CFA Society South Africa, part of the worldwide network of CFA Institute member societies, has announced the agenda and speaker line-up for its inaugural annual investment virtual conference to take place on November 5 2020.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and global lockdown has been devastating in so many ways, but it has also presented us with unprecedented opportunities such as access to global speakers not necessarily available in person, virtual conference participation without the requirement for travel to a specific physical location, and demonstrable member value far above the monetary cost of membership of CFA Society South Africa.” — Nerina Visser CFA, president of CFA Society South Africa

The theme of the conference is “Sharpen the Mind — Investing from Emerging Markets”. The agenda and speakers for the conference are representative of the various disciplines to equip delegates with technical skills and knowledge to deal better with the current demands and give them an edge in an ever-changing world.

“This year’s line-up includes leading thought leaders in the global investment industry, from academia to practitioners. Our aim was to internationalise the event from both a speaker and audience perspective, by focusing more on emerging markets and Africa as a whole, rather than just SA. Given the international make-up of the speakers and attendees, I think this conference will be a milestone event for the society,” says Thato Mashigo CFA, board member and conference committee chair of CFA Society South Africa.


Headlining speakers include Dr Dambisa Moyo, global economist, author of Investor in the Future. Even before the 2020 global pandemic hit the world in earnest, the global economy was in a precarious place. Many of the largest developed and developing countries were already experiencing low, slow and even no growth. In this sense, Covid is catalytic and has accelerated the threats to the global economy.

Moreover, a number of headwinds are making a bad situation worse. Technology and the risk of a jobless underclass; weakening demographics — in terms of the quantity of the population and the quality of the workforce; worsening income inequality; scarcity of natural resources and climate change concerns; unsustainable debts and declining productivity. Moyo outlines five things that will define the post-pandemic world economy.

Prof Aswath Damodaran, finance professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, will discuss the “Disruption Dilemma — Valuing the Disrupters and Disrupted” and provide a “Jedi Guide” to investment serenity covering five valuable lessons:

  • Listen to the markets not the experts;
  • Opinions are trumped by data;
  • There is no smart money;
  • The fundamentals matter more than ever ... in a crisis; and
  • Stories + Numbers.

In a session titled “Emerging Market Perspective on Blockchain & Digital Assets”, Bobby Henebry, CFA who will provide us with the technical background and common terminology including the basics of cryptocurrencies; a brief history of bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency; and how crypto “mining” works. He will also share insights on the practical factors for financial service professionals such as perspective on emerging economies, and the case for (or against) blockchain in various applications.

Other key speakers and topics include:

  • Michael Powers, strategist from Ninety One on “The US Election Outcome”

  • Fireside chat with Howard Marks, co-chair and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management and Delphine Govender, CFA, CFA Society South Africa board member.

  • Lauren Foster, CFA content director of professional learning at CFA Institute will moderate a panel discussion with Mohamed Selim Tantawy, deputy manager of R&D at Egyptian Exchange; Aly Z Ramji, director at Mediapix; and Dave Uduanu, CFA, CEO at Sigma Pensions, on the “CFA Institute African Capital Markets Brief”. 

  • A classic debate with the motion: This house believes that the “Investors should be shifting capital from abroad back to SA”. Speaking for the motion will be Patrice Rassou — chief investment officer at Ashburton Investments; and Mamokete Lijane, CFA — institutional fixed income sales trader at Absa Group. Speaking against the motion will be Thato Mashigo, CFA, CAIA — CFA Society South Africa board member and conference committee chair; and Adrian Saville — founder and CEO at Cannon Asset Managers.

Conference registration is now open via the CFA Society South Africa website.

CFA Society South Africa’s regular, affiliate and local members receive free registration for the conference.

Non CFA members registration fee is R2,500 

For more information visit www.cfainstitute.org and www.cfasociety.org/southafrica or follow @CFA_SA.

This article was paid for by CFA Society South Africa.


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