17 May 2019

South Africa: Investec Results - More About the Journey Than the Moment

analysis

For Investec, 2018 was an epochal year. Not only did its management team hand over the reins after four decades of hands-on leadership, but the group decided to unbundle its asset management business. Recent results suggest the journey is well underway.

In a market crowded with financial advice platforms, Investec has canned its UK-based robo-advice business, Click & Invest, following two years of losses, saying market acceptance lagged the fin-tech hype.

In the process, the financial services firm wrote off £20-million worth of software development costs and operating costs incurred over the year.

"This is in line with our sharper focus and cost management," said joint CEO Fani Titi in a conference call to discuss the group's financial results for the year to March 2019.

"We do believe that technology is important in financial services. However, like UBS (which discontinued its SmartWealth robo-advice platform in 2018), we went into the space thinking the market is ready and that we would have support. We don't think the market is there."

Exploring new opportunities is the way Investec has historically operated, adds joint CEO Hendrik du Toit.

"But we don't run a unicorn model. We don't run open positions forever because we...

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