No will in place? It will have consequences

By Malissa Anthony



Whatever the size of your personal fortune and assets owned, a will is an important aspect of an overall strategy to manage financial affairs. Yet, many South Africans – close to 70%, based on statistics available from the Master of the Courts – do not have a valid will. There is a lingering misconception that a will is something only wealthier individuals with lots of assets or many dependents and heirs need. This is totally incorrect and one of the drivers of National Wills Week, an annual awareness project by the legal fraternity about the importance of having this key document in place. For everyone.

Not having a will can have detrimental consequences for dependents, whether minor children, a spouse or family members. By having a will in place, individuals are able to plan their estates according to their own, personal wishes and needs and it will ensure that the process of distribution of assets to the beneficiaries is a quick and painless one.

Who needs a will?

South Africans are afforded with the right to freedom of testation, which essentially means that we can decide, within limits, exactly where our assets shall devolve on our demise.

Therefore, every person who has something to leave behind, should have a valid will in place to ensure that their estate is allocated to the beneficiaries of their choice, after having taken into consideration the various estate planning objectives.

What happens if you die without leaving a valid will?

  1. If a person dies without leaving a valid will, or where their will is declared partially or completely invalid, their estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987, as amended. Whilst the provisions of this Act are generally fair, ensuring that assets are transferred to spouses and children, there are several problems that may arise, namely: –
  2. Assets may not be left to the deceased’s person of choice;
  3. It may take some time for an executor to be appointed, and in addition may not be someone you would have chosen for yourself – this person will be responsible for the winding up of your estate;
  4. Extra and unnecessary costs are involved;
  5. Any inheritance due to a minor must be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund, a government run fund that safeguards the inheritance of a minor until they have reached the age of majority, currently set at 18 years of age; and
  6. Conflicts may arise between family members as no clear instructions have been made regarding the division of an estate.

What renders a will valid?

The Wills Act 7 of 1953 stipulates certain formalities that need to be met for a will to be rendered as valid. In summary, a valid will must be in writing, a testator must be over the age of 16 and be capable of appreciating the nature of the effect of the act, the testator and witnesses must sign the will in the presence of each other and the testator, and the witnesses must be over the age of 14 and not receive any benefit in the will. A will requires specific and necessary clauses. Anyone drafting their own should have it reviewed by a professional to make sure the requirements are met. For instance, it must include clauses like the revocation of all previous wills, the exclusion of collation, naming of a residuary heir and exempting the executor from providing security, to name a few.

What factors should be taken into consideration when drafting a will?

There are strict legal requirements that need to be adhered to when drafting a will, failing which could have an impact on the validity of the will.

  1. Who will take care of a minor child (younger than 18 years)? Also, be cautious about leaving assets to children under the age of 18, as they will require a guardian to sign any documents on their behalf. In this instance one should consider a testamentary trust to be created to administer assets in the child’s best interests, whilst avoiding having their inheritances being placed in the Guardians Fund, which is administered by the Master of the High Court and which is only released to them on reaching the age of 18 years.
  2. Make an effort with effective estate planning, which if done right could reduce estate duty tax and ensure liquidity in the estate. Always ensure that you can provide for your loved ones in respect to immediate expenses that they would need to settle, e.g.: funeral and household expenses and medical bills.
  3. Changes to personal circumstances – marriage/divorce, birth of a child or death of a loved one.
  4. Know where the will is located and tell a trusted person where it can be found or who they are to notify in the case of your demise.
  5. The possibility of negotiating a reduced executors fee.

Why should you allow qualified professionals assist you in drafting your will?

A qualified professional will have the required experience and knowledge in this field in order to ensure that your will adheres to the strict requirements with respect to drafting a valid will, and keep up to date with estate planning information, changes to tax rules and trends on a global scale that may be relevant to your estate. Qualified professionals are also able to identify issues that may arise and advise you accordingly to avoid such issues or mitigate them as far as possible, whilst also ensuring that the will complies with your express wishes and that your assets of your estate are allocated as you have intended.

By also nominating a qualified professional you can negotiate a reduction in executors fees, as opposed to imposing the maximum executors fee which is prescribed by the Master of the High Court, being a fee of 3,5% excluding VAT.

What role does the executor play and why are they paid a fee?

An executor is responsible for the effective winding up of deceased estates, and their role includes, but is not limited to the following: –

  1. Meeting with family, reading of the will, establishing and verifying the identity of beneficiaries – obtaining relevant documents necessary for submission to the Master and for estate management and distribution.
  2. Responsibility of carrying out the directives in terms of the deceased’s last will and testament.
  3. Preparing and lodging all documentation in order to report the estate to the Master of the High Court and obtain Letters of Executorship.
  4. Placing relevant advertisements in the local newspapers and Government Gazette in accordance with the Administration of Deceased Estates Act 66 of 1965, as amended.
  5. Once Letters of Executorships obtained – an estate last bank account needs to be opened.
  6. Pay Creditors.
  7. Executor will also be required to pay out any special bequests to legacies and to pay any debts and obligations as an when they become due
  8. The executor may need to undergo selling assets in the event that there is not enough liquidity.
  9. Dealing with SARS, registering the estate.
  10. Calculate and pay relevant estate tax and ensure correct documentation is filed with SARS and the Master.
  11. Drawing up of the Liquidation and Distribution account – which details all assets and liabilities and how the estate has been divided and distributed – this is then lodged with the Master and submitted to SARS, where it is assessed and thereafter lies open for inspection.
  12. Another advertisement is then placed in the local newspaper and Government Gazette – notifying the public that the account is lying open for inspection.
  13. Attending to any of the Master’s queries during the finalisation stages and requesting for permission to distribute.
  14. Finalisation and distribution of the estate.
  15. Closing of estate.

It is important to note that the winding up of a deceased estate, is no easy task, no matter how simple or complex the estate may be. A great deal of time is dedicated by the executor in trying to effectively wind up the estate as quickly and smoothly as possible and therefore their fees are well justified. A simple estate can take roughly 16 months to two years to finalise.

Brenthurst Wealth offers its clients assistance with the drawing up new wills, reviewing of existing wills and safekeeping of wills, estate planning and the winding up of deceased estates.

Read more about our offering and meet our legal and fiduciary experts, Malissa Anthony and Rozanne Heystek-Potgieter here: Brenthurst Legal and Fiduciary services



Tax returns: what you need to know

By Gavin Butchart, Financial Director and Tax Consultant


The 2019 income tax filing season is in full swing and the South African Revenue services has also implemented their new look online eFiling system.

Taxpayers who use SARS eFiling service or the SARS MobiApp to file their income tax returns can do so from 1 July until 4 December 2019. Taxpayers who wish to use online filing for the first time may also register from 1 July.

Those who prefer to file their income tax return at a SARS branch will be able to do so from 1 August 2019 until 31 October 2019.

Provisional taxpayers have until 31 January 2020 to file via eFiling.

Taxpayers do not need to submit an income tax return if they meet all the following criteria:
• Their total employment income for the year before tax is not more than R500,000.
• They only receive employment income from one employer for the full tax year.
• They have no other form of income (e.g. car allowance, business income, rental income, taxable interest or income from another job).
• They don’t have any allowable tax-related deductions to claim (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses).

SARS has been on a drive to step up its efforts for taxpayers to be compliant and to combat outstanding and late returns, SARS said that it will also crack down on taxpayers who do not declare rental income from properties.

It’s important to declare all relevant and correct information when submitting your annual income tax returns, as serious consequences may arise should you not declare all the information or incorrect information which could result in criminal charges and penalties and interest being levied.

The penalty amount that will be charged depends on a taxpayer’s taxable income and can range from R250 up to R16 000 a month for each month that the non-compliance continues.

If you are unsure of the new eFiling system you can always go into your nearest SARS office for assistance or obtain the assistance of a tax practitioner.

Have a question? To contact Gavin send email to For details about the comprehensive financial planning, investing, risk planning and tax advisory services of Brenthurst Wealth, view all details here: Brenthurst Wealth

How to invest in volatile times

By Johan Burger, Director and CFP® professional

Johan Burger2017(2)

During volatile times, many investors get spooked and begin to question their investment strategies and portfolios.

Some are even tempted to pull out of the market altogether and wait on the sidelines until it seems safe to dive back in. The thing is, volatility is inevitable. It’s the nature of the beast. It moves up and down over the short term.

Trying to time or read the market perfectly or avoid most of the risk is impossible. Many have tried and failed. Part of the solution is to maintain a long-term horizon and ignore the short-term fluctuations.

For most investors this is a solid strategy, but even long-term investors should know about volatile markets and the steps that can help them to better weather erratic market behavior, especially now that market experts predict an increasingly bumpier ride in the near future.

I am sure you have read that several international experts have warned about a global economic slowdown – the International Monetary Fund included – and there is even talk about a recession in the USA. Trade tensions continue between the US and China; political risk is on the increase and debt levels remain elevated across global governments.

These challenges and the uncertainty it brings has led to volatility in worldwide equity, commodity and currency markets and falling bond yields, and the rising threat of interest rate hikes.

A high-quality approach is one of those investment strategies that seems smart, but only works well on certain occasions. It seems that occasion has arisen.

In industry jargon — quality has no single, strict definition. But the common traits are sturdy businesses or industries not reliant on a strong economy; high and resilient profitability; and strong balance sheets unburdened by debt.

Locally, Brenthurst Wealth has opted the use of more conservative asset classes. We have been reducing SA equity exposure and increased bond exposure in the form of income funds. Two major funds that Brenthurst have been using are; The Counterpoint Enhanced Income and the Mi-Plan Enhanced Income fund. We also have a low equity cautious fund namely the Brenthurst Cautious fund of fund where the local equity exposure is less than 10%. These funds are suited for investors with a low risk tolerance, that are redeeming income from their investments and the objective is to preserve capital with very low volatility.

Regulation 28 funds have underperformed severely the last five years due to the slow growth in the SA economy. Investors with retirement annuities and preservation funds could consider the following options. Either move their exposure to above income funds to more conservative asset classes or in certain cases to redeem and retire from these funds after the age of 55. Last mentioned option should be considered only for certain investors and aspects such as taxable income, total overall offshore exposure in their personal portfolios and tax consequences should be considered.

Offshore, there are several exchange-traded funds built to isolate quality stocks, here and abroad. Brenthurst Wealth launched its Global Equity ETF Fund late last year, the first SA-approved fund offering local investors exposure to the top index trackers in the world; including Vanguard, Black Rock and other global giants. It offers investors exposure to global stock markets at the lowest possible cost. The fund will become a central building block of our global investment portfolios.

In a dynamic investment universe, with increased global volatility and a stagnant local economy, Brenthurst Wealth is continuously adapting and innovating its investment offering to ensure we continue to offer value and new investment opportunities to investors, at competitive prices. We have been advocating a healthy exposure to foreign markets to local investors for more than eight years now and it continues to be a cornerstone of our investment strategy.

Depending on individual circumstances, we are strategically advising between 50% and 80% offshore allocation across discretionary portfolios, in some cases more. Once again, this will vary from one investor to another, based on their personal circumstances, risk profile and objectives. The primary reason for this bullish push abroad is the concentration risk the South African market poses to portfolios. The JSE is a tiny market, representing less than 1% of the global investable universe. Only 10 shares listed on the local bourse make up between 50% and 60% of the JSE All Share Index.

Taking money offshore offers access to a multitude of diverse industries, listed stocks, geographies and themes not available back home. And thus, access to much and many more quality companies and related investment schemes.

This “quality’ approach aims to provide low volatility returns by investing in attractively priced, high quality global businesses and investment products.

We aim to locate investment options with exposure to companies with strong and consistent track records with embedded identifiable strategies, low levels of leverage, strong management teams and good governance structures.

These are companies that have clear and trusted brands, are income-oriented and have high free cash flows, which we believe can compound shareholder wealth through many market cycles.

In times of uncertainty, the quality attributes we seek do not change. Rather, they provide the necessary ingredients for our companies to continue to compound shareholder wealth, and weather the storms the market will bring.

Brenthurst Wealth also launched a worldwide flexible portfolio in 2017, the Brenthurst Worldwide Flexible Fund of Fund. This fund is ideal for investors who want to increase their offshore exposure in local portfolios. This portfolio consists of a wide variety of asset swap funds and key holdings include, the Global Ip Opportunity fund, Investec Global Franchise fund and The Sygnia 4th Industrial Revolution fund. This is a very easy way to gain access to companies not available in SA and include, but not limited to, companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google.

There’s no way to know what the future holds for stocks or a particular segment but becoming more cautious could be the best strategy of all after the run-up of the past decade. Markets are confusing and the investment universe is vast.

It remains highly advisable to consult an experienced, qualified financial advisor to devise a strategy suited to an investor’s personal circumstances. Have a question for Johan Burger? Send email to For details of our offering, the location of our offices and our team visit our website here: Brenthurst Wealth

Trusted partnerships deliver results

By Brian Butchart, Managing Director and CFP®

Brian Butchart

Trust has always been an integral part of professional financial advice. But as disruptive technologies fundamentally change the way business is done, trust is increasingly becoming the trait that differentiates personal interaction from its automated counterpart and astute investors value this.

Furthermore, investors are more likely to trust an advisor when he/she believes their functional, emotional and ethical needs are being met. Especially if an advisor delivers on their objectives and has the investor’s best interest at heart.

Brenthurst Wealth has taken this a step further, and in another direction for that matter.

We are actively involved and familiar with every ventricle of the funds we invest our client’s money in, building professional relationships with the asset managers we select. The communication lines are open, the strategies are transparent, and we are united in our ultimate investment objectives.

This, we see as a strategic advantage, as it provides our advisors with insights that the average advisor does not generally have access to.

Whilst we may not always agree on the investment thesis, the debate is a critical extension of our intellectual armoury, adding further value.

We see the alignment of asset management and advisory services as a growing trend, as advisors take increasing responsibility for the outcome of investment decisions.

As such we need to have a thorough understanding of our asset managers’ positioning, in order to offer comprehensive advice. This is becoming increasingly difficult with large investment houses where access to decision makers is restricted and communication more generic.

Our close association with Momentum Global Investment Management (MGIM), Mi-Plan and Counterpoint Asset Management, for example, illustrates this clearly and the results speak for themselves.


The Brenthurst Global Equity Fund, managed by MGIM since its inception in 2010, outperformed the median manager in its peer group1 by more than 4% over the last 5 years.

The recently launched Brenthurst Global Equity fund, managed by MGIM provides a unique opportunity to invest solely in international ETF’s and index trackers and is one of the most cost-effective global funds approved by the FSCA. The fund delivered stellar returns YTD and since inception just over a year ago.

MGIM has a stable, energetic investment team that understands what investors really need and provide a hands-on approach to Brenthurst with insight and accessibility to their process and research which is in turn conveyed to clients.


The Global IP Opportunity Fund2 and the Mi-Plan IP Global Macro Fund2 are managed by Mi-Plan and are Multi Asset flexible global funds, investing primarily in foreign markets. The objective of the portfolios is to achieve capital appreciation over the medium to long term and there are no limitations on the relative exposure of the portfolios to any asset class.

The investment case for us is their focused exposure to the world’s equity markets with the aim of achieving capital growth. We also appreciate their ability to tactically allocate to bonds, property and cash to exploit market conditions and mitigate risk, using diversification by investing across the world’s major exchanges.

The Global IP Opportunity Fund delivered exceptional returns and in a very competitive investment category, with the Mi-Plan IP Global Macro Fund winning the Best (South African- domiciled) global multi-asset flexible fund Raging Bull award for three consecutive years (2016, 2017 and 2018), beating more established and well-known asset managers in this category.
Global IP Opportunity Fund beat the MSCI World Index and JSE ALSI annualised over 5 Years:

Mi-Plan IP

Source: Financial Express

In addition, the local Mi-Plan IP Enhanced Income Fund2 used within our local strategy delivered stellar returns (11.95% over 12 months to end June 2019) beating money market and inflation by a handsome margin.


Similarly, our relationship with Counterpoint Asset Management is deeper than simply an advisor-asset manager, as we have a direct line to the fund managers and use Counterpoint’s acumen to provide our team with input in terms of asset allocation and investment opportunities. The boutique fund manager boasts a team of very experienced professionals and has delivered an impressive set of results for our clients over the past few years.

The full suite of domestic funds (Balanced, Fixed Income and Equity Funds) remain ahead of their peers, with the Balanced Plus Fund deserving special mention for achieving top quartile performance over 1 and 3 years annualised. Consequently, this year the Counterpoint SCI Cautious and Balanced Plus Funds have regularly featured in the widely read Corion Report, featuring in the top 5 performing funds in their respective categories over multiple periods.

Selecting and establishing professional relationships with these top performing asset managers have proved rewarding for both Brenthurst Wealth and its clients. We are, however, cognizant of the level of risk taken to achieve these results and are wary of managers that have outsized positions that yield impressive returns only to collapse once the position unwinds and therefore tend to focus on managers that consistently deliver.

Brenthurst is well aware of the current global risks posed to investment strategies and therefore value and will continue to build professional relationships such as these, to enable the successful navigation of extreme political, economic and market volatility with the objective of mitigating risk and delivering consistent long-term returns to clients.

* As independent advisors we select investment opportunities from the entire global investment universe across several providers, asset managers and geographies. The funds highlighted here are only a few of the well-established relationships used to construct portfolios; dependent on a client’s particular financial objectives and investment plan. Details about our offering and our team here: Brenthurst Wealth

The frugal life the safest road to wealth

By Mags Heystek, CFP®


Temptation can be expensive, especially if you go into debt to satisfy your immediate desires. But it will cost you a lot more if instant gratification distracts your long-term savings goals.

Delaying gratification in the short term can lead to a much bigger payoff in the future. It will take discipline, but resisting the urge now, will be rewarded later, and ultimately brings more peace of mind.

A World Economic Forum (WEF) report released in June found that people around the world will long outlive their retirement savings.

The WEF Report, found that strained government and employee retirement plans have left individuals increasingly responsible for their own retirement, while many find their personal savings to be inadequate.

South Africa’s household savings rate is technically non-existent. According the SA Reserve Bank it was -0.10% in the first quarter of 2019.

To close the savings gap, the WEF report states that individuals and policymakers must take the appropriate steps to ensure investment returns outlive individuals themselves.
Unfortunately, tax policy, for example, is structured in such a way that it punishes investments and income generation.

The more wealth you create, the more taxes you must pay. Wealth taxes as well as regulatory and intermediary levies eat into performance over the long run. Investments are by subject it to a range of taxes, intermediary costs and regulatory charges.
If you want to become financially independent, you will need to save yourself. But you don’t have to go about it alone. An experienced and qualified financial adviser will assist you every step of the way.

One can probably argue that the younger generation is in greater need of financial advice than those before them. They are the most educated generation ever, but when it comes to saving and investing, they remain ill-informed. Growing up in the digital economy has also made them impatient. But they are not alone.

This impatience has also extended to the way a few investors approach investing: they want great returns and they are wanted instantly. This has made investors susceptible to fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes, all at the promise and allure of incredulous gains. Again, an advisor will be available to advise against it, and help investors understand how the supposed ‘greatest investment’ of all time really works, and if it is legitimate or not. Speaking of legitimacy, it is always important to ensure that any advisor, platform, and investment product is fully licensed. Investors have the right to ask all the necessary questions, and at the end of the day, it is their money.

There are no shortcuts to building long-term wealth. Successful investing requires consistency, patience and time. Delaying gratification may be one of the biggest factors to overcome to build wealth.

Studies have shown that those who accumulate wealth tend to be more frugal and live less opulent lifestyles than their peers, even though they can afford it.

While it is never too late to get started, the one advantage of starting at an earlier age is time; millennials could enjoy the added benefit the power of compounding over a longer period, and so build lasting wealth.

The world economy is extremely fragile, and digital options are popping up all over the place. So, chasing yields, making emotional decisions on short term market events and the allure of risky assets like cryptocurrency, will make the independent unbiased guidance from an advisor even more valuable.

But you cannot properly plan for the future without knowing where you stand today. An advisor will assist you in clearly articulating your goals. Objectives goals could be very short term (saving for a holiday), medium term (saving up enough money to buy a property), and long term (saving for retirement).

But what about some of the goals people aren’t even aware of yet? But what happens when things go wrong? Are your expectations realistic? Investors need to understand the good, the bad and the ugly.

The plan put together by a planner will have these outcomes in mind and take personal circumstances into consideration to advise on the most apt options for an investor. There are hundreds of products and services available. Choosing the right one can be a minefield. The advisor will navigate and investor through this complicated environment.

A financial advisor has the expertise and experience to help navigate this complex environment and to instill the principles to achieve your financial dreams and help make sound investment decisions.

He/she will provide realistic expectations on the types of returns one can expect from properly licensed investments. And keep your hard-earned cash out the hands of scam-artists, and your long-term plan intact. So, what are you waiting for?

To speak to a Brenthurst Wealth advisor, view our offering and details about our team here: Brenthurst Wealth

What exactly is Power of Attorney?

By Suzean Haumann and Malissa Anthony

Suzean Haumann 71 (2) Malissa-2017

Power of attorney is one of those phrases that you hear quite often, and there are some very real implications on an individual if they sign over power of attorney. Understanding what power of attorney is, and how it can affect you after certain life events, is important. This is especially the case when someone suffers a mental condition and becomes mentally incapacitated.

Power of attorney is essentially a notice that gives a third party the permission to act on your behalf and make decisions for you. This can be for specific matters (“special power of attorney”) or for all matters (“general power of attorney”), and is a valuable tool to allow people to make important life decisions when they are overseas or become too frail to physically sign documents.

In South Africa, we have seen an increase in power of attorney being signed over from people emigrating South Africa. Emigration is not always a clean process and often times someone leaves the country before all of their financial matters are completely finalised. In this instance they would sign over authority to someone still in South Africa to expedite the process. Practically it is far easier to sign a document in South Africa than to send it to Australia, sign it and return it.

The most common instance where power of attorney is signed over is with the elderly. Especially when that person is too frail to physically sign documents. It is normally a very stressful time when someone becomes too frail to sign documents, and power of attorney can relieve some of the stress. Power of attorney is also considered where someone does not have the mental capability to conduct their own affairs.

It may come as a surprise though that it is not possible under South African law to sign over power of attorney if someone becomes mentally incapacitated. When a person becomes unable to conduct their affairs due to a mental impairment, power of attorney ceases and at this point professional assistance needs to be brought in. The law in fact states that power of attorney ceases to be valid when the person who signed over power of attorney becomes mentally incapacitated and if someone acts on an invalid power of attorney, it can be considered fraud.

So what can be done then when someone is mentally unable to deal with their own affairs if power of attorney is not an option? Well, there are two options, the relatives of that person can apply to either the High Court to be appointed as the curator or as the administrator of the incapacitated person’s affairs.

Curatorship is quite a lengthy process and involves the signing of affidavits by the family of the incapacitated person as well as the legal appointment of a representative, usually an advocate. The application must include medical evidence confirming that the person is in fact mentally incapacitated. Once the process is concluded and approved, the Master of the High Court will issue letters of curatorship granting authority to the curator. The curator is required to fulfil a number of obligations including the submission of annual reports in a specific format to the Master. It is for this reason that curators tend to be admitted attorneys.

Administration is not as strenuous as obtaining curatorship and although a cost is involved, it is the cheaper obtain and also follows a legal process. Initially the Master will grant temporary administration rights to the administrator and after the investigation by the Master is concluded and they deem that the person does in fact need an administrator, then they will confirm the rights to the administrator.

A very important consideration is that when power of attorney is signed over for someone who is mentally incapacitated, the power conferred is absolute. This means that the person who in effect becomes the curator has full power under the law to conduct the affairs of the incapacitated person indefinitely and as they deem fit. There is often times where the family of the incapacitated person do not fully comprehend that all authority is transferred to the curator or administrator.

To help get around this situation, it is possible to move all the property of the individual into a trust prior to them becoming mentally incapacitated, however trusts can become prohibitively complex and lead to unexpected tax consequences. Trusts should only be executed by trust specialists as they will be able to set up the trust in the best way possible for the situation.

There have been recommendations to change the law and make the power of attorney process simpler, however at this point, the bill that was drafted has not yet been published for comment. Hopefully the delays can be overcome, but right now we are still in this complex environment.

In situations where someone becomes mentally incapacitated it is important that the family members of that person partner with someone that has the experience and ability to assist them. Brenthurst Wealth can help take the burden off the family by guiding them through the power of attorney process. Brenthurst is a licensed financial service provider with a qualified legal and fiduciary department well versed in the requirements of setting up power of attorney as well as applying to the Master of the High Court for curatorship and administration of estates of people who are mentally incapacitated.

* To contact Suzean Haumann, CFP®:, or Malissa Anthony, wills, estates, legal and compliance officer: If you need assistance with your financial plan contact the experienced advisors of Brenthurst. Details here: Brenthurst Wealth

Brenthurst Global Equity fund shows its mettle

By Brian Butchart, Managing Director and CFP®

Brian Butchart

Global politics and economics have caused volatility in financial markets in recent times and reports of an expected slowdown have made investors very nervous. During such times of turmoil and uncertainty, an effective diversified strategy and prudent fund selection can provide assurance to manage those nerves.

A popular investment solution to reduce costs and provide effective diversification are index tracker and exchange traded funds (ETFs). An ETF is a fund which tracks a stock market index and trades like regular stocks on the exchange, whereas index funds track the performance of a benchmark index of the market. Research has shown some passive investment solutions have surpassed some of their active counterparts in terms of capital and income growth and as a result, passive solutions have become increasingly popular.

The debate between active vs passive has been raging on for decades. The late John Bogle, founder of Vanguard, was the poster boy for promoting low cost Index funds and there is no doubt based on historical evidence, Index trackers are effective as part of a long-term portfolio to provide cost effective accessibility to multiple asset classes and markets across the world. Vanguard, one of the best-known and established passive asset managers has been very successful in delivering long-term returns to their clients.

The greatest benefit of these type of products is they provide multi – company, industry, country and tradeable asset class exposure at a relatively low cost. The range of nuances within these offerings have also expanded including focus areas like dividend yield, volume, quality or geography with access to multiple themes such as renewable energy, robotics or healthcare to name a few.

ETFs and index trackers are usually low cost, with significantly lower fees than those of actively managed funds. They are easy to understand and use, and investors’ expectations are easy to manage. If you invest in a market index, you know you are going to get the market index return (less a small fee). This all means diversification or risk management can start at a much simpler level. ETFs and trackers allow clients to pool their money in order to allow smaller investors access to asset classes which may be difficult to hold in small denominations.

Although passive investing provides some obvious benefits, various index funds these days give exposure to almost anything. This means that you still need to have some sort of stock picking strategy, which then is no longer passive investing anymore. The combination of a passive selection of investments then becomes an active decision.
Passive investors can also have very different returns as there are multiple indexes that can be tracked, and an explosion of ETF’s to choose from. This is especially relevant as passive investment solutions have increased significantly over the past 10 years. This means the returns passive investors achieve, might vary across the board depending on which index, asset, ETF or market you are tracking.

Therefore, skilled active managers can still add significant value and alpha to long-term portfolios and supportive of an investment solution which combines both active and passive strategies.

There are a number of ETF and tracker funds offering a multitude of investment opportunities and solutions globally, most of which, such as the Vanguard range of index funds are not FSCA approved.

For these reasons and to further ease access to low-cost international equity solutions, Brenthurst established its own fund of this nature in 2018 in association with Momentum Global Investment Management (MGIM) called the Brenthurst Global Equity Fund.

This unique opportunity allows investment into passive ETFs and trackers, actively managed by Glyn Owen at MGIM.

This fund is used as part of our core portfolio together with other passive and actively managed funds to construct bespoke international investment strategies. This investment offers local investors exposure to the top index trackers and ETF’s in the world including Vanguard, Black Rock and other global giants. It not only offers investors exposure to global stock markets but as far as we can determine is the only Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) approved international fund investing entirely in ETF’s and trackers. The fund is the latest addition to our range of funds giving exposure to leading companies, regions, currencies and countries at a fraction of the cost of other internationally managed equity funds.

The current Top 10 ETF and tracker holdings in the fund:


These types of investments provide diverse allocation across geographies, investment styles and themes, reduces risk and the recipe has been tested over three, five and ten years. The annual volatility was shown to be substantially lower than most international equity funds due to the diverse nature of the portfolio which outperformed the MSCI world index over 10 years on a back-tested basis. In addition, the lower cost resulted in better outcomes than some of the managed general equity funds over the same period.
The fund delivered a stellar 17% YTD, with assets under management in excess of $18 million and gaining traction.

This combination of both passive and active strategies complements one another and potentially offers superior long-term outcomes as opposed to either investment strategy in isolation.

Any investment strategy, however, should be carefully considered in consultation with an advisor who can address the risks and assess suitability to individual circumstances.