Pandemic-related insights and commentary.

The coronavirus crisis continues to exact its toll on healthcare systems, disrupt markets and paralyse economies around the world. Amid the uncertainty, we remain committed to making informed investment decisions with our clients’ best interests at heart and sharing insights to help clients through this very unsettling time.

Allan Gray remains open and you can continue to access your investment and to transact. We have changed the way we operate to maintain the health and wellbeing of our employees, support our long-standing suppliers, and provide an uninterrupted service to our clients.

Orbis: President's letter 2020

by William Gray on 27 January 2021

In his annual president's letter, William Gray, from our offshore partner, Orbis, reflects on a difficult year and reaffirms his conviction in the team's ability to add value for clients.

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Allan Gray Orbis Foundation: Fostering resilience

by Yogavelli Nambiar on 27 January 2021

There are many things 2020 will be remembered for – most of them less than pleasant. But for Yogavelli Nambiar, from the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the past year will forever stand out as the year of resilience.

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Philanthropy response to COVID-19

by Anthony Farr on 01 July 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in an urgent and massive need for humanitarian and economic support for communities and enterprises, and the philanthropic sector in South Africa has been called into action at a scale seldom, if ever, seen before. Anthony Farr,...

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Orbis: The importance of preparation

by William Gray on 06 May 2020

In this six-minute video, Orbis' president and head of the investment team, William Gray, discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the firm and the importance of preparation both for Orbis as an organisation, and for our investment professionals.

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2020 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

by Rob Formby on 23 April 2020

This is the 80th edition of our Quarterly Commentary, which was launched in the first quarter of 2000. Each issue has been printed and sent to you via post or email, depending on your preference. Each has been produced by the collective efforts of professionals ...

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Resilience and reinvention: The business currency for COVID-19

by Saleem Sonday on 09 April 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and big businesses will undoubtedly linger for months to come. And while the uncertainty is daunting, an opportunity emerges for businesses to rethink the way they operate...

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COVID-19: We remain open for you during the lockdown

by Tamryn Lamb on 25 March 2020

As we enter into lockdown, Tamryn Lamb, head of retail distribution, reassures investors that we are open during this most unsettling time. She also provides some high-level market context...

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COVID-19: Supporting umbrella fund members through the lockdown

by Saleem Sonday on 25 March 2020

As we enter into lockdown, Saleem Sonday, head of group savings and investments, reassures umbrella fund members that the trustees continue to ensure that their interests are protected...

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Allan Gray will continue to operate during the COVID-19 lockdown

by Rob Formby on 24 March 2020

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 21-day country-wide lockdown as of midnight on 26 March 2020, we would like to reassure you that Allan Gray will continue to operate during this period and you will continue to be able to perform all...

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Our commitment to business continuity during COVID-19

by Rob Formby on 17 March 2020

With so much uncertainty in the markets as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we recognise the importance of being available to our clients...

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Practical tips for operating during the COVID-19 lockdown

We have implemented various measures to protect our employees and clients. This infographic was developed to share information to assist you, your clients and your practice...

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The markets are likely to remain volatile as the pandemic progresses and uncertainty prevails. Our approach has not changed: Guided by our investment philosophy, we continue to look for opportunities to create long-term value without exposing our clients to undue risk.

2021 Budget speech update

by Carrie Norden on 25 February 2021

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered the Budget speech on Wednesday, 24 February. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget was more optimistic than expected, with tax increases kept to a minimum.

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2021 Budget signals hope for SA taxpayers

by Carla Rossouw, Sandy McGregor on 24 February 2021

Minimal tax measures aim to bring relief to taxpayers and bolster economy.

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The state of the economy

by Sandy McGregor, Vuyo Nogantshi on 10 February 2021

In a recent Q&A-style webinar hosted by Allan Gray’s Vuyo Nogantshi, Allan Gray’s Sandy McGregor and the Reserve Bank’s Rashad Cassim and David Fowkes examined the current inflation and interest rate environment and looked at what we can do as a country to...

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America as seen from afar

by Sandy McGregor on 27 January 2021

The United States is of critical importance to all investors regardless of where they are domiciled. It is the world’s largest economy, the powerhouse of technical progress, and the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Its equity markets account for 64% of th...

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African sovereign debt: Is a reality check looming?

by Mark Dunley-Owen on 26 January 2021

Despite deteriorating economic fundamentals, Africa’s financial markets made a remarkable recovery in 2020. Mark Dunley-Owen discusses the price distortion in sovereign bond markets and explains how we are positioning the Africa ex-SA Bond Fund to withstand the...

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Investment update: Taking advantage of disparities in the market

by Duncan Artus on 21 January 2021

One of the key preconditions for successful active management is the level of disparity in the markets. Duncan Artus discusses this in our first video and written update of the year, offering a review of 2020 and an explanation of how the portfolios are position...

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Balancing risk and opportunity

by Rory Kutisker-Jacobson on 25 November 2020

When it comes to investing, the single most important variable is the price you pay. Sentiment can drive valuations to extremes, and even great companies can be poor investments if you pay too high a price at inception. Negative sentiment can have the opposite...

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The dangers of printing money

by Sandy McGregor on 16 October 2020

Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT as it is often called, is a new term for an old idea. Its proponents argue that a state which issues fiat money does not have to resort to taxation and borrowing to pay its bills. It can fund itself simply by printing money.

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Prospects look promising

by Stephan Bernard, Radhesen Naidoo on 12 October 2020

Disappointing short-term performance has had a dampening effect on longer-term numbers. Looking at similar periods in our history provides useful context and some comfort, while understanding our current positioning reveals reasons to be enthusiastic about the...

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Do fundamentals still matter?

by Rory Kutisker-Jacobson on 15 September 2020

There is an increasingly wide disconnect between the economic reality on the ground and the valuations reflected in some asset classes globally, begging the question – do fundamentals still matter?

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The Allan Gray Stable Fund turns 20

by Duncan Artus, Sean Munsie on 25 August 2020

Over the last two decades, the Allan Gray Stable Fund has built a solid track record through dynamic asset allocation, bottom-up stock-picking and mindful risk management. Presenting via Zoom webinar, Duncan Artus and Sean Munsie explain how the Fund is position...

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The uncertainty spectrum

by on 06 August 2020

Wildfires in Australia, mass protests in the US, a global pandemic. These are just some of the events that have roiled markets this year, leaving investors feeling more uneasy than they have felt in a long time. The future seems abnormally uncertain at the momen...

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Equity Fund update: Investing amid extreme price moves

by Jacques Plaut on 24 July 2020

The second quarter of 2020 saw further extreme moves in equities. An intraday price move of 20% is a rare event, especially for a large company. In the month of January, only one of the largest 100 companies listed on our market experienced such a move; during t...

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COVID-19 continues to rock the global economy

by Sandy McGregor on 10 July 2020

It seems that, with a few exceptions, such as the southern United States, in the Northern Hemisphere the COVID-19 pandemic is well past its peak. Lockdowns are ending, and by the end of the northern summer, North-East Asia, Europe and North America should have...

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Orbis: Tech opportunities rise in the East

by John Christy, Stanley Lu on 03 July 2020

Technology stocks have performed remarkably well in recent years and particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. John Christy and Stanley Lu, from our offshore partner, Orbis, compare and contrast the opportunity offered by the well-known US tech stocks with their...

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COVID-19 cracked the crystal ball

by Tamryn Lamb on 22 June 2020

Investors and their advisers continue to grapple with the question of what life, and indeed the world economy, will look like in the next one to three years. In a lively Q&A-style Zoom webinar, Duncan Artus from Allan Gray, Clyde Rossouw from Ninety One and...

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Do South African banks offer value in a COVID-19 battered world?

by Tim Acker on 09 June 2020

As South African banks re-evaluate their models to deal with the potential implications of the coronavirus pandemic and take proactive steps to minimise the fallout, Tim Acker evaluates the local banking sector’s outlook and opportunities.

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COVID-19: Portfolio, economic and investment update

by Duncan Artus on 01 June 2020

During February and March, we were active in both the local equity and fixed income markets. This activity reduced during April and May, as we believed the portfolios were satisfactorily positioned given current valuations. In addition, markets have perhaps move...

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Do bonds offer opportunity in a post COVID-19 world?

by Londa Nxumalo on 28 May 2020

As investors we must think about what the world will look like when the pandemic has passed, and what asset classes offer opportunity. Presenting via Zoom webinar, Londa Nxumalo discussed how bonds fit into the mix.

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Q&A: Understanding the economic context in which we must invest

by Grant Pitt on 27 May 2020

As investors, we must understand the economic consequences of COVID-19 and the impact on different asset classes. Grant Pitt, joint head of Institutional Client Services at Allan Gray, facilitated a Q&A session during a recent webinar with Allan Gray portfolio...

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The monetary and fiscal response to the COVID-19 crisis

by Sandy McGregor on 27 May 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a massive disruption of global economic activity without peacetime precedent. In a presentation via Zoom webinar, Sandy McGregor examines governments’ responses and their impact on inflation.

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Q&A with Allan Gray and Orbis: Investing beyond COVID-19

by Tamryn Lamb on 26 May 2020

While financial market volatility as a result of COVID-19 is expected to continue over the short term, the investment teams at Allan Gray and Orbis are focused on identifying emerging opportunities that they believe will position the portfolios for long-term...

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Investing during lockdown and beyond

by Duncan Artus on 25 May 2020

Sometimes in investing, the best thing to do is nothing. In a presentation to advisers and clients via Zoom webinar, Duncan Artus examined the levels and valuations of South African financial assets in the context of the lockdown and discussed the actions Allan...

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Orbis: Resilience and enthusiasm at a time of uncertainty

by Matthew Spencer on 25 May 2020

In a presentation to advisers and clients via Zoom webinar, Matthew Spencer, from our offshore partner Orbis, discusses the disappointing recent performance of the Orbis Global Equity Fund (the Fund). While reflecting on this period is sobering, the fact that th...

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Perspectives and portfolio positioning amid COVID-19

by Andrew Lapping on 08 May 2020

The world as we know it has changed dramatically over the last two months, with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown strategies causing extreme volatility on the markets.

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Orbis: Keeping a clear head during the COVID chaos

by Alec Cutler on 08 May 2020

2020 has proven to be a year of many firsts, for all the wrong reasons, resulting in much uncertainty. Presenting to clients via Zoom webinar, Alec Cutler, from our offshore partner Orbis, examined the global environment amid COVID-19, touching on some of the...

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Opinion: Counting the economic cost of South Africa’s lockdown

by Andrew Lapping on 07 May 2020

As South Africans, we want our country to prosper and the quality of life for all those living within our borders to improve. Millions live in total poverty and rely on family or intermittent work to get by: life is tough, and often short, as malnutrition and...

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Orbis: Lesson from the past

by Adam Karr on 06 May 2020

In this seven-minute video, Orbis portfolio manager, Adam Karr, draws on lessons learned in previous market crises to discuss the current environment and some of the recent activity in the Global Equity Fund.

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Will growth stocks beat value stocks forever?

by Graeme Shaw on 24 April 2020

Markets move up and down and investment styles move in and out of favour. With value investing being on the wrong side of the trend for around 12 years, investors are starting to question if value is off the runway for good. But is it?

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The world after the COVID-19 pandemic

by Sandy McGregor on 23 April 2020

We are witnessing a global economic collapse without precedent in modern times. As investors we must think about what the world will look like when the pandemic has passed. This is difficult to do because the information we have is so uncertain and fragmentary....

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Positioning our portfolios for growth beyond COVID-19

by Andrew Lapping on 23 April 2020

The speed at which the financial market swings from despair to elation is astounding. The past few months have seen no shortage of mood swings as investors priced short-term news into the lifetime value of assets. There is no doubt that there is incredible...

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Orbis: Turn away from the noise and look to the long term

by Ben Preston on 23 April 2020

Much has been written about the emotional cycle of fear and greed in investing. Both panic and excessive optimism can create extraordinary opportunities for those who can afford to be patient and lean against prevailing sentiment. But investors don’t merely buy...

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COVID-19: Is there long-term value in frontier markets?

by Rory Kutisker-Jacobson on 23 April 2020

At the time of publication, roughly one-third of the world’s population is living under lockdown regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many countries, industries outside of those deemed to be essential services have been forced to close, and...

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The end of the free lunch

by Mark Dunley-Owen on 17 April 2020

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Yet recent times have provided South African savers with something close to this, as risk-free returns from money market investments have comfortably beaten inflation and riskier asset classes.

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Orbis: Performance and positioning during COVID-19

by Radhesen Naidoo on 17 April 2020

There has been little else to talk about as COVID-19 dominates world headlines. Globally, everyone is trying to evaluate the real impact the pandemic will have on their livelihoods and communities, and businesses are grappling with the true economic cost of the...

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COVID-19: Looking to history to understand potential outcomes

by Stephan Bernard on 09 April 2020

With much of the world in lockdown, one wonders whether it is appropriate to draw on past analogies in thinking about what lies ahead. However, every prior drawdown had some sense of uncertainty, and the world persevered, with investors enjoying strong returns...

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COVID-19: Q&A with Allan Gray portfolio managers

by Tamryn Lamb on 08 April 2020

With many countries in lockdown, uncertainty prevails. Against this backdrop, many clients are asking for our views on the economic impact, an update on our performance, and what we are doing to position the portfolios for a very uncertain future...

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COVID-19: Evaluating market risk versus opportunity

by Duncan Artus on 25 March 2020

We have managed our portfolios through a range of different crises since 1974. Over the last 20 years, the dotcom collapse in 2001/02, the global financial crisis of 2007/08 and Nenegate in December 2015 stand out...

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Coronavirus: Taking stock of the state of the markets

by Andrew Lapping on 19 March 2020

The world is changing extremely fast. The global business shutdown is unlike anything seen outside wartime. It is impossible to know the length or depth of the coming recession and the time it will take for the coronavirus crisis to pass. That said, the global...

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2021 Budget signals hope for SA taxpayers

by Carla Rossouw, Sandy McGregor on 24 February 2021

Minimal tax measures aim to bring relief to taxpayers and bolster economy.

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Investor behaviour has a significant impact on investment returns over the long term. As we grapple with the impact of COVID-19, it is important to have clear financial goals, manage our emotions and look through the current crisis.

Investing with tax benefits in mind during uncertain times

by Carla Rossouw on 15 February 2021

Amid the extreme uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 and the ongoing lockdown restrictions, investors are tasked with looking beyond the current crisis and making decisions for their future – a real challenge in an environment when everything seems so unsettled....

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Habits that set successful investors apart

by Nomi Bodlani on 27 January 2021

When investing, sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing. Having the ability to block out the noise, and look through the cycle, are some of the cornerstones to investment success over the long term. But what else sets successful investors apart?

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Are you sitting on savings you could be investing?

by Nomi Bodlani on 30 October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people's finances in very different ways. While it has highlighted the need for emergency savings as a buffer against tough times, it has also created anxiety and uncertainty for those worried about job security and market...

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Has your risk perception changed as a result of the market crisis?

by Marise Bester on 16 October 2020

Historically, deep economic shocks have prompted significant changes in investment and saving behaviour. During times of uncertainty, investors scramble to manage risk – but should your long-term approach change in response to the short-term environment?

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The framing fallacy

by Rory Kutisker-Jacobson on 01 July 2020

We humans are fallible creatures who suffer from several cognitive biases. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, Rory Kutisker-Jacobson highlights how hard it is to make a considered, unbiased assessment of what the risks are, and how dangerous it can be to...

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Take charge of your finances during COVID-19

by Leaveil Des Fountain on 17 June 2020

As we think about the day-to-day impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our families, friends, colleagues and communities, it’s easy to lose sight of our long-term goals and neglect our personal finances. In an insightful panel discussion, Leaveil Des Fountain, clie...

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How to manage your living annuity in uncertain times

by Shaun Duddy on 17 June 2020

Presenting via Zoom webinar, Shaun Duddy discusses the “Rule Book” for managing your living annuity over the long term and interrogates whether these rules still apply in the context of COVID-19. You can watch the 44-minute presentation or see below for the key...

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Managing your living annuity in an uncertain world

by Earl Van Zyl on 02 June 2020

In response to the dramatic impact that measures to contain COVID-19 have had on asset prices, National Treasury has announced temporary changes to living annuity withdrawal limits and revision rules to allow annuitants to revise their income outside of their...

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Look after your financial health during COVID-19

by Lettie Mzwinila on 02 June 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the globe, remaining healthy is naturally top of mind. While we are all prioritising the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our families, it is important to also pay some attention to our financial health.

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Optimism in a time of distress

by Lise-Mari Crafford on 23 April 2020

As we pull together as a nation struggling to come to terms with the health and financial crises we face, is there any room at all for optimism? Lise-Mari Crafford investigates.

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Avoid "hot thinking" when it comes to your investments

by Nomi Bodlani on 23 April 2020

The markets have plunged in the face of COVID-19. The temptation to disinvest and wait on the sidelines for things to improve is real. But is this a form of “hot thinking” that is best avoided? Nomi Bodlani discusses.

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Managing your portfolio through COVID-19

by Marise Bester on 13 April 2020

In just a matter of weeks our world has changed dramatically. In an attempt to make sense of it all, we look for information that will provide us with a sense of understanding, comfort and reassurance. Instead, we find an overwhelming volume of views about...

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What happens to your retirement savings if your company shuts its doors?

by Saleem Sonday on 09 April 2020

What are employees’ rights and responsibilities when it comes to retirement savings if a company faces closure during the COVID-19 pandemic?...

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How to cope with the trauma of the COVID-19 crisis

by Mthobisi Mthimkhulu on 06 April 2020

And so the three-week lockdown is underway. While it feels like surely this must be a bad dream from which we will soon awake, it is our new reality...

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