In the middle of the so-called lost decade, South African institutional investors were desperate for more offshore exposure. South Africa was clearly in a lot of trouble and regulations put a cap on local pension funds in terms of investing offshore, so innovative ways were being found to get around this. Pressure was put on local management teams to find international opportunities if they wanted any hope of raising equity capital on the local market.

Those management teams were highly incentivised to find swashbuckling opportunities in faraway lands, so you didn’t need to be active in the market in that period to guess what happened next. Lured by the promise of hard currency earnings and “low forever” interest rates, South African property funds raised equity capital at an extraordinary rate from local institutions and shipped that capital offshore to countries such as the UK, Germany and Poland...

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