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"Solve a real problem. You don't start a company because you want to be an entrepreneur or the fame and glory that comes along with it. You become an entrepreneur to solve a real problem."

Aaron Petzer

Life-Long Goals

  • Contribute to the creation of a decentralised global financial system independent of the current banking system
  • Invest in, own and build long term sustainable assets to support independence from government structures
  • Contribute to global financial freedom for all

The Road so Far

The road toward becoming a fund manager began when I decided not to return to SA to complete my post-graduate diploma in accounting following the attainment of my Bachelor of Business Science degree with Honours in Finance in 2006. I found myself in Costa Rica and it was time to hustle whether I liked it or not. I started with Morgan Stanley (NYC) as a junior analyst covering the US machinery sector which entailed building and updating detailed financial models. Coverage included, amongst others: Caterpillar, Joy Global, Ingersoll Rand, Illinois Tool Works, AGCO, Deere global, Bucyrus, Manitowoc. The learning curve was steep.

The next challenge for me had to be in front of the screens trading and understanding market behavioural patterns. I managed to achieve this working with the highly capable stockbrokers: Graeme Rossiter and Mark Huxter back home in Cape Town with, then known as, Barnard Jacobs Mellet (BJM). For 2 years, I discovered the ins and outs of the very different drivers that drive share prices outside of fundamentals.

Research came calling once more when Andrew McNulty (ex-head of research of the highly-ranked BJM research team) brought me in to help build the Absa Capital Securities business (now Barclays) and I headed up the Industrials team. I became a ranked analyst at the 2012 annual FM Analyst Rankings.

My chance to manage cash finally came when I decided to move on from Barclays in early 2013 in search of such an opportunity. I chose CoroCapital knowing that the ability to have direct hands on management of money using my own ideas would come with greater speed as well as a wider mandate of possible financial instruments to trade.

In 2015, I began to practically build a model for investment and building wealth that I believe will contribute to the building of a new wave of asset managers in South Africa. It focuses on allocating resources to the most efficient users while benefiting from the downfall of those that destroy shareholder value where timing is key. Out of this thinking, Asymmetry was born. Investment themes are built for the next 2, 5 and 10 year patterns and investments are built and based around these key themes together with the necessary hedges. A team of skilled, intelligent and free-thinkers is being built and brought up to speed with modern day trading patterns and value creation while applying the fundamentals.

It is time the South African Asset Management industry, and global for that matter, caught a wake-up and the laurels of old no longer afford the rest they have in the past. Welcome to a new wave of asset management.

My introduction to trading and markets came at an early age. As a young teen, I remember sitting faced with a wall of screens at my father’s desk (he was a retail FX trader). I was fascinated by the ebbs and flows of the market. I quickly jumped on to a demo trading account and I was hooked! Unfortunately, my measly savings at the time (leftover pocket money) did not bring much fame and fortune.

I focused my tertiary education on economics and investment management. I attained my BCom Investment Management degree (University of Pretoria) with distinction and finished in the top 5% of the 2011 Honours class. These accolades helped secure a bursary from the CFA Institute to write the CFA level 1 exam. I went on to complete the CFA level 2 and 3 while employed full time. Happily, I passed all 3 levels on the first attempt.

My professional career began in 2012 as a graduate equity trader at Renaissance Capital. I started trading on the desk and quickly gained a profound appreciation for the significance of institutional capital flows and how they impact financial markets. Having grasped the market dynamics, I was then hungry to get closer to the fundamentals and hone my analytical skills. I joined the buy-side with the exciting and expanding boutique investment firm, Rezco Asset Management (AUM: R8.5bn). As an equity analyst, I focused on deep analytical research. This included financial modelling, equity valuation and interactions with management. There was a need to attract institutional funds so I raised my hand to head up a team to “institutionalise” the investment process.

In 2014, I spent time in London with BNP Paribas, before joining the South African branch to set up the fixed income sales and structuring desk. I was responsible for marketing and structuring financial products/solutions for multinational corporate and institutional clients. My focus was on capturing new business and identifying cross-selling opportunities across several business units.

Diverse cross-asset experience and my analytical aptitude helps me filter the deluge of information investors are exposed to and then simplify opportunities into actionable investments. I love connecting to networks and people and my affinity for social interactions has complemented my analytical thinking. This combination has proven successful in driving business development initiatives irrespective of the role or circumstances. It truly is think or swim for me!

My personal belief is that entrepreneurs and small businesses ultimately create jobs and drive growth and inclusive prosperity. This is in stark contrast to established incumbents who perpetuate the status quo and keep the world in homeostasis. My core beliefs drew me to the “Asymmetry way” of thinking and allocating resources. The Asymmetry ethos, being a conscious intermediary between capital and “new” economy opportunities aligns with my core beliefs. I aim to meaningfully contribute toward a prosperous future for everybody on the planet.