Mar 07

From the desk of the Chairman and CEO

Proud’ is the word I would use to capture my reflections over the past six months.

I am immensely proud of everyone who is employed by, contributes to and supports the Spirit Group across the length and breadth of South Africa. H2 2023 was our best six-month period and not just financially, but also in terms of our wealth management, asset management, administration and marketing. Beyond our commercial performance, the Spirit Foundation enjoyed a bumper H2 in 2023 which will be discussed more fully in the forthcoming Full Circle
publication. Remember too, that 2024 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Spirit Foundation, about which more will be said later.

Where to begin? Let’s start with Orion Wealth Managers and Warwick Wealth. This is the engine room of the Spirit Group and the source of much of the funds we manage and the Wills and Estates we administer. When Warwick grows, we all grow. So, a special word of appreciation to the Warwick Wealth Managing Director, Marc Wiese, and his entire team. Gentlemen and ladies, take a bow, it was an excellent final six months of 2023 and we now need to push
on to even higher achievements in 2024. The unique Warwick Merger and Advisory models are now achieving the recognition they deserve in the marketplace and attracting professional supporters of the highest calibre. I wish to thank all our professional partners who placed their faith in Warwick and for your continued support. Keep building and filling that business pipeline Deon Myburgh and congratulations on your marriage too!

Taking on this amount of business smoothly requires a phenomenal team of expert administrators, particularly in these days of enhanced due diligence, compliance and governance. So, to Christiaan and all the administrative staff, well done. You continue to maintain the highest standards which not only keeps clients, Wealth Specialists and our professional partners happy, it also brings assurance and peace of mind.

In Appleton, we have a gem of a fiduciary business and an incredibly dedicated and hardworking team led by its Managing Director, Lauren. Yes, our services are bespoke and we service a niche market, but that’s exactly what we want Appleton to be – the country’s most aspirational and admired fiduciary services company. Well done ladies, you are simply the best.

As Chairman of the Spirit Group, I interact with all the MDs and senior management and it has been gratifying to see just how far our asset management capability has developed under the leadership of the Orion Investment Managers
MD, Adrian Meager. Under Adrian, we have grown our range of asset managers, now offering a remarkable portfolio of specialisations, all with their unique style, philosophy and disciplines. In turn, we have also significantly expanded the number of funds offered to our clients. It is now difficult to think of a style of asset management, or fund type not offered by OIM. To you Adrian and Sidney, well done on your H2 2023 achievements and we all look forward to even better performance in 2024.

All of the ever-growing diversity of the Spirit Group needs to be tightly held together at the finance and operations level. In our Chief Financial Officer, Tiaan Meyer, we have a chartered accountant who not only loves his job, and the
people who work for him, but someone I have to come to know who is totally dedicated to making the Spirit Group the best privately owned financial services group in South Africa. Tiaan, your professionalism and that of your
finance team is not always ‘seen’, but I assure you it is greatly appreciated. Working close by in the Spirit head office, Ryan Magee has made the position of Director of Operations his own. Perhaps this position is the least visible of all in
the Group, but Ryan is the Adrian Newey (chief engineer of the F1 Red Bull team for those who don’t follow the sport) of the Spirit Group and by so doing, you keep us one lap ahead of the opposition.

As you are all aware, following sales, my passion is marketing and as a Group we invest considerable creative time and capital in developing our brands, our name recognition and market awareness. I know for some the desire is for a direct and linear correlation between marketing and sales. Wouldn’t that be easy?! But like all things in life and particularly in business, there is no substitute for hard work, innovation and investment and that is exactly what we do in
the Group marketing division. So, after years of working closely with me and taking increasingly responsibility for the Group’s marketing, I was delighted to appoint Wendy de Sousa as Director of Marketing from the beginning of 2024. This promotion is richly deserved – well-done Wendy.

On the issue of marketing, including social media, this is a message to each and every one of you: use your own social media platforms and handles to promote our Group. You have a rich, interesting and informative resource of material
on each of our company’s websites and other platforms, so use it, that’s what it’s there for!

When you click on the Spirit Invest website , you will see that the strapline is that we are investors in intellect. But reading a bit further down you will see mention of the Spirit Foundation. For me, the two are intrinsically linked. I view the Spirit Foundation as fundamental to me as a businessman and as a citizen. So, it was particularly rewarding to see the Foundation reach new heights in H2 2023. I was proud to be able to speak to the new Spirit scholars and
hand out a number of awards to some truly inspirational young people in December and was left with the belief that, with the calibre of our Foundation scholars, our country will be in safe hands.

I wish to extend my thanks to Dr Armand Bam, Managing Director of the Spirit Foundation, and
his brilliant team for the absolutely unique work they do every day to make South Africa a better place for our youth, our communities and our wildlife. For those of you who do not yet support the Foundation, make 2024 the year you too
make a difference and pledge your support. In closing, I want you to reflect on the role each of you plays in making the Spirit Group the expanding national success that it is. You are each special to the Group. For my part, as the Chairman of a private financial services group, I give you my categorical assurance that I will continue to believe in you, to invest in you, and to strive every day for us to achieve greatness together.

Now, all that is left for me to say (and you MAY have heard this before?), “Onward and upward” to a record-breaking H1 2024!