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Ninety One undeterred by falling markets

Ninety One undeterred by falling markets
 Hendrik du Toit, chief executive of Ninety One

Newly spun-off funds business Ninety One has said it is focusing on growth despite the financial shocks to markets caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hendrik du Toit, the boss at Ninety One spoke as the funds business commenced trading on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges this morning after spinning out of Investec.

Investec announced last September it would spin off its UK asset management business and the new company, named after the year it was founded, would be floated.

But Investec decided to scrap earlier plans to sell a 10 per cent stake in Ninety-One as part of the floatation, due to the growing economic crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has caused markets to crash over the past few weeks and global indices have seen the sharpest daily dives in more than 30 years.

Mr du Toit said: “Current times provide opportunity for growth because those who navigate this volatility better than others tend to be rewarded — and we intend to do this.

“It’s all about remaining focused on the job at hand and looking to service your clients.”

Mr du Toit added today was “still a very special day” despite the fact markets were against the floatation.

He said: “Coronavirus was not part of the plan. A big market crash was not part of the plan. But in asset management we’re paid to navigate risk and we have managed very well to navigate this listing.”

According to Mr du Toit, the timing of Ninety One’s initial public offering was “not really relevant” because the management did not intend to divest its stake, which currently stands at 20 per cent.

He said it was not a moment of “selling off” — as no one involved planned to disinvest — but creating the opportunity to invest further.

Ninety One is trading at a share price of 141p as at late morning.

The coronavirus crisis has caused the Bank of England to cut its base rate to 0.25 per cent and the Federal Reserve to slash the US interest rates range to 0-0.25 per cent.

Over the past three weeks, some 16 per cent has been wiped from the S&P 500 share price and last week the US government bond market — usually a strong diversifier against falling equities — was showing signs of strain.

A quarter (25 per cent) has been wiped off the FTSE 100 over the same time period.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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