Alexforbes: Transform if you want to do business with us
A 40% black investment team will be the minimum requirement to get a mandate from the multi-manager.
‘Asset managers will not be able to do business with us if they don’t meet minimum transformation targets by June 2025,’ said Ann Leepile , CEO of Alexforbes Investments.
Alexforbes is South Africa’s largest multi-manager with more than R350bn under management. Leepile (pictured) can’t disclose the exact amount right now as the JSE-listed Alexforbes Group is in closed period before announcing its 2022 financial results in early June.
Speaking in an interview with Citywire South Africa, Leepile said that under the new Alexforbes transformation policy, asset managers would only be selected after the 2025 deadline if they had at least Level 3 empowerment status under the Financial Sector Code.
‘And they will also need to have at least a 40% black representation in the investment team, of which 40% will need to be black female investment professionals.’
She said there would also need to be at least 40% black representation in senior management, ‘and we expect to see incremental improvement year-on-year’.
Leepile said that those fund managers that have not met these targets by June 30 this year will need to provide a three-year plan to achieve them.
‘We can use our leverage to push transformation. There are consequences if fund managers don’t meet our targets. In contrast there are no consequences for fund managers that don’t meet the Financial Sector Transformation Charter targets.’
Leepile said that most significant long-only fund managers should not have difficulty achieving these goals. ‘I am more concerned about our underlying managers in the hedge fund and private market sectors.’
Leepile said that Alexforbes Investments had demonstrated its commitment to empowerment by achieving Level 1 status. It had also introduced empowerment-focused products.
‘We launched the New Horizons Equity portfolio in December 2020 for small and start-up managers. Sentio, Benguela and All Weather manage assets in this portfolio.’
In March 2021 Alexforbes launched the Select Balanced Local fund, in which Taquanta, Aluwani and Vunani run portfolios of South African balanced assets.
And through the Alexforbes Investments private markets programme, the multi-manager invests in projects that contribute to economic and social developments.
Alexforbes also runs a graduate investment programme, and it appointed 15 interns in 2020, of which 11 were permanently employed at Alexforbes Investments.
Leepile said one notable success was Makhosonke Madi, who graduated from the programme in 2014 and is now the fund manager responsible for the global range of portfolios.