Why Invest with Element?

Key  Differentiators

Element Investment Managers is an independent, owner-managed investment boutique established in 1998. We provide discretionary investment management services to individuals, institutions and retirement funds. We believe there are a number of factors that differentiate Element Investment Managers from other investment managers:


We believe in fostering a culture of excellence, innovation and open-mindedness. We encourage an environment in which both group effort is emphasized and individual contribution is valued and rewarded. Our culture allows our investment team to research for innovative ways to outperform while managing downside risk.

A single investment philosophy

We have one single investment philosophy focusing on the long-term that drives our investment process and asset and stock selection, as opposed to the majority of larger South African managers having a number of different investment philosophies (and boutiques) under one brand. At Element Investment Managers our investment philosophy is replicated across all the funds we manage on an institutional and retail unit trust level. This ensures performance dispersion across similarly mandated funds is kept to a minimum and that one consistent investment philosophy is understood by our clients.

Depth of investment, operational and client service staff

At Element Investment Managers we are differentiated from the majority of boutique asset managers by having considerably more depth in our staff complement across the disciplines of investment, operations and client service. Our depth and experience of staff is more than the equivalent of the majority of larger managers, mitigates against key man risk and ensures long-term business sustainability for our clients. In addition, having well qualified and experienced operational and client service staff that manage the business on a day-to-day basis ensures that the investment team are not distracted from their core focus of in-depth research and investment management.

Long-term investment track record and management of risk

At Element Investment Managers, we believe that a disciplined long-term contrarian approach is the most reliable way to achieve superior absolute returns for investors over the long term with lower than average risk. We have a proven investment track record more than a decade long over a number of stockmarket and economic cycles. We have a clear focus on managing downside risk and the preservation of capital while generating long-term positive returns.

Our size and our investable universe

Global and South African research has highlighted the material negative impact an unrestricted level of assets under management has on active equity investors over the long-term as a result of a continually declining investable portfolio universe. As a result Element Investment Managers will look to cap its domestic assets under management based on the number of optimal investable opportunities available for all our clients. Our opinion, confirmed by a number of independent research studies, is that capping our active equity holding reduces the risks our clients are exposed to and should lead to superior returns over the long term.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability research integrated into our investment process

We have incorporated ESG and sustainability research into our investment process since 2001 as these factors can have a material impact on company valuations. We are the leaders in Responsible Investment in South Africa with a well-documented long-term track record as part of our investment research process. Our experience and our approach to engagement with the companies in which we invest our client's funds enables us to identify key ESG issues and factor these into our analysis of companies.

Independence and Stability

At Element Investment Managers our employees own the majority of our business. This wide distribution of ownership promotes a clear alignment between our clients' best interests and the long-term success of the business. Our independence allows us to avoid any conflicts of interest with a listed holding company and build long-term relationships with our clients that are not driven by the need to meet short-term earnings or product sales targets.

No performance fees levied on our Unit Trust funds

At Element Investment Managers we believe in the equitable treatment of all our clients with respect to how our investment management fees are levied. As a result, we do not charge any performance fees on our Retail Unit Trusts as it is not possible to ensure equitable treatment across all our investors. Unit trusts have many individual investors who enter, exit and switch between funds at varying times making it difficult to ascertain who has participated in performance and at which point the fee needs to be levied. The South African industry practice of levying a fee based on past performance is not equitable for all clients as current investors may pay a performance fee regardless of whether that performance will be achieved for them in future.