MEET MOMENTUM’S NEXT GENERATION LEADERS FAREEYA ADAM, HEAD OF RETAIL PRODUCT SOLUTIONS Fareeya, you have been with Momentum since 1999. Please tell us about your journey with the company. I joined Momentum straight out of university and have been here ever since. I spent a few years in the actuarial valuations team where I did lots of technical work, but most of my experience has been in product development and product management. Over the years, I progressed from being a specialist to managing the discretionary and retirement solutions team to my current role as head of retail investment product solutions. From the outset what I loved most about Momentum was the culture and the feeling that your colleagues are more than just people you work with. Rather, they become friends that you trust and share your journey with. The underlying resilience and attitude of always doing the right thing have resonated with me. Please share with us your academic history. I did both my undergraduate degree and my honours in actuarial science at the University of Pretoria. In 2005, I completed all the exams necessary to become a Fellow of both the Institute of Actuaries and the Actuarial Society of South Africa. What does your job as head of retail product solutions entail? My role, and that of my team, is to help put together solutions for the clients’ investment needs. This includes discretionary savings and saving for retirement. At retirement, there are different income products, both linked and guaranteed. There are also structured and guaranteed products. We need to consider solutions from many different angles, including investment wrappers with the various tax implications, types of underlying investments, regulation and rules. We also need to think about how the adviser and client experience a solution, how we explain and illustrate technical concepts in an easy-to-understand way, to ensure that advisers and clients can make appropriate decisions for their circumstances. Lastly, we balance the needs of business and clients by ensuring that the fees charged are fair and well disclosed. How is it possible for a client to achieve high-risk returns in the current global economy? Some of our investment professionals say that “time in the market is more important than timing the market”. I think that this is very relevant. Also, clients must discuss their circumstances and risk tolerance with a financial adviser. There are opportunities in the market, but the best way to find the balance between risk and reward is to partner with experts and to be able to follow through with the plan. How can clients maintain a degree of certainty despite the state of uncertainty facing the world today – with the US elections, Covid-19 and the economic slowdown? One of Momentum’s strengths is the comprehensiveness of our offering, which includes a range of guaranteed solutions. These go a long way towards removing uncertainty. In the guaranteed annuity space, clients will be assured of always receiving a predetermined income, regardless of how markets perform or how long they live. In the structured products space, some solutions offer different return profiles that are secure and predictable. This allows clients to diversify their portfolio in ways that suit their individual needs. Blue Chip advice? Choose partners who are experts and who you can trust. Time in the market is more important than timing the market.
KAPIL JOSHI, HEAD OF MOMENTUM COLLECTIVE INVESTMENTS Kapil, please tell us about the decade that you have spent with Momentum. Momentum is the only business I have ever worked for, and what an amazing journey it has been. As you enter the corporate arena, you enter with this belief of what your first job in a big company means and what it will be like. This includes several things such as meeting new people, the nerves associated with trying to prove yourself (not just being a number), and I can safely say Momentum flipped this on its head. In those initial days, I felt incredibly welcome, almost like I belonged to the family. This did not change for the ten years I have been here. Think about it, ten years at on average 12 hours a day (yes we don’t just abide by contract hours), would need to carry some additional meaning than just being a job. I have been fortunate enough to be presented with some noteworthy career opportunities, from product development to investment distribution and now more recently, as head of Momentum Collective Investments (MCI), looking after the unit trust business, and it has been filled with great memories. But these great memories also come with tough and open debate, it comes with hard work, and it certainly comes with sharing a common purpose and vision. And in this regard, I can say the people in our business are fiercely competitive, and that has been something wonderful to witness. Momentum is a place that you are afforded opportunities to grow, that accepts challenges and people that challenge the norm, it is a place that truly cares for its people and I am incredibly proud of calling it my work-home. We have done some great things over the last decade, but all of that has just created the foundation for the legacy we are busy building. What are the defining highlights of your career? The first one is the offer I received to join Momentum on 3 May 2010. Fresh on the job market, you hope to get the ball rolling in your next chapter of starting a career. I joined Momentum Wealth in the structured product and annuities team where we were a part of creating some really exciting structured solutions for the South African retail investments market. These kinds of opportunities rarely arrive at the door of an inexperienced individual who is fresh out of university. I spent six years of my career in this environment in various product development capacities. Another highlight would be that I got to work with some of the extraordinary leaders and mentors whom I can also call friends. We were a part of a team that brought some of the first innovative protected solutions to the South African market, we had record sales with some of our products and at the same time, we had phenomenal personal opportunities for growth with really outstanding management programmes. On the personal side, going through two management programmes and winning cohort business improvement projects for both is also something I am incredibly proud of. Please tell us about Momentum Collective Investments. Momentum Collective Investments is the unit trust provider to the group's asset management capabilities. It wraps solutions and single asset capabilities in collective investment schemes (or unit trusts). But more importantly, it takes our investing philosophy called outcome-based investing and packages this in vehicles that the retail and institutional market can access. We are incredibly proud of our heritage and legacy at MCI because through our history we still have one of the oldest registered funds. It is on this foundation that we are now looking to enhance our proposition and the visibility of our proposition to established and new market players. We currently have just under R90-billion assets under management across our capabilities (at the time of writing in December 2020). These capabilities include fixed income, smart beta, property and multi-asset solutions. Blue Chip advice? I have seen some market cycles in my time at Momentum. It is fair to say that I have also seen the trends associated with these market cycles and particularly investor behaviours. If there is one thing we know for certain, it is that trying to time the markets due to pure performance is the worst thing one can do. A sound investing philosophy that is met with a solution/fund to back it up in partnership with robust and thorough financial advice can make for clients truly staying the course to their investment or savings goals. Forget about the day-to-day comings and goings in investment markets and rather focus on your goals. "We are incredibly proud of our heritage and legacy at MCI because through our history we still have one of the oldest registered funds."