Boutique asset manager Denker Capital has shifted responsibilities in its investment team following the retirement of portfolio manager Pierre Marais. Marais had managed the Denker Global Equity Fund (available locally through the Denker SCI Global Equity Feeder Fund) since 2015.
Ricco Friedrich (pictured), who has been co-managing the Denker SCI Equity Fund and Denker SCI SA Equity Fund with Claude van Cuyck, has taken over management of the global equity strategy. This means that Van Cuyck will now have sole responsibility for the local equity funds.
Van Cuyck, who also serves as an executive director of the firm, told Citywire that Denker had been planning for a transition since the start of the year.
‘With Pierre reaching retirement age, it was clear there would need to be a change,’ said Van Cuyck. ‘The question was whether we would look internally or for an outside candidate.
‘We went through a very thorough process, interviewing some outside candidates as well as looking internally, and it was clear for the sake of continuity within Denker, and for the continuity of our investment style and philosophy across strategies, that it was better to grow our own timber.’
Friedrich therefore took over the management of the Denker Global Equity Fund effective from the start of September.
This necessitated a change to the way the firm’s local equity strategies are run.
‘The way that we ran the South African equity funds, the portfolio was split 50-50 between me and Ricco,’ said Van Cuyck. ‘Having worked together for many years, our investment style and process is the same. So there weren’t massive discrepancies between our portfolios.
‘There might be slight differences here and there, but there were never any surprises in how we were allocating capital. That meant that the transition was very fluid and there haven’t been massive changes to the portfolio.’
In other changes within the team, Denker added a new analyst resource with the appointment of Ricardo Micheals from Coronation Fund Managers. Micheals had been an equity analyst in the emerging markets team at Coronation.
Meanwhile, Jan Meintjes, who had primarily focused on financial counters, will now focus more time on industrials, and small cap stocks. The strength of expertise in Denker’s financials team, under Kokkie Kooyman, will be leveraged more into the general equity strategies.
‘Having a greater spread of research and a better utilisation of the skills across Denker clearly makes sense,’ said Van Cuyck. ‘So we don’t lose Jan’s intuitional memory on the financial side at all. He’s an integral part of the team. But what we have done is to get the various teams within Denker to work more closely together so that we are able to leverage off the skills across the group.’