Rob Dower

Rob Dower

Rob joined Allan Gray in August 2003 and was chief operating officer from June 2009 to June 2018. He was formerly a management consultant with McKinsey and is a graduate of UCT and of INSEAD.

Articles by Rob Dower

2018 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 19 Apr 2018

Between countries and within a country over time, there is a strong correlation between the proportion of respondents answering on a standard survey that...

2017 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 24 Jan 2018

Rightly, in the past year, there has been an increase in public pressure on fund managers like us to actively exercise clients' ownership responsibilities,...

2017 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 24 Oct 2017

O ver the course of history, scientists and engineers have made steady progress, with each discovery or innovation building on the last. On the other hand,...

2017 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 20 Jul 2017

UK academics working at the London Business School (LBS) produced a book about 15 years ago called Triumph of the Optimists, comparing 101 years of stock...

2017 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2017

Turkey’s President Erdoğan has recently won a controversial referendum to expand his executive powers and extend his maximum term by 10 years. The UK is...

2016 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2016

It is so easy to get caught up in the latest bad news (and there has been a lot of it in the week I’m writing this) that we can miss the underlying positive...

2016 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2016

Trust and confidence are especially important for financial markets. Everything that changes hands in financial markets represents a promise of one kind or...

2016 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2016

With political volatility at home, uncertain economic prospects in China and potential changes to the monetary policy momentum in the US, South African share...

2015 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2015

As set out in his letter to clients, our founder, Allan WB Gray, and his family have transferred their controlling interests in Allan Gray and Orbis to the...

2015 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2015

When you buy a share you invest what the current owner is willing to sell it for. As the share's new owner, your returns come from a stream of dividends (whi...

2015 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2015

The Greek crisis dominated the headlines for much of the second quarter, along with the slowdown in growth and massive stock market volatility in China....

2015 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2015

This Quarterly Commentary is dedicated to Simon Marais, chairman of Allan Gray Limited, who passed away on 26 February this year. In recent issues we have...

2014 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2014

We were expecting 2014 to be a tough year for South Africa's economy and the JSE and, where our mandates allow, we invested cautiously in anticipation of thi...

2014 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2014

My early career and training was as a mechanical engineer. Engineers deal with uncertainty in design by applying a 'safety factor' to their sums: if...

2014 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2014

If a company keeps doing something for many years, it eventually becomes part of its wiring. One could ascribe the modest success that Allan Gray Proprietary...

2014 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2014

Adding value through stock picking, here and abroad As you are most probably aware, asset allocation funds have the mandate to vary their exposure to asset...

2013 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2013

Is investor behaviour improving? It has been more than a year since I last reported to you on investor returns being distinct from fund returns in our unit...

2013 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2013

Our first article this quarter is Sandy McGregor's economic commentary arguing for the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) to begin its long-awaited return to a mor...

2013 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2013

We have written before about the importance of diversifying your portfolio. Diversification allows you to take individual risks (for example, investments in ...

2013 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2013

South Africans save too little in general but we especially save too little for retirement. People who have no savings have to live only off the returns they...

2012 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2012

The Allan Gray group exists to make money for our clients. This is a good objective. Mostly our clients are regular people with everyday goals: to retire wit...

2012 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2012

We have made the point many times in this magazine and on other platforms that the best investment opportunities are often not to be found in industries or...

2012 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2012

This magazine includes the performance of all of our funds in its last few pages, based on a single lump sum invested at each starting point, as is required ...

2012 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2012

A nominal interest rate is the rate you pay or receive before taking inflation into account. This is the rate you see quoted on money market funds and on...

2011 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2011

Over the tumultuous past year, the returns from lump sum investments in the Allan Gray Balanced, Stable and Equity Funds differ by less than 3%, and over the...

2011 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2011

In a 2008 global survey of trust run by Edelman, a consultancy, US and UK respondents rated banks at 70% and 46% respectively in answer to the question 'How...

2011 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2011

We are conservatively positioned in the portfolios that we manage for clients and have been for some time, to the extent that we have discretion to be so. Th...

2011 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2011

There are a few ways in which we can reduce short-term risk in a portfolio and not all of these require that there is a matching dilution in long-term return...

2010 Q4 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2010

It has been an interesting year. Twelve months ago, I wrote that we did not think share price valuations were justified by the fundamentals of SA listed...

2010 Q3 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2010

In past issues we have highlighted the potential gap between a unit trust's returns and the returns achieved by the average investor in that fund. A fund's...

2010 Q2 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Jun 2010

In the last six weeks South Africa has been aglow with positive sentiment and optimism. The World Cup has had a real impact on national unity and confidence ...

2010 Q1 Comments from the Chief Operating Officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Mar 2010

In a recent GrayIssue, our monthly electronic newsletter, we noted that a significant portion of the Allan Gray Equity Fund's outperformance came from...

2009 Q4 Comments from the chief operating officer

By Rob Dower on 31 Dec 2009

When I returned to South Africa from London with my young family in the early part of the last decade, we thought we were trading economic security for a...

2009 Q3 Comments from the chief operating officer

By Rob Dower on 30 Sep 2009

As I write, the JSE is more than double its March low when priced in US dollars. To justify the current stock market valuation on a PE multiple hovering arou...

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