Here’s what you need to know about the Allan Gray Investment Summit 2018

JOHANNESBURG — Allan Gray’s Investment Summit is being held in Cape Town and Sandton later this month respectively on 17 July and 18 July. It’s shaping up to be a very interesting event for those interested in the investment world as Allan Gray’s Tamryn Lamb outlines below. What also looks interesting is that the event will be closing with Brazilian businessman Ricardo Semler, a maverick who has completely shaken up the way business is traditionally done. – Gareth van Zyl

This special podcast is brought to you by Allan Gray. It’s a pleasure to welcome Tamryn Lamb, who is the head of retail distribution at Allan Gray. Now, Tamryn, Allan Gray is holding its Investment Summit in Cape Town on 17 July 2018, and in Sandton on the 18 July 2018. What is this event about and why have you put it together?

Yes, thank you very much, Gareth. That is a great question and we thought a lot about this event actually for a number of years before we decided to start it last year. So, this is our second annual Investment Summit and the idea really had its genesis, on our part as Allan Gray, in creating an industry event for SA investors to come together to get access to leading investment decision makers and other interesting speakers from around the globe. The idea is that we can debate ideas, see and hear from different perspectives, and through that process our hope is that it would empower investors, and then they can be better informed as well as think more carefully about some of the financial decisions they’re making. And in that process, to help each of us in our own, individual journeys to building long-term wealth and financial security.

I see that there are other asset managers taking part too. Why would Allan Gray share the stage with the likes of Coronation, Prudential and others?

Yes, so we are having two investment panels. Allan Gray and our offshore partner, Orbis, are on each of those panels. Allan Gray is on the local panel and Orbs is on the offshore panel. But one of our core founding principles is that we seek out a diversity of opinions and thoughts. It certainly wouldn’t be very interesting if you heard us debate against ourselves. The reality is that we understand and we know that investors diversify their investments across a number of different managers, and we want to present the choice of credible investment managers for people to hear from, to understand the different perspectives. We offer an investment platform, which essentially offers a range of different managers for investors to invest with on our own platform, Allan Gray. We embrace that choice through that platform so that’s why we would want a number of different asset managers to be sharing their views and insights for this to be an event that people can really take away good insights from.

Tamryn Lamb

Now, there are two panel discussions as well, what can investors expect to get out of them?

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Yes, that’s right. As I mentioned there’s the local panel, which is talking about the local investment environment. We’ll then have ourselves, Coronation, Perpetua, and Prudential. Then on the offshore panel you’ll have Orbis, Columbia Threadneedle, Schroder, and BlackRock. I think we’d like people to come away with two real key learnings from both of those panels. We’d like attendees to get a better insight, a better understanding into what the local opportunities look like. We know all of the various managers think about some of the big names in our index. What do they think about fixed income? What do they think about equities in general? And similarly, with the global investment universe. So, what are those opportunities out there? It’s bringing them closer to the actual person who is doing that on their behalf. But I think what we’d also like, which maybe is a little less obvious, is that we’d like people to understand some of the additional investment approaches between the various managers on the panel. You might have two equally talented investment decision makers but they might actually have a very different view, such as on an individual stock, and which one is right? The reality is, we don’t know which individual portfolio manager or investment return is right, in advance. Actually, we’re not sure it matters as much for investors as much as understanding the process and the approach that actually backs up that decision. What is it that keeps the people excited and motivated, and in place in each of those firms? Looking at the long-term track records of those managers to determine if that approach of others has meaningful value? Then of course, building faith with these managers who have the discipline to stick to their processes, going forward, and those are the two key learnings we’d like from the panels.

You’ll also have a presentation on how to select a Unit Trust so, can you tell us more about that as well?

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Yes, and I hope that it’s not a negative out of those two investment panels. But actually, it’s a very natural extension of having listened to various, different peoples’ views and hearing managers explain their different investment approaches. We thought it would be useful for someone who actually does this for living – who essentially analysis various, different investment managers, investment approaches  and who tries to understand whether or not there’s a sustainable process in place to kind of repeat any success that that manager has had in the past – to share some of his learnings with the broader audience. So, what are some of the practical and guidelines that individual investors look to when they’re selecting an individual fund? But, more importantly, selecting a manager? Often, we find that investors will chase a particular fund simply because it’s done well recently. Or they’ll gravitate with a particular investment manager because they know the individual, and the individual is profiled in the press, and we don’t think those are the right reasons to select a manager and we hope that Rory from Fundhouse will walk us through some of his thinking and kind of give us some more practical tools and guidelines to help people evaluate how they should be selecting managers, going forward.

You then also end the summit with Ricardo Semler, can you tell me more about who he is and what he’ll talk about?

Yes, he’s a very interesting speaker: he’s a Brazilian businessman, I think that’s more of a very simple summary. So what he did a number of years ago is that he adopted a pretty radical form of corporate democracy in his own business. So, something as simple as bureaucracy to basically changing all aspects of decision making. Some of his famous quotes were, ‘sell back Wednesdays to staff for an extra 10% of their salary.’ Or he changed board meetings so that the first chief slots were reserved for those who arrived first and that’s anyone, from the entire business. So, irrespective of whether they were the cleaner or the CEO. So, you might not agree with everything that he says, or believe him. But what we love about him is that he absolutely is not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom. So, it’s kind of not just in the way that we should think about running businesses and firms. But also, kind of some more philosophical questions, like how we manage that seemingly unsolvable question of work-life balance. You can even extend some of his thinking to how we should approach educating our kids. We think it will be a very interesting end to the summit with an individual who is no afraid to ask tough questions and we think it will provide a lot of food for thought. So, we’re looking forward to that.

And, Tamryn, just for anybody who’s listening to this and wants to attend the summit, where can they find out more?

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Yes, the best place is to go onto the website, which is and all the information is there in terms of how to sign up, look at the agenda and go through the various different topics, and understand and learn a little bit more about the various different speakers.

Tamryn Lamb thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me today.

All right that’s great – thanks so much guys.

This special podcast is brought to you by Allan Gray.


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