Lukanyo Mnyanda Editor: Business Day

To say the market was enthusiastic about Investec’s decision to split its banking and asset management businesses would be an understatement. A buying spree that sent the shares to their biggest intraday gain in more than a decade was testimony to that, with the share price ending the day up 9%. Stephen Koseff likened releasing the asset management business, which now manages about R2-trillion, to his daughter leaving home. "It’s like letting one of our children go, but we’re giving it its own wings to fly." It will be interesting to see what kind of future awaits the business, and last week’s announcement is unlikely to be the last blockbuster news from Investec. While its asset management operation is big by SA standards, it’s relatively small by UK standards. It’s also trying to stand alone when the trend in Europe is the reverse. The conventional wisdom is that to be successful, asset managers need to be either very big to compete with the American giants such as BlackRock and V...

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