SA’s top-rated equity fund managers

Given the JSE’s weak performance over the past few years, local equity managers have had to work hard to squeeze out returns. They have also had to be very aware of protecting their portfolios against the risks in the local market.

It has been an extremely tough environment. However, those that have gotten it right have clearly stood out, since there are so few of them.


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Only nine South African equity managers currently carry a Citywire rating of AA or better. They are responsible for just six funds between them.

For more on Citywire’s manager ratings, click here.

Saul Miller, Nicole Agar & Sophié-Marié van Garderen
Citywire rating: AAA

Iain Power
Citywire rating: AA

Funds managed: Truffle SCI General Equity fund and Truffle SCI SA Equity fund

The Truffle team of Nicole Agar, Sophié-Marié van Garderen and Saul Miller are currently the only South African equity fund managers with a AAA rating.

CIO Iain Power, who co-manages the firm’s two equity portfolios, holds a AA rating.

The Truffle SCI General Equity fund is the top-performing fund in the category over the past 10 years. It is up 219.4% over that period, compared to a category average of 116.1%.

Over the past three years, the fund ranks sixth, with a total return of 40.3%. The category average is just 9.4%.

The Truffle SCI SA Equity fund is ninth in the category over the past three years. It is up 39%.

Stephen Brown & Cor Booysen
Citywire rating: AA

Fund managed: Fairtree Equity Prescient fund

The Fairtree Equity Prescient fund has a remarkable recent record. Over both three years and five years it is the top-performing equity fund in South Africa. Over the past year, it is ranked second.

Its gain over the past 12 months has been 46.8%. This is more than double the category average of 22.9%.

Over three years and five years the fund is up 50.3% and 86.4% respectively. The category averages for these periods are 9.4% and 28.6%.

Alistair Lea
Citywire rating: AA

Fund managed: Coronation Smaller Companies fund

It is quite an achievement for a small cap manager to make this list, given the significant underperformance of the mid cap and small cap sectors on the JSE. Small cap funds are grouped together with general equity funds in Citywire’s local equity category.

Recently, however, the Coronation Smaller Companies fund has held its own in this company. Over the past year it is up 35.8%, against a category average of 22.9%.

That ranks it 12th overall in the category.

Evan Walker
Citywire rating: AA

Fund managed: 36ONE BCI Equity fund

The 36ONE BCI Equity fund was the second best performing local equity fund in 2020. In a year when the FTSE/JSE All Share Index was up just 7%, it gained 18.9%. Only the Fairtree Equity Prescient fund did better at 19.8%.

Over the past three years, the story is similar. The 36ONE BCI Equity fund’s performance is second only to that of the Fairtree portfolio. It returned 48.2% against the category average of 9.4%.

Nicholas Stein
Citywire rating: AA

Neville Chester
Citywire rating: A

Fund managed: Coronation Top 20 fund

The Coronation Top 20 fund’s long-term track record has made it one of the most popular equity funds in South Africa. It is the third largest general equity fund in the country.

Over the past 10 years it is up 179%, while the category average is just 116.1%.

More recently, the fund has gained 25.6% over the past three years. The category average return is 9.4%.

Patrick Cairns is South Africa Editor at Citywire, which provides insight and information for professional investors globally.

This article was first published on Citywire South Africa here, and republished with permission.