In the next part of our Investing in a Recession series, we look at how global events or market movements affect South Africa and investors.
A tiny event can have a snowball effect on other countries’ economies
As the adapted quote from Austrian aristocrat, Klemens von Metternich, goes, “when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold”. So, for example, when President Trump tweets about sociopolitical issues in South Africa, the negative sentiment associated with his commentary can and did have an immediate effect on the South African rand.
The dangers of the rand crashing is that in the short term, we end up with a higher petrol price, which then results in higher inflation and higher interest rates, all of which cause lower growth for the country.
For foreign investors to invest in South African bonds, they need to have confidence that the capital invested in the bonds will be paid back. When the rand falls, it directly affects foreign investor sentiment in the long term and this could result in outflows from South African bonds, and less investment in the country overall. The country then ends up with lower tax revenue and increased budget deficits.
In response to the Trump social media commentary, the South African rand slumped 1.6% overnight against the dollar. Why such a strong reaction? Well, the tweet triggered concerns that the US could impose sanctions on South Africa. To see why this might have an impact, there are a few things you need to understand.
- A US sanction could affect AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), and damage our economy
Early in September, we learnt that South Africa was not to be one of the countries to receive relief from steel and aluminium tariffs from the US. This could affect the country significantly when it comes to previous agreements under AGOA, which provides trade preferences for quotas and duty-free entry to the US for certain goods. According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website, between 1 January 2018 and September 2018, South Africa exported iron and steel to the value of R10.24 billion to the US1.
The total value of South Africa’s exports to the US from 1 January 2018 to date has been R46.5 billion, while imports from the US for the same period amounted to R38.94 billion1.
- Emerging economies have a significant impact on each other
South Africa is part of a group of emerging economies known as the BRICS group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Turkey is also considered an emerging economy. Emerging economies tend to have ripple effects on each other. So, for example, the recent US sanctions on Turkey caused the South African rand to drop.
When the Turkish lira crashed, it affected not only South Africa, but also Brazil, Indonesia and India. Earlier this year, the outlook for emerging economies was rosy and South Africa seemed to be on a high of “Ramaphoria” following the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president.
The upshot of the emergence of a global village is that when there are major political or economic events across the globe, there tends to be a ripple effect in other countries. South Africa is no exception to this rule.
How does this affect your investments?
When foreign investors take a negative view of South Africa, not only does the rand depreciate, but the JSE takes a knock as well. This means that your unit trust fund investments, which include shares in South African equities, will see what is known as a paper loss.
This happens whenever the value of the units falls below what you paid for them. It is important to note that until you sell your shares, or disinvest, the loss has only happened on paper and is not viewed as an actual loss. If you simply stay focused on your investment plans and remain invested, they will recoup the paper loss over the long term.
However, if you panic and switch investments, the paper loss becomes a real loss and this is how many investors lose out. To reap the benefits of long-term investing, you must be able to tune out the market noise and remain focused on your final investment goals.
Why Discovery Invest should be your partner of choice
Despite the current difficult economic environment:
- The Discovery Balanced Fund had a return of 9.07% for the year to end August 2018 against a benchmark return of 3.80%2
- The Discovery Diversified Income Fund had a return of 8.47% for the year to end August 2018 against a benchmark return of 7.29%2
- Our flagship fund, the Discovery Balanced Fund, was the 7th biggest flow taker in the industry, with net flows of R989 million for the second quarter of 2018, making it the 12th biggest retail fund out of more than 1 000 funds in the country (excluding money market funds), as per ASISA (www.asisa.co.za)3
- The Plexcrown Survey for quarter two 2018 shows Discovery Invest retaining a place among the top five asset managers in the country4.
These accomplishments should reassure investors that their investments are in the right place and there is no need to venture off track by reacting to short-term market movements or downward cycles.
- Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-23/south-africa-s-rand-falls-as-trump-tweets-about-land-seizures
- CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-turkeys-struggling-economy-is-impacting-countries-across-the-globe/
- 1South Africa Market Insights: https://www.southafricanmi.com/sa-trade-us-2jul2018.html
- 2Returns from Profile Data to the end of August 2018
- 4Plexcrown Survey for quarter two 2018: http://www.plexcrown.co.za
Nothing contained herein should be construed as financial advice and is meant for information purposes only. Discovery Life Investment Services Pty (Ltd): Registration number 2007/005969/07, branded as Discovery Invest, is an authorised financial services provider.
What to know before investing in collective investment schemes (unit trusts)
Before you invest in a collective investment scheme, there is important information you should know. This includes how we calculate the value of your investment, what affects the value of your investment, and investment charges you may have to pay. This notice sets out the information in detail. Speak to your financial adviser if you have any questions about this information or about your investment.
What the investment is
This Fund is a Collective Investment Scheme (also known as a unit trust fund) regulated by the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act, 45 of 2002 (CISCA). Collective investment schemes in securities are generally medium- to long-term investments (around three to five years).
Who manages the investment?
Discovery Life Collective Investments (Pty) Ltd, branded as Discovery Invest, is the manager of the Fund. Discovery Invest is a member of the Association of Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA).
You decide about the suitability of this investment for your needs
By investing in this Fund, you confirm that:
- We did not provide you with any financial and investment advice about this investment
- You have taken particular care to consider whether this investment is suitable for your own needs, personal investment objectives and financial situation.
You understand that your investment may go up or down
1. The value of units (known as participatory interests) may go down as well as up.
2. Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance.
3. Exchange rates may fluctuate, causing the value of investments with international exposure to go up or down.
4. The capital value and investment returns of your portfolio may go up or down. We do not provide any guarantees about the capital or the returns of a portfolio.
How we calculate the unit prices and value the portfolios
1. We calculate unit trust prices on a net-asset value basis. (The net asset value is defined as the total market value of all assets in the unit portfolio, including any income accrued and less any allowable deductions from the portfolio, divided by the number of units in issue.)
2. The securities in collective investment schemes are traded at ruling prices using forward pricing. (Forward pricing means pricing all buy and sell orders of units according to the next net-asset value).
3. We value all portfolios every business day at 16:00, except on the last business day of the month when we value the portfolios at 17:00.
4. For the money market portfolio, the price of each unit is aimed at a constant value. This means that all returns are provided in the form of a distribution and that a change in the capital value will be an exception and only due to abnormal losses.
5. Buy and sell orders will receive the same price for that day if we receive them before 11:00 for the money market portfolio and before 14:00for the other portfolios.
6. We publish fund prices every business day, with a three-day lag, on www.discovery.co.za
About managing the portfolio
1. The portfolio manager may borrow up to 10% of the portfolio's market value from any appropriate financial institution in order to bridge insufficient liquidity.
2. The portfolio manager can borrow and lend scrip.
3. The portfolio may be closed in order to be managed according to the mandate (if applicable).
Fees and charges for this investment
There are fees and other charges for this investment.
The fees and charges that apply to this investment are included in the net asset value of the units and you do not have to pay any extra amounts. These fees and charges may include:
- The initial fund management fee
- Incentives (if applicable)
- Brokerage fees
- Market securities tax
- Auditor fees
- Bank charges
- Trustee fees
- Custodian fees
You can ask us for a schedule of fees, charges and maximum commissions.
The total expense ratio
- "Total Expense Ratio" means a measure of a portfolio's assets that have been expended as payment for services rendered in the management of the portfolio or collective investment scheme, expressed as a percentage of the average daily value of the portfolio or collective investment scheme calculated over a period of a financial year by the manager of the portfolio or collective investment scheme.
- A percentage of the net asset value of the portfolio is for fees and other charges relating to managing the portfolio. The percentage is referred to as the total expense ratio (TER).
- A higher TER does not necessarily imply poor return, nor does a low TER imply good return.
- The current TER is not an indication of any future TERs. If fees go up, the TER is also expected to increase.
- During any phase-in period, the TERs do not include information gathered over a full year.
Transaction costs (TC)
1. Investors and advisers can use transaction cost (TC) as a measure to work out the costs they will incur in buying and selling the underlying assets of a portfolio.
2. The transaction cost is expressed as a percentage of the daily net asset value of the portfolio calculated over three years on an annualised basis. (This means the amount of interest an investment earns each year on average over three years, expressed as a percentage.)
3. Transaction cost is a necessary costs in administering the Fund. It affects the Fund's returns. It should not be considered in isolation as returns may also be affected by many other factors over time, including:
- Market returns
- The type of fund
- The investment decisions of the investment manager
- The TER.
4. Where a fund is less than one year old, the TER and transaction cost cannot be calculated accurately. This is because:
- The life span of the fund is short
- Calculations are based on actual data where possible and best estimates where actual data is not available.
5. The TER and the TC shown on the fund sheet are the latest available figures.