Stephen Cranston Associate editor

Peter Brooke, who runs the MacroSolutions unit at Old Mutual Investment Group, says investing over the past 12 months has been all about avoiding landmines. The most fatal was Steinhoff, right at the end of last year. There were some unforeseen circumstances, but fund managers — both regular and hedge — certainly didn’t come out of it with glory. At the very least they should be recalibrating their risk management models. I am not sure who came up with the word "defensives" for shares that should provide reliable earnings and dividends. It is certainly preferable to that arrogant term "quality" — a "defensive" fund manager sounds a lot less boastful than a "quality" one. But over the past 12 months many defensive shares have proved to be anything but. One of the worst-performing large caps was Mediclinic, which was down 37%, much worse than the 12.4% of the Capped Swix benchmark. My personal experience of Mediclinic was the exact opposite of "quality" when I had an operation at the ...

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