Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Albie Sachs italk to Futuregrowth clients

Watch this interview for more on Albie Sachs

Press release issued by Futuregrowth at talk given to clients:

The Constitution of South Africa is a significant barrier to risk, according to Albie Sachs, the lawyer and former exiled political activist, who last night called on South Africans not to devalue the hard-won freedoms that are entrenched in its framework.

Sachs, who two decades ago was among the people who drafted the Constitution, was speaking to members of the investment community at an event hosted by Futuregrowth Asset Management.

“The Constitution is bearing up remarkably well. When you have a robust and strong foundation as we do, it can be of enormous significance to the life of a society; it can contain the tensions and fears that could otherwise tear the country apart.”

The former judge said that because of this framework and the entrenched freedom of expression, all South Africans had the right to enjoy being who they were in a free country, but could ask to what extent the experiences of pre-democratic lives were an influence when making objective judgments.

“The matrix of the constitution and the hopes and idealism that inspired it should be what influences the way we make our judgments on people.”

“The combination of a robust economy together with this idealistic constitution makes me very optimistic about South Africa,” he said. “We are sustaining our constitution and the country is functioning even though we have setbacks including crime and a heartbreaking degree of unemployment.”

Andrew Canter, Futuregrowth’s chief investment officer, describing Sachs as a “man in the mould of Mandela”, said that the integrity of the constitution was a strength South Africans could draw on in the present uncertain climate.

“Without this, there would be risk,” he said. “It is more than 20 years since Abie Sachs argued that the constitution should identify rights to housing, water, healthcare and a clean environment and it is against this background that Futuregrowth has been channeling pension fund money into long-term sustainable growth.”
Futuregrowth, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary as an asset manager, has played a pioneering role in development funds for the past 15 years.

A number of once-emerging businesses have gained leverage from its funds including SA Taxi, the Trust for Urban Housing (TUFH) and Capitec Bank. Futuregrowth was Capitec’s first third party lender when it started gearing up and was also the first private sector investor in Nurcha, the construction finance company. This month a new funding partnership with Nurcha was announced which enables Futuregrowth’s retirement fund clients to invest in on-the-ground service delivery, for the first time.

Futuregrowth managing director Paul Rackstraw said that company’s track record of socially responsible investment (SRI) showed that social impact and investment performance were not mutually exclusive. In the newest pioneering initiative, Futuregrowth is launching an agricultural fund which will contribute substantially to land reform in South Africa, providing opportunities on three million hectares of fallow land.

“Development funds are having a beneficial impact on the lives of thousands of ordinary people in South Africa,” said Rackstraw. “We are launching another agricultural fund with international money and hope to get further funds from institutions in Africa and South Africa.”