The year 2018 won't be celebrated by investors with exposure to local equities because they are likely to end the year worse off than they began. South African general equity funds are, on average, down 11.28% and multi-asset funds that invest across asset classes but have a high equity component - those typically used by retirement savers - are down 5.54%, Morningstar data for the year to the end of November shows. Only multi-asset or balanced funds with less than 40% in equities achieved a positive average return - a paltry 0.21% for the year. Very few investment managers outperformed the average and achieved positive returns over the year. The poor performance of balanced funds with high exposure to equities is partly explained by the returns on the JSE. The all share index returned -12.56%, with larger shares such as Naspers, Richemont, MTN, Aspen and Tiger Brands down by between 30% and 40%. Listed property shares, as measured by the South African listed property index, were do...

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