Sasfin’s David Shapiro notched up a magnificent performance during the past three years and deservedly won top honours in the latest Raging Bull Awards
Johannesburg, GP -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2013 -- The Sasfin Value Fund (renamed the Sasfin MET Equity Fund), managed by David, was the top performer in the ASISA Domestic Equity – General, Value and Growth sectors. With an annualised return of 22.01% over the three years to December last year, it outperformed all other general domestic equity unit trusts.
Shapiro attributes his success to keeping his investing simple, applying the right principles, being able to identify opportunities and maintaining strict discipline. “No, it’s not a question of having the right tricks,” he says. “I think that too many investors over-complicate matters for themselves by trying to understand every rand earned by a company, looking at elaborate charts and models, and/ or allowing defence mechanisms to take over completely.
“Over the years, I have drifted to Buffet-type investing without becoming rigidly obsessed with it. Buffett often ignores important industries and becomes too narrowly focused on strategies that may have been relevant a long time ago. You’ve got to adapt to change.”
Shapiro nevertheless recognises that the genius of Buffett is also to be boring. “He (Buffett) has preached the virtues of dull but steady businesses for a generation, with, for example, his stake in Coca-Cola fizzing on. This arguably makes little sense to investors brought up to think that an efficient market rewards those who take more risk.”
In terms of themes, Shapiro believes it’s important to establish who’s got the money and who’s spending it. For example, he places a high premium on leading emerging markets because they tend to be both spending and exporting nation.
Global sectors that appeal to him include material companies, especially iron ore and copper; oil; branded goods such as Coca-Cola, Yum (owns the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand) and Colgate; and luxury goods companies such as Richemont and BMW. By the same token, he maintains that North America deserves considerable attention. “We are starting to look at the US as a growth area. More money will be spent on infrastructure; it will be self-sufficient in energy by 2020; natural gas is cheap; manufacturing promises to become more competitive again; and its trade balance is rapidly improving.”
Shapiro places considerable emphasis on seeking out companies with all the right criteria, especially those with top rate, inspirational managers. These, in his book, include the likes of Brian Joffe, Stephen Saad and Koos Bekker.
“I prefer big companies that have exposure across the world, and I have more faith in them than I have in governments. I would rather invest in a leading multinational than have to decide whether my money should go to Obama or Zuma.”
Shapiro models his portfolios along the lines of a “champion’s league”. In managing his clients’ portfolios, he incorporates the best companies from around the world. “I keep it lean without adding to the total number of companies, and if I add one, one has to fall away. The worth of a new one has to be greater than the worth of my worst one. And I don’t do small caps because you can’t be sure of easily getting in and out of them”.
Their products and services are designed to protect and grow its clients’ financial assets and are integrated to create a bespoke solution for their specific needs. Sasfin believes that a close relationship and a thorough understanding of its clients’ needs are absolutely essential to deliver the correct financial solution. This enables Sasfin to be “a partner beyond expectations”. Sasfin divisions, being Business Banking, Treasury, Capital, Wealth Management and Commercial Solutions, offer a range of specialised products and services to assist clients at all stages of their business and investment lifecycle.”
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