It's Good to back Yourself

September 15, 2014
Murray Winckler, Director at Laurium Capital

Money Marketing (September 2014)

Murray Winckler is Director at Laurium Capital, which he started in 2008 after 12 years at Deutsche Bank, South Africa, the last three as CEO. He is a CA (SA) and CFA.

In a big corporate you have someone to do things for you

– for example legal and compliance matters. In a smaller business you have to do these things yourself. You can move quickly and it’s more dynamic than a large organisation. You can also do big things in a big global business – we underwrote the biggest equity block trade ever in SA - a R5bn hard underwriting of MTN. That’s the big positive of being in a big business. The negative is corporate inefficiency and the bureaucracy can be frightening. In a small business it is more dynamic and you can do things a lot quicker. But it is great to have the global experience.

We started Laurium Capital in August 2008.

Just before the financial crisis. It was pretty scary to have just started a fund and be managing money for people we knew personally who had trusted us for those months up to March 2009. There was massive uncertainty and volatility, and because we were new we couldn’t take too much risk.

We had to build a track record as a fund manager.

We had good track records in the corporate world (both Murray and Co-founder of Laurium Gavin Vorwerg were top rated in their respective fields) – and there were some who were willing to give us their money to manage. But we had to build a track record as a new business and show that we could do what we set out to. After three years we got more support. It is good to go through these things in life – to go through stages and really back yourself.

The hedge fund industry should grow significantly

in the next few years as hedge funds are introduced into the retail space. The industry is very small – only R50bn compared to the R1.5trn in unit trust funds.

Hedge fund managers in South Africa are more regulated

than the rest of the world, and most run fairly conservative hedge funds. Relative to the global equity hedge fund market, South African hedge fund managers have performed unbelievably well – way better than the average global hedge fund manager. We have some hedge fund managers with very good track records and good performance. Managers with a high skills set sit in the hedge fund space – and just how good they are can be seen from their track records in the long only space.

We are looking forward to the changes regulation of hedge funds

will bring – it will be good for the industry.

A CFA is a good entry point.

In my first year of articles in 1983 I encountered a CEO on an audit who was very interested in investing in shares. That got me interested in equity markets, and after articles I joined Ivor Jones Roy and Co Inc. As a starting point to the financial markets industry I would advise youngsters to do a CFA – it’s more intense than an MBA

I cycle and play golf.

And I watch and support the Proteas. I started cycling 12-13 years ago when a group of us in DiData and Deutsche Bank had a bet around the Argus. Five years back I managed to do a sub-3 Argus. I’m a bit slower these days. I played professional squash many years ago and was ranked no 30 in the world. Those were the days of isolation and our teams could not compete internationally – but as individuals we could play in most international events. South Africa had the biggest prize money tournament in the world on the Sunshine circuit in the early 1980s.

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