Ryan Friedman, Head: Multi-Manager Investments, Investec Wealth & Investment SA

Finding balance as a fund manager

In the third episode of the Inside Out of the Ordinary film series, we meet Ryan Friedman, Multi-Manager Investments Head, Investec Wealth & Investment SA, who finds success through balance.

Read full video transcript

  • Balance, episode III: Ryan Friedman

    I think success isn’t just about making money or being a brilliant investment professional.  These are parts of success, the other more relevant often parts of success are having a healthy relationship with your family, having a healthy body so you can have longevity in your job and your role. And I think balance is a critical thing to sustain and to grow as an individual.


    I’ve lived in Joburg my whole life. I love the energy of Johannesburg. I love that people are real. I love that connections are made when you’re at school and those are some of your best friends you’ll have your whole life.


    My family is the most important, the relationships with them are really the acid-test for how successful you are and I think that grows me as an individual, helps me to be better at my job.


    I was a stock-broker for a short amount of time and then from there I went into portfolio management and manager research and then moved to Investec in 2004 and been there ever since.


    The essence of my job is really two aspects to it.  The first is to do due-diligence on some of the worlds finest investment managers. In other words, go out to various parts of the world and understand intimately what it is a fund manager does and how he thinks about investments.


    The second part of it and what consumes a large part of my day is reading macro-economic research.  Trying to understand how all the variables fit in, trying to get an understanding of the investment landscape that we are operating in and then shaping the portfolios that the current market is in.


    Being motivated is one thing, achieving excellence is something different.  I think too many people are trying to be average at everything. What we strive to do, what I certainly strive to do is be excellent at one thing. And if you’ve got a team of people around you that are all excellent at their individual responsibilities you’ve got a very well rounded team of excellence.


    What the Global Investment Strategy Group (GISG) does is define a risk for over a 12 to 18 month period and the GISG  tries to indentify and map-out where we are on that risk spectrum.


    [In meeting]: "Thank you for the participation in the London office, I think its time we bring in Ryan in Johannesburg. The current anxiety and the associated volatilty that we see in markets at this point in time is really a result of investors becoming increasingly aware that we have probably past peak growth and that’s both from an economic perspective and as well as from an earnings perspective."


    "In other words we are moving out of a period of stimulus driven complacency which we saw in 2017 to  a market where you’ve got a crisis then response sort of a mode."


    It takes many years to get many years of experience and the GISG has many cumulative years of experience so it certainly is a priviledge to be on that forum. 


    I think this job reflects the type of person I am, it has a lot of different elements in that I get to have emotive discussions with people, there is the money management side to it that I absolutely love.


    There’s helping people to achieve their retirement and looking after their savings that brings out the custodial portion in me which I think is also very good.


    Family is very important to me. My religion is very important to me. Work is very important to me and succeeding as an investment professional is very important because that is what I want to do for the rest of my life.


    I think that succeeding in life is a combination of a whole host of things so I want to succeed and achieve and reach my potential the best I can and that’s something I will strive for my whole life.

Meet Ryan Friedman

Ryan Friedman, a member of Investec's Global Investment Strategy Group (GISG), is driven to succeed, but his definition of success is not what many would expect it to be. For him, it’s not all about money. Rather, it stems from healthy relationships, with family, colleagues and other people, as well as maintaining balance through a healthy lifestyle.


Of these, he argues, family is the most important. “It’s your acid test as an individual.” Get this and other areas of your life right and you can ensure longevity and long-term success as a fund manager.


Ryan’s working day is principally spent doing due diligence on the managers that Investec Wealth & Investment invests in, as well as reading as much macro research as he can, in order to understand the investment landscape that shapes Investec’s investment decisions.


“I feel my job reflects the kind of person that I am. My motivation is to help people to achieve their retirement goals.”



Watch other films in the Inside Out of the Ordinary series


John Haynes, Investec Wealth & Investment


Annelise Peers, Investec


John Wyn Evans, Investec Wealth & Investment


Philip Shaw, Chief Economist, Investec UK


Prof Brian Kantor, Investec Wealth & Investment


Fani Titi, Joint CEO, Investec

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