Weekly Thoughts 16 September 2016

On Monday morning this week in Durban I attended a question & answer session with Dave Foord, the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Foord Asset Management. I first met Dave over a cup of tea in Cape Town back in 2008, when I was beginning to use them. A very nice chap, unassuming and not seeking of the limelight. The session was a bit disappointing for me, not because of anything disappointing at Foord, but because the interviewer was not.… I’m looking for the words here – good enough at extracting quality information from Dave, simply because Dave never seeks to speak more than he has to and won’t offer up Foord’s achievements with being directly asked. But he had very good insight into the things he was asked of. He takes the business very seriously. When they began to invest more seriously into the Chinese markets a few years ago, he first went and lived in China for a few months to get a better feel around his research.

Talking of fund manager achievements, I was sent another website link by a client this week which makes mention somewhere of the achievements of every local asset manager that I predominantly use in South Africa. Don’t worry about the category descriptions, what’s good is just that each category of measure has one or more of these companies mentioned. Scroll down to find mention of them in the different categories and here and there in the writings. Good for me to see this, because my selection of an asset manager has never been on past performance, rather around other strategic fundamentals. However it is good when the industry itself has found them to measure up to different peer group ratings or simply sound ways of evaluating the businesses.