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LETTER TO MY YOUNGER-SELF
Malungelo Zilimbola
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Malungelo Zilimbola

Chief Investment Officer

Mazi Capital

Dear Malungelo,  


Sitting here at the age of 47, I am writing to you - my younger-self. It feels rather bizarre, especially because looking back on my career and mapping out my path I did not envisage being the founder of an asset management company that manages assets worth billions. 


As the first-born son of two farmers, it felt intuitive to name my company MAZI, which is the Nguni word for “cow”. For many years, livestock has been and still is the original system of African wealth.

I began my career in the technical space as a quantity surveyor and, in 1997, I stumbled upon the world of investments when I was in varsity and all I knew at that stage was that I wanted to be successful. I wanted to drive a lot of impact andI wanted to change the status quo. As with most of us who were raised in the farmlands, I did not have much guidance in terms of my career path and hardly knew anyone within the Asset Management industry at that time.


Fortunately, my path led me to Investec Asset Management. Starting there, I could already sense many cultural differences and had to navigate a white-dominated industry through one word, FOCUS. I realised that I needed to be focused; I needed to have a game plan in order to survive and, as I write this letter to you, I implore you to focus! Avoid taking the easy route of moving within divisions prematurely without a focused plan. If you do not have a game plan you will get very frustrated very often because you don’t know where you are going and who are. This will affect your confidence, and in the world of investments,confidence is a minimum requirement, as you often need to be able to back yourviews in an audience of more experienced portfolio managers.

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IF Insurance is a financial service intermediary specializing in funeral insurance. 


The company was established by Yanga Duma in 2015, after the tragic passing of his father and sister in the same year.


The tragic passing of his loved ones led him to discover that the cost of funeral insurance was materially overpriced, thus he established the IF Insurance with a vision to challenge the status quo by searching and developing suitable insurance covers that would assist those like him who have the responsibility to contribute towards the burial of their loved ones.


The company has enjoyed considerable growth and success since its inception – with Yanga even earning himself the nickname of “The Insurance Evangelist”.


Yanga is passionate about building this business into a strong financial services practice and help families and professionals to have value adding covers at reasonable prices.

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ADVICE - MANAGING YOUR OWN CAREER
Mofota Sefali
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Mofota Sefali

Human Resources Practitioner

My career started out in the Financial Services sector, where I was an Investment Consultant at a distinctive bank. 


I changed gears and moved into HR, Talent Acquisition to be specific, and recruited for the same industry for a decade. The most interesting thing for me with young professionals in this space, is that they are ambitious, they want to know where their careers will lead, and what steps to take to get there, but sadly most don’t put their thoughts on paper.  


I am referring to a Career Plan, which is a practical strategy that allows one to determine their skills and interests; set career goals; and put actions in place that will assist in reaching them. It’s a continuous process and it includes a deep understanding of your current skills and experience.

Managing your own career from the start is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. I understand that, most progressive organisations have Talent Management teams that assist with this, however one needs to always have their own personal five-year career plan. This plan needs to clearly outline the career goal, for example, if your aspirations are to become a Financial Director in 10 years, you need to be very clear on how the next five years will look like and planning needs to craft the journey to your longer-term goals. 


Most of us have been asked in interviews, “where do you see yourself in five years” and we answer that question brilliantly because we have probably done a lot of research on the company and the type of roles that they have and who is in those respective roles. Which is fine because at the start of any career it’s not easy to define goals, so we generally look at people who inspire us and point to them as“goals”. I know for sure that most people do not pen those goals down and as a result, never reach them.


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin was right. We cannot leave it up to chance or for someone else to do it for us. Most Executives that I speak to tell me that they wrote down their career plans: “There is something about writing things that, that helps to cement them in my mind” one of the said, and its true; almost all of them also give credit to a mentor/career coach. They say that having someone who is more experienced to chat to, has definitely helped them achieve their goals.  


The other day, I saw a list of future-proofed jobs, this is the perfect start to any planning. We need to first of all ensure that our desired role will be available in the future. We then work back from there to determine what steps need to be taken to get to our destination. Normally this includes learning and development interventions,as well as on-the-job training activities and actual experience needed for growth.There are templates and resources available online, whichever you choose is fine, just as long as you remember to review it every six months at least and share it with your mentor so that they can keep you honest. 


All the best, and happy planning.

   
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TRANSFORMATIONAL SERIES
Prudential Investment Managers

The ABSIP Young Professionals hosted a transformation series with Prudential Investment Managers, held on 23rd May 2019. The Transformation Series events allow attendees time to engage with corporates on issues around transformation in the workplace. Prudential CEO, Bernard Fick, presented the company’s statistics,tracking its performance on recognisable transformation metrics thus far.


The key discussion points were around Prudential’s strategy and commitment to transformation, including measures being put in place to fast-track the pace of transformation. The discussion also dealt with the skills shortage;particularly with black talent leaving Cape Town for Johannesburg and how the company aims to address this challenge.


Some other challenges noted by the company:

  • Historically very low staff turnover, and limited overall expected headcount growth in the future. This poses a challenge to increase the pace of staff transformation.
  • Fairly flat organisational structure, means limited “promotion-in-title” opportunities,with some staff find this challenging.
  • Generally, the expected career progression for an investment analyst role is to become Portfolio Manager, however both roles require different skill sets.Given this context, they have become more deliberate in creating a ‘career analyst’ role progression

Bernard Fick ended off the presentation with advice to young black professionals in asset management and how they can manage despondency where in attendees felt there were ceilings within their own organisations. He also shared his personal commitment to transformation in the country.


The Young Professionals received positive feedback from attendees, expressing that they found the session to be informative and engaging.


We look forward to seeing you at the next one!


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MARKET COMMENTARY
Bright Khumalo

Another quarter of 2019 is finished, and the first half of the year is now done. How are those New Year’s resolutions comingalong huh?  


The year so far has been good for US markets, the S&P 500 has had its best first half since 1997 with growth of 17%so far. The broad JSE All-share index is up over 10% for 2019, so going along nicely and the best start in 12-years. This is after a very poor close to 2018.

Note though that the largest stock on the JSETop40 Index, Naspers is up well over 30% (when you add back the current price of 

Multichoice), meaning that the rest of the local market has seen small to almost no growth at all. Consumer-stocks that are dependent on growth in the local economy continue to struggle. 
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Bright Khumalo 

Portfolio Manager

Vestact Asset Management

Now to current state of economic affairs: The year started with some optimism that there will be a cyclical recovery, based on an improvement in consumer spending and accelerated policy reforms that would create jobs amongst others.Seven months into the year and it is evident that these were not realistic expectations. What I find interesting is that most analysts are still including growth forecasts in their valuations, although it’s quite evident that we will need something close to a miracle for the South African economy to pick up again. I guess we are wired to always be optimistic despite the realities we find ourselves in.

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The local economy grew by 0.8% in 2018, and economists are already lowering expectations for 2019 and 2020 to 1.3% and 1.7% respectively (by the time you read this these would’ve probably been revised further down). These low numbers are caused mainly by low consumer spending. Which is not surprising due to lack of job opportunities and low to little earnings growth for those that are in the job market.

ESKOM remains the biggest elephant in the room to any growth prospects for SA Inc.


Consumer inflation remains low, printing 4.5% y/y in March, following a benign 4.1% in February and 4.0% in January. The acceleration in March mostly reflects the rise in retail fuel prices and Budget-related implementation of various taxes.


However,behind the March headline acceleration was a very sharp drop in rentals and owners’ equivalent rent to 3.5% y/y and 2.6% y/y from 4.2% y/y and 3.5% y/y,respectively. Rentals are typically slow moving, and the sharp deceleration reflects a very constrained consumer and housing environment. With food inflation at 2.3%, this further moderation in rental (services) inflation provides a large anchor for headline CPI.


This is why investing and making predictions about the future is not easy, which reminds me of a quote by Yogi Berra: “it’s tough to make predictions,especially about the future”. Howard Marks always reminds us that we can never predict how the future turns out but we can only prepare!

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GOLF Clinic Invitation: 


Ever wanted to learn how to play golf? ABSIP Young Professionals is running a Golf Clinic in collaboration with the Observatory Golf Clinic for 20 YP members in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

  •  Date: September - October (2hr lessons a week for 3 months) 
  •  Venue: Observatory Golf Club (both CPT and JHB) 
  •  Your contribution: R1 970 once-off   

 Register in the link below for golf lessons to the value of R39 400.

*This programme is for members only.*