The introduction of prescribed assets by the government would trigger a massive flight of foreign portfolio investments, says Leon Campher, CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment SA (Asisa). In its election manifesto, the ANC undertakes to "investigate the introduction of prescribed assets on financial institutions' funds". Campher says "prescribed assets" is understood to refer to the government forcing the savings industry to buy government stock as well as bonds issued by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This would have devastating consequences, he says. He points out that the JSE is about 39% owned by foreign pension funds, equating to about R2.9-trillion. In addition, there's about $90bn (R1.2-trillion) in South African bond markets. "Foreigners like our domicile because we're probably the most sophisticated emerging-market domicile. We work effectively. If you trade, you get settled, and so on," says Campher. But no matter how well it works for them, their mandates a...

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