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Alternative investment returns knock the JSE out of the park

Given the flaccid returns from JSE shares over the final decade, it’s little marvel that yield-hungry traders are scouting an extremely wealthy panorama of various investments yielding 20% or extra a yr.

There had been some astonishing merchandise on show at the Alternative Investment Conference final week. They included personal fairness, hedge funds, cryptos, structured merchandise, enterprise capital and 12J investment funds.


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One of the issues with conventional personal fairness – investing in the non-listed area – is lack of liquidity. Investors solely get a return as soon as the investment is exited after 5 or seven years.

Sasfin’s new enterprise Scott Street One has solved this by making a secondary market for pre-existing personal fairness investments, and is presently elevating R750 million with a goal return of greater than 15%.

Developments like this might unlock large quantities of capital for in any other case uncared for although promising firms.

There has been some criticism of 12J investment funds for delivering below-par returns, however that’s definitely not the case for Infinity Anchor Fund, whose Infinity Performance Fund was the prime performing fund in its class for the final yr with an annual return of 15%. “We invest in asset rental businesses that have asset backing and regular rentals. The risk is low and this allows a clear exit strategy,” stated Gaurav Nair, the firm’s CEO.

Read: Understanding the advantages – and dangers – of various investments

Reka Borole and Ross Tasker of Khulisa Investment Partners pointed to the yield-rich alternatives lurking in 12J and structured finance merchandise (generally wrapped in choices to guard capital or sweeten returns) providing inside charges of return of as much as 25%.

It is returns like these that which can be capturing the consideration of critical traders round the world.

“SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in SA lag those in Europe due to lack of funding, and the effect is to lower employment and contribution to GDP,” stated Tasker. “With strategic advice, the economy can have an entirely different trajectory.”

SMEs lastly get some love from traders

There’s a swarm of firms now pouring money into SMEs, maybe the most uncared for phase of the SA financial system.

“SMEs are the engine room of the economy and generate the most GDP, but only thrive when investors make liquidity available,” stated Stephen Greenwood of Valloop Management. “Alternatives [investment] will dominate the investment space, and it will drive the need for product with a blending of risk and return.”

Valloop has solved the SME funding drought by offering a single portal for the sorts of debt sometimes required to develop a enterprise: asset finance, working capital, personal fairness and vanilla debt.

Traditional sources of funding can cripple an SME with curiosity prices. They might pay 10% on personal debt, 7.5% on asset finance, and 6.5% on actual property finance. Valloop begins producing a return on its numerous financing merchandise as quickly as the deal is concluded. This means it earns fastened annual revenue of about 3.5% and annual capital development on about 16% – a complete annual return of shut to twenty%.

This investment method additionally eliminates the have to exit an investment after 5 years. As lengthy as the returns are coming in, the fund can elect to remain invested for the long run. Workers are given a share in the enterprise to align company targets with that of administration and homeowners.

Read: Alternative investments can push back lacklustre portfolio returns

It’s an identical story at Aurik Capital, which has discovered a solution to join traders with SMEs in search of development capital. It targets SMEs with turnover starting from R12 million to R300 million, a great development story and seasoned entrepreneurs.

“We have a pipeline of about 338 SMEs that have grown 28.9% annually in revenue, though this will likely drop to 25% post-Covid,” stated Pavlo Phitidis of Aurik Capital. “Most of our businesses are not start-ups. They have a history of more than 17 years and are growing. SMEs have trouble accessing capital for growth, and investors are unable to tap into this market.”

Businesses can enroll on-line with Aurik and cargo up enterprise data for evaluation. If profitable, they’re placed on a development programme to make them investment-ready.

Targeting larger SMEs

Caleo Private Equity takes a barely totally different method, concentrating on firms with turnover of between R20 million and R200 million. The fund seems to be for rising firms succesful of both dominating their sector or being bought by one other participant.

“Our investor base is made up people who built their own businesses and have good networks to other opportunities,” stated Caleo director Glen Scorgie. “We have an aversion to funds which have a finite life – this means you’re selling because the fund is coming to the end of its life. This may not be the best time to sell.”

All personal fairness fund managers take an lively position in the growth of the investee firms, and convey their networks and capital to bear to get the greatest out of their investments.

The rise of hedge funds

Some hedge funds have delivered returns of 100% and even 200% throughout the yr of Covid, and whereas these are distinctive, fund managers have discovered a prepared ear from traders on the hunt for yield at a time of extraordinary volatility.

According to Jacques Conradie, MD of Peregrine Capital, the capability of hedge funds to undertake a bi-directional method (benefiting from rising in addition to falling stock values) has helped these funds stand up to the whiplash of the previous couple of months. “A bi-directional investment strategy means we can back expected winners and bet against losers. In this year it was especially important to protect capital,” he stated.

Long brief listing

“When did you last see a short list this long?” requested 36One fund supervisor Cy Jacobs, pointing to the trove of alternatives for hedge fund managers to revenue from JSE firms which have tanked over the final 5 years, akin to Steinhoff, Brait and Nampak. Previously solely accessible to establishments and the rich, retail traders can now become involved via unit trust-type funds supplied by 36One and others.

“We delivered a positive return when the rest of the market was falling, through the strategies we can apply; R1 million invested with us in 2005 would have given you R8 million today,” stated Jacobs.

Source: Bloomberg through 36One Asset Management

Hedge funds cowl a broad vary of investment appetites. Some are very low threat, others fairly aggressive. Some are extremely geared, others haven’t any gearing in any respect.

Given erratic returns on the JSE and declining bond yields, competitors for investment capital will inevitably circle round to options that may defend capital, outperform benchmarks and beat inflation. And there have been a lot of these on show final week at the Alternative Investment Conference.

Listen to Nompu Siziba’s interview with SV Capital co-founder and CEO Ayanda Majola:

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