layman’s terms, you need to ask yourself why? Of course track record and experience are also key criteria here so I wouldn’t go for an unproven provider. And then it goes without saying, be sure to look at your returns. Choose a cash manager and product that fits your requirements. This is where a financial adviser can really assist.

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