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Ninety One boss outlines priorities for business

Ninety One boss outlines priorities for business

The chief executive of Ninety One, the asset management firm formerly known as Investec Asset Management, has outlined his priorities for the newly listed company. 

Ninety One recently de-merged from its parent company Investec Bank, with Hendrik Du Toit, a veteran at Investec, becoming chief executive. 

The plan to de-merge was first revealed in September 2019 and was completed on March 16.

In a recent podcast recording for clients of the firm, Mr Du Toit said his priorities for the business would be growing its products and client base related to China, and to sustainability.

He said: “China and sustainability are the two areas we have to get right. China will be the largest economy in the world during our management time horizon. 

"We have very good products that invest in that country, but it is also about us building the relationships we need in China, with Chinese financial institutions.”

Mr Du Toit said sustainability was the other key area for his business.

He said: “This is not just about specific products in that area, it is about a mindset that has to go through the whole of the company. 

"Quite simply, the world is not going to stand for a company that ignores the issues of the wider world.” 

One of the products run by Ninety One is the Temple Bar investment trust whose shareholders recently voted against a proposal by the board to focus the investments of the UK equity income product more on ESG considerations.   

At the end of December 2019 Ninety One had assets under management of £121bn. 

Mr Du Toit said his firm was too large to be considered a boutique asset manager, but it was not a giant firm either.

He said boutiques sometimes reach a level where they cannot grow further, while the larger firms struggled to grow.

He said: “I think the idea that scale is an advantage for anything other than index asset management businesses is wrong. If Ninety One had £1.5trn of assets, it would be bigger and it would be more profitable but I don’t think it would be a better business than it is now.” 

Ninety One’s former parent company Investec retains a holding in the business after dropping plans to sell a 10 per cent stake earlier this month.

david.thorpe@ft.com