The story behind SA’s biggest investment conference

Seven years ago, six South African asset managers got together to create a forum where financial advisers and portfolio managers could interact and the investment philosophies and decisions of the managers could be openly compared to one another in a professional environment.

The first Investment Forum took place at Sun City in 2011 with 280 advisers in attendance. The forum has grown over the years to become the biggest investment conference for financial advisers in the country and in March 2017, over 20 asset managers and more than 1300 financial advisers are expected to gather in Cape Town and Sun City.

Financial advisers usually attend roadshows where only one or two asset managers are present but they typically use several managers to create a portfolio. It therefore makes sense to get the leading asset managers up on stage together so that they can debate their differences in front of the advisers. The Investment Forum attracts some of the best asset managers globally and it’s a treat to see the top investment minds battle it out live on stage.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Investment Forum is that it is the one place where the portfolio managers are invited to disagree with each other and are welcome to challenge one another on any issue. In addition, the audience is able to participate by sending questions directly to the panel and this is often where things get interesting…there is no holy ground!

So, what is there to look forward to this year? With asset allocation funds receiving attention lately, there is a global and a separate local asset allocation panel discussion. BlackRock, Coronation, Investec, Orbis and Schroders look at their global asset allocation choices and here you can expect huge differences of opinion. Locally it’s Absa Asset Management, Investec, Nedgroup Investments, Prudential and Rezco. The equity selection panel is always the most popular as it tells us so much about the managers and how they think. Allan Gray, Coronation, Nedgroup Investments, Prudential and PSG boast some of the best long-term stock picking track records and advisers can look forward to their valuable insights.

A new addition this year is a panel of respected portfolio managers who are required to provide their predictions for 2017 and then refer to their portfolios to show how they are positioned to take advantage of those scenarios. Up for that challenge are 36ONE Asset Management, Absa Asset Management, PSG, Rezco and STANLIB. Lastly, the use of global assets to generate income is catching on and how best to do that is left to BlackRock, Columbia Threadneedle, Old Mutual, Sarasin and Schroders. In addition, there are sixteen breakaway presentations which the advisers can choose to attend including presentations by Bridge Fund Managers, Laurium and the RMIIM affiliates.

Financial advisers can register at


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