STEPHEN CRANSTON: Once grandiose, Old Mutual now chugs along
The group, on a six-month low, appears to do fairly well in spite of itself, and is still a solid entity
If you were to choose words that least describe dynamism and modernity it would have to be “old” and “mutual”. And given the Old Mutual group’s problems overseas you might have expected them to change the name of business to, say, Den Anker, which reflects its anchor logo but also a congenial watering hole in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Yet, amazingly, Old Mutual pulled off the change of primary listing of the much reduced group as a “homecoming” rather than a retreat. Old Mutual sometimes seems to do well in spite of itself. Its main factory in Pinelands was fit for purpose in 1965, when client files were stored in a huge basement and fetched by employees on roller skates. I have often asked the way between departments at Pinelands only to find the staff member just as lost as me. It used to expect clients to come to its premises, even if it meant flying down from Johannesburg, and eat terrible school food in the private dining rooms. CEO Peter Moyo has none of the aloofness of pre...