GraySwan has served the Fund with great success and to the entire satisfaction of the Trustees. For a Board of Trustees comprised of non experts dependent upon expert investment advice, the advantages of an appropriately structured outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) mandate over a traditional investment consulting mandate are compelling.

A Pretorius
Phumula Retirement Fund

This note is to formally and publicly commend the GraySwan team for the excellent service to date. The level of service is impressive at every level of the GraySwan team. I believe that you live up to your statement of being a “passionate, experienced and cohesive investment advisory team”.

I was tasked with assessing key investment consultants in South Africa.  My requirements were rigorous as a result of my own background where I was responsible for developing performance and risk measurement systems, portfolio construction and quantitative investment models.  In addition, I lectured in portfolio management at postgraduate level.  My academic and systems knowledge meant that my criteria are demanding.

I needed an investment consultant who could consult to a client who has a cutting edge portfolio construct.  This requires the investment advisory team to be knowledgeable, client focused and have flexible systems.

I wanted to ensure that the reporting was concise, understandable and meaningful but be sufficiently perceptive to be able to detect developing problems. The systems should be capable of deeper levels of investigation if necessary.

Another prerequisite is that the investment advisor should be free of conflicts of interest as these could influence the objectivity of the investment advice and lead to sub-optimal advice.

Since appointing GraySwan as the investment advisor, communication has been open and informative from the take-on of the portfolios through to the regular reporting.  You have been proactive in resolving ambiguity and forthright and professional with your advice.

There has been significant systems development since we appointed you even though your systems were already first-rate.

In the relatively short period since you were founded, you have improved your BEE credentials which show that you are committed to being a business of the future.

I have never before written a commendation on an entirely unsolicited basis. However, in this case I would like to go on record with my recommendation.

Cathy Fivaz
Actuarial Consultant to the Attorneys Fidelity Fund

GraySwan Financial Services was appointed approximately 5 years ago as Specialist Investment Consultants to the LA Retirement Fund (formerly the Cape Joint Pension Fund). GraySwan started advising the Fund during a time when its investment strategies required drastic revision to improve performance and returns.

During the first few years, a complete review of the investment policy took place and a fresh approach to investment ensued, without compromising risk and performance. Emphasis was placed on in-depth research by a qualified and experienced team, backed by suitable empowerment and education of trustees. This resulted in a process in terms of which board members were at all times acquainted with all relevant matters before an important decision was required.

The outcome of the interventions was a complete rationalisation of investment strategies and the number of fund managers, which resulted in a hugely enhanced performance and returns.

GraySwan are currently exposing the board to new avenues of investment to keep abreast of the changing investment environment – again ensuring that board members are comfortable with new concepts and investment mechanisms. This illustrates GraySwan’s commitment to ensure that the fund’s investments keep up with changing needs and circumstances.

Another non-negotiable aspect of GraySwan’s service is that they are totally independent thus ensuring that all recommendations are in the best interest of the fund and not influenced by side issues.

Lastly, GraySwan are cost conscious and are always endeavoring to obtain the best rates and fees for investments – a policy which has a tremendous positive benefit for the fund.

Isak du Toit
Chairman of the LA Retirement Fund

Gray Swan Investments have been consulting to the City of Johannesburg Pension Fund since August 2013. In this time they have conducted a comprehensive and a detailed analysis of all our existing investments, identified underlying and inherent problems, and possible conflicts of interest. They have proposed a number of portfolio and governance-related changes. It is clear that their company is committed to good corporate governance.

We have found their monthly reports to the Board and the Investment Committee to be clear, concise and easily understandable and their standard of reporting is consistently high. They have extensive up to date knowledge of the Industry and the necessary experience and expertise when giving advice.

Their services are performed efficiently and comprehensively. We find them pleasant to work with and open and responsive to any queries. There is always someone available to assist with any problems or questions that one may have and provide responses timeously. The decision to appoint Gray Swan as our Investment Consultants has consistently proven to be the right one.

Lindy Wingrove-Gibson
Principal Officer / City of Johannesburg Pension Fund

GraySwan was appointed as Investment Consultants of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) in January 2014. They have assisted us in the development of an Investment Policy and Strategy and advised us on the selection of Investment Managers, taking into account the short, medium and long-term performance objectives and risk tolerance of the IoDSA.

We have received unbiased advice that is supported by thorough market research and comparisons of funds and its competitors. The advice together with the publications and market summaries that we receive on a regular basis are of great value to us in making decisions and to stay well-informed of the latest market developments. The fee negotiations with the Investment Managers that were performed on our behalf, proved to be very beneficial to the IoDSA and result in significant savings.

Although we are not the biggest client of GraySwan, the level of service that we have received is excellent and their dedication towards professional service delivery is admirable. From our interactions with the GraySwan employees, specifically Duncan Theron, David Maetla and Gregoire Theron, we have found that they are highly qualified and experienced, have high ethical values and are devoted to meet our expectations.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with the GraySwan team.

Dr. Prieur du Plessis
Investment Committee Chairman / Institute of Directors in Southern Africa

It is a privilege to give a reference on such a dynamic and passionate team of people.

PERl partnered with Gray Swan Investments since 2011. Being responsible for Human Resources and also being a member on the Retirement Fund Committee, this team consistently proved their exceptional ability to share information and professionalism in guiding us in making informed and sound decisions regarding our investment choices.

Apart from their competence, we appreciate most, the energy and passion they display in dealing with us as their clients. The sound leadership of this team and appreciation for strong values and ethics also reflects in the quality of work and conduct of the rest of the team.

PERl is proud to be associated with Gray Swan Investments and wish them the greatest of success in all of their endeavours.

Tania van Tonder
Human Resources Executive / PERI

Since their appointment in 2010, GraySwan’s advice has resulted in a significant improvement in our investment results. On a past 12 month basis, this Fund now rank under the top performers in the country and such results has been obtained with material hedging strategies in place to ensure that the Fund provides superior risk adjusted results.

We have furthermore been impressed by their work ethic and attention to detail when investigating opportunities, conducting due diligences (both local and abroad) and when scrutinising asset manager mandates and their respective performance and risk.

We are particularly pleased by GraySwan’s uncompromising attitude towards staying truly independent, since it is important to us that our investment consultant does not have conflicting interests that could impact on the absolute objectivity of their advice.

Our Fund and its members benefited much from their ability to minimize risks for the Fund and to negotiate lower costs and improved liquidity with the different asset managers. Their systems and back office are also impressive and apart from the comfort that such brings, it significantly facilitates the Board of Trustees to keep up with and understand the very complex investment industry.

All of the aforementioned have contributed to a very trustworthy and healthy relationship between the Board of Trustees and GraySwan and we can without hesitation recommend this very competent and energetic team as investment consultants.

HF Botha
Trustee / LA Retirement Fund