Many South African investors, contrary to good advice, invest offshore at times like these when the rand is weak and either the economic or political outlook is negative. Ideally, you should invest offshore when the rand is strong against other major currencies such as the dollar or the pound as you will be able to buy more units in a foreign fund or shares on an offshore exchange. But choosing the right time to invest offshore can be tricky and, according to leading fund managers, it shouldn't be your main concern, or reason, for investing offshore. Your motivation for investing offshore should be to benefit from the diversification that an offshore investment can offer you, Allan Gray told investors and financial advisers at recent presentations. Earl van Zyl, the head of product development at Allan Gray, says many people, including leading local managers of offshore funds, claim the rand is the biggest factor influencing returns from offshore investments. But Allan Gray research...

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