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Reporting From the Helm February 2021

January felt like a bit of a false start to 2021. February has arrived, and our President welcomed the month in with the good news that some of the more extreme level three lockdown measures have been relaxed. You can now enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and may even have enough time for a second glass as the alcohol ban has been lifted and the curfew changed from 9 pm to 11 pm. Along with many other parents we got to drop our two younger sons off at boarding school last week. We now eagerly await the matric results due out later this month, and hopefully will be sending our eldest son to join my daughter at university in Cape Town. All in all, a bit of a delayed start, but certainly good to have a little normality returning to our lives.

These last two months have been particularly concerning as we have seen the second wave of Covid affect many of our families and friends. It has been quite devastating to witness the impact of this pandemic, and I think for all of us it has come a little closer to home this time around. It is encouraging to see that the first vaccine delivery has arrived in SA, although the roll out has now been put on hold. As I mentioned in January, we had decided to keep the offices closed to prevent any further contagion. We will be relaxing this slightly in February and will hopefully be getting back into full swing in March. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to Chartered, but we will continue to be cautious and only recommend that clients come in where necessary, such as for the signing of documentation.

The good news from January was the significant upswing in the markets. The All-Share index finished 5.2% up for the month, which was primarily due to Naspers growing 15.2%. In the last quarter of 2020, we saw the best quarterly return in emerging markets in the past ten years—eventually a reward for our patience in the markets. Last year will still go down in history as one of the most volatile years on the JSE, with a low of 38000 points and a high of 59000. The same applied to the rand, which started the year at R14 to the dollar and went as high as R19.03. These short-term fluctuations in both the currency and the markets should not detract from the longer-term objectives of your financial plan.

Thank you to all of you our clients for persevering through a challenging ten months, your understanding has been appreciated as we have all been challenged with online meetings and client events. We will continue with our online events for the foreseeable future until it is safe for crowds to gather again at Chartered. Please keep in touch, let us know how you are doing and look after your health. We look forward to seeing you online soon.

Warm regards