By Alec Hogg
My relationship with Allan Gray started 17 years ago with a tall gent with a strong Afrikaans accent. He is quite possibly the smartest man I’ve ever met. Dr Simon Marais graced my radio show every Wednesday night and for years chaired what was then a small asset management business. During these memorable interviews Simon shared his folksy, easy to understand insights into an investment world everyone else seemed determined to complicate.
Simon has since moved on to Australia where he opened a business that he jointly owns with his old firm. But still chairs the SA operation of Allan Gray and visits Cape Town for board meetings a couple times a year. I’ll try to tie him down next time he’s in town. Not just to catch up on his perspectives, but to pass on a compliment on the quality of those he left behind.
Yesterday I met his namesake Simon Raubenheimer, one of the four portfolio managers who divide the responsibility for hundreds of billions that Allan Gray manages for clients. Like Dr Marais, this Simon is smart, engaging and a clear communicator. We impose a ten minute limit on our Podcasts, but before I knew it, this one had run to double that. You’ll need to have a listen (or read the transcript) to understand why. But as a taster, Simon Raubenheimer explained in some detail why Standard Bank, Sasol and BAT are the firm’s favourite JSE listed shares – and kicked on from there.
Some days I really love my job.