Robert Cowen Investments was started in 1982 by Robert Cowen in order to manage private client assets, and is now positioned as a niche investment house, specializing in family wealth management. Robert Cowen Investments prides itself on being able to provide a comprehensive investment, administration and accounting service with a great deal of emphasis on personal service.
RCI BCI Flexible Fund closed March at 355.18c, up 1.7% for the month and 6.39% for the year to date. For South Africans, March will probably be remembered for the 10 consecutive days of power cuts. As anxiety grew about the economic impact of these outages and risks of further disruptions as SA heads into the seasonally high power demand winter months, the possibility that this may tip Moody’s into downgrading SA’s credit rating to junk in its review due at the end of March loomed. Against this backdrop, domestic consumer stocks and interest rate sensitive financials bore the brunt of the negativity. The rand weakened 2.9% vs. the US dollar in March, supporting resources and industrial shares that have a large component of offshore earnings. This rand hedge support mitigated much of the damage felt by domestically focused shares, with the FTSE/JSE Capped SWIX Index down 0.2% on a total return basis for the month. This lagged global markets, however, with Developed Markets and Emerging Markets delivering a positive total return in US dollars of 1.4% and 0.9% respectively in March.
RCI BCI Worldwide Flex closed March at 119.33c, up 4.3% for the month and 10.92% for the year to date. It is up 23.8% for the past 12 months! You can see why we have kept saying ‘live local but invest global’!
The primary areas for investment were equities, bonds and cash in the South African markets. Our focus was to invest in shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange unless clients had a need for income. Equities have been the only asset class to outperform inflation on a long-term basis.
Individuals have been allowed to send ever increasing capital sums offshore in the form of exchange control allowances, and portfolio managers have been able to send 30% of assets under management offshore in the form of asset swaps. This has enabled the South African investing public to participate not only in South African investments but also in investments of a global nature.
Depending on the individual’s circumstances, we recommend that an appropriate amount be transferred offshore and that the client keeps what is required locally to fund the individual’s chosen lifestyle, subject to exchange control regulations in force.