‘There were clear warning signs at Steinhoff. All of which fund managers missed’

Magdalena Wierzycka. Picture: @Magda_Wierzycka/Twitter

The implosion of Steinhoff is the largest corporate scandal South Africa has ever seen, says Sygnia Group CEO Magda Wierzycka.

Allegations of earnings manipulations, uncontrolled acquisition sprees and tax fraud are just the tip of the iceberg. Off-balance sheet companies were set up to hide losses, executives collaborated with each other to defraud investors, and debt was taken on at a massive pace.

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

She says there were clear warning signs, all of which active fund managers missed, or chose to miss.

Blind faith in the Midas touch of Christo Wiese made many oblivious to the obvious.

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Wierzycka.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).

This gives us the opening to start questioning active managers and the research they do for the fees they charge.

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

It took me exactly half an hour… to figure out that things are very seriously wrong with this company… please explain to me how active managers did not pick up this massive fraud…

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

Certainly there has been tax avoidance… and accounting fraud…

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

The fact that German authorities are investigating fraud – and they’re calling it fraud – suggests this goes further than ‘creative accounting’…

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

I don’t believe for a second that Markus Jooste acted in isolation.

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

Most of the large asset management companies - Allan Gray, Coronation, Investec, Prudential, Foord - all of them have exposure to Steinhoff… How did they not perform this oversight function on behalf of investors? How did they get caught in this trap?

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

There’s nowhere to hide from this one!

Magda Wierzycka, Sygnia Group

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