In the early days after exchange controls were first relaxed many investors wanted to fully externalise their international exposure. There were inevitably political and emotional reasons behind that — the rand up to 2001 seemed to be in free fall, though in fact the JSE substantially outperformed its global peers over the next decade. Global funds are no longer the bestsellers they would have been 15 years ago. Many investors have plenty of foreign exposure embedded in other products such as high-equity multi-asset funds and even domestic general equity funds. In the past, the marketing pitch would have been to leave foreign investments to teams based in the global financial centres such as New York and London. But Franklin Templeton is the only group to make a serious stab at acquiring a client base in SA; others such as Fidelity and Mellon Newton tried and gave up. The regulator was arguably overofficious in its approach to regulating these funds which protected locally controlle...

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