Apr 30

The world is keeping us on our toes!

F R O M T H E C H A I R M A N ’ S D E S K

How the year is flying and what an eventful first quarter it has been!

2024 was always going to be an eventful year of elections, economic flux and a challenging
investment environment globally. But as I write this introduction, the defining feature playing out is that of heightened geo-political tensions, particularly in the Middle East. Concerns about a contagion effect and fall-out of the Israel- Hamas conflict are materialising, with global shipping being interdicted in the Red Sea and Iran launching an unprecedented missile attack on Israel, leaving global markets edgy. Regrettably, we are also likely to see an escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war in the coming northern
spring and summer months too.

These global geo-political tensions are complicating an already perplexing pattern of persistently high inflation data, making the job of reserve bank governors an unenviable task. Forecasts of up to six rate cuts in major developed markets for 2024 now seem fanciful and we are now only likely to see some relief perhaps as late as the third quarter of the year.

The task facing SA Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, is certainly no easy task,
particularly in an election year. But we can have every confidence of his independence
and that of the Monetary Policy Committee that political pressure will not play any party in
interest rate setting. Indeed, in one of the first interviews provided by the Governor after his re appointment, he indicated that we may even have to revisit the country’s inflation targeting downward from the current 4,5% within the 3%-6% band in order to remain competitive with our major global economic partners.

All of these factors keep our asset management team on their toes and earning their keep and them some! Indeed, we have invested significantly in the Orion Investment Managers brains trust, recruiting some of the brightest young minds to blend into the existing decades of experience enjoyed by our respective Chief Investment Officers. It is not just local talent that we tap into, however. OIM has a portfolio of international investment advisors we consult with in order to be at the cutting edge of macro,
country, market, sector and company research. Whether it is the US, Europe, UK, Japan or Chinese market, OIM has direct access to the knowledge and research of some of the very best asset management advisory services available globally.

This, in turn, means that OIM provides its clients with an exceptional range of fund offerings, from fixed income and equity, through to fund of funds and algorithm driven funds, all designed
with a specific philosophy, discipline and investment objective. We are confident that we
have a fund solution for your particular investment requirements Before concluding, I’d like to close on a ‘personal’ note, which is to ask you to join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Spirit Foundation (https://spiritf.org/).

I established the Foundation in 1994 in part as a commitment from my family, but equally as
a signal of my own celebration of South Africa’s democracy and my belief in the future of our
country. Despite our huge challenges, this belief is stronger than ever before, and I am delighted
that Spirit Foundation has made a meaningful contribution to the lives of disadvantaged scholars,
communities and endangered wildlife every year for three decades.

But we need to do more and we have an ambition to do far more to improve our country, so this is a direct and personal request to you to support the Spirit Foundation and make your own contribution to making South Africa a better country, one day at a time.

Until next quarter, thank you for your unstinting support of OIM and we hope to see you joining us as a donor to the wonderful Spirit Foundation.