CIS ride the global crunch

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

Savings and investment guru Leon Campher describes as truly remarkable the rate at which the local collective investment schemes industry grew last year despite the world financial crisis.

The industry (CIS) displayed unprecedented resilience, with assets under management peaking at a record R661billion by the end of 2008.

Its net quarterly inflows of R26billion experienced during the fourth quarter were the second highest ever recorded by the industry. The highest ever net quarterly inflows of R28billion were attracted in the first quarter of 2007.

Campher, chief executive of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa, says that net inflows for 2008 totalled R60billion, only R9billion behind the R69billion achieved in 2007.

At the end of 2008, investors could choose from 884 funds, compared to 204 ten years ago.

But the money flow into collective investments does not mean that investors have been taking risks, Campher says.

"On the contrary, many investors are erring on the side of caution," he says.

By the end of 2008, 51percent of CIS assets were held in fixed interest funds. Only 22percent of assets were invested in the equity market.

Money market funds were by far the most popular funds last year, with this category of funds attracting close on 82percent of all net inflows.

Equity funds continued to suffer net outflows for the third year in a row, though having consistently outperformed inflation over every 10-year period of return.

Money markets delivered 11percent for the year ended December 2008, 8percent a year for the past five years and 10percent for the past 10 years.

But inflation (CPIX) came in at 11,3percent for 2008, at 6,59percent for the five years to the end of last year and 6,87percent over 10 years.