STEPHEN CRANSTON: Conditions are ripe for the savvy contrarian investor
It’s time to diversify with a strategy that swims against the prevailing market tide
Not many fund managers call themselves value managers any more, other than a few diehards such as John Biccard at Ninety One, where his franchise has a place as one of the more exotic dishes — a hot vindaloo perhaps — in CEO Hendrik du Toit’s smorgasbord of investment options. Even Adrian Saville is spending more time on his academic job and has been able to avoid talking about the awful returns Cannon Asset Managers has produced.
But just as growth managers have rebadged themselves as quality managers, with the halo that surrounds the word, value managers are drifting to the term “contrarian”. Contrarianism has a great pedigree. I was privileged to meet the late Allan Gray in 2000 and he told me he always preferred the term contrarian to value. It involves, as the name suggests, taking a different outlook from the market. Allan Gray in Cape Town has been a victim of its own success, and with R600bn under management, about half of which is in domestic equities, it inevitably h...