Bull run generated huge asset returns

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

Just think what you could be worth if you had geared up private equity-style and invested as much as the banks would lend you in local equities in April 2003.

Those who had the good fortune of having invested R1million in shares listed on the JSE Securities Exchange at the end of April 2003 would have seen their investment increase, on average, to R3,68million by December31, according to a team of Alphen Asset Management, a subsidiary of PSG Fund Management Holdings.

This represents a return of 217percent in real terms - after deducting for inflation - and a total compounded return of almost 43percent a year.

"Staggering asset returns of this magnitude, remembering that property has produced a comparably impressive performance, are indicative of a powerful bull market in South African assets," writes the team in the company's electronic publication, the Alphen Angle.

This bull run has been driven by a variety of forces that are both domestic and foreign.

The domestic factors, according to the team, include the structural decline in interest rates on the back of inflation targeting, effective application of monetary policy as well as sound financial policy.

Looking forward, the government's role in "setting the course for financial markets will be increasingly influenced by the planned, and much needed, investment in infrastructure in the years ahead.

Alphen Asset Management believes that investment spending on infrastructure and other capital stock is likely to act as a massive stimulus to the economy and serve as an area of support should the tailwinds from the global economy moderate or reverse.

The team pinpoints the robust global growth levels and the low levels of interest rates worldwide as the two single biggest global factors that have contributed to the bull run.