Our Ethos

Our Ethos

Our Code of Ethics at Aylett & Co is clearly stipulated and we apply the highest possible standards of correctness, legality and fairness. Our guiding principal is one of “rightness” – we invest when the terms are right, we conduct our processes and company affairs in the right manner and we stay on the side of what is right. In Aylett & Co speak “close to the line is out”!

Our cost ethos would be the envy of many other investment houses. We are relentless in keeping costs in check and find that this principle has a fascinating way of influencing professional behaviour, team mentality and investment discipline. Short cuts are not a clever way to save costs. Instead we are always looking at smarter and better ways of doing things for less. Rather like buying at a discount on the basis of clever research. Technology is a major contributor to doing business more cost effectively.

How We Think

How We Think and Operate

We buy businesses.

Shares are evaluated, not by a fluctuating ticker or a graph on a screen, but by what they represent, a certificate of ownership. We critically value each company much as an owner would evaluate his own business. We seek great businesses that are well run and managed, trading at a discount to their intrinsic value. In an industry driven by benchmarks and peer reviews, it demands conviction and tenacity to buy and hold out of favour companies which often require the benefit of time to reflect their true worth. We follow the adage that the return of an investment is determined not by the exit price but by the price one pays.

Stock pickers by nature, we look at companies rather than at the economy. We favour shares supported by a strong and sustainable business model, managed effectively and priced well.

We make these investment decisions across the globe, where our mandates allow this flexibility. Overlaid will be investment decisions regarding world currencies, bonds, equity sectors and country specific equity markets. Our joint objective is to preserve investor capital and to grow this over the long term. The client mandate informs the manner in which we invest and where this investment may occur.

What is it worth?

Our thinking is actioned by a robust and disciplined investment process. Deep thought and thorough analysis lies behind investment decisions taken at Aylett & Co. We read voraciously, debate freely and spontaneously and research ideas meticulously in our job as fund managers. We employ well designed systems that produce the data needed to feed into our decisions and research. A blend of proprietary and broker research is used, the combination of which is decided by a clear equity focus demanded locally due to the limited size of the JSE, relatively speaking, and critical globally, due conversely to the market enormity and scope of “the rest of the world”.

In simple terms the true worth of an investment rests in proper facts and sound financials, not in market sentiment.

We follow a set of rules.

Rule No.1: Never lose money.
Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.

– Warren Buffett

We include a margin of safety when making investments and are strong advocates of managing risk by not overpaying for an investment. We favour buying shares when they are trading at a discount of about 40% although this percentage may be adjusted up or down depending on the cash flow generative powers of the company.

We eat our own cooking.

Our interests are aligned with those of our investors who will be comforted to know that we ‘eat our own cooking’. Our personal and company wealth has been invested alongside that of investors in the retail unit trusts and hedge fund managed by Aylett & Co.

The Team

The Team

The team consists of individuals with impressive academic credentials. Intelligence, energy, integrity and a passion for investing are the special ingredients required to work at Aylett & Co.

Ours is a highly privileged environment – we work with people we really like, doing a job we love, entrusted with managing investor capital and for that we are entitled to participate in an incredibly generous reward structure. We invest our own assets in Aylett & Co. managed unit trusts. Out performance therefore rewards us in both our personal capacity and in our career capacity.

- Walter Aylett


Founding Fund Manager
CA (SA), B Compt Honours

Walter founded Aylett & Co. in mid-2005 and began managing assets soon thereafter. This followed his time at Coronation Fund Managers for whom he worked for 7 years, first as Head of Research and then as Portfolio Manager. He excelled at managing several of their key Pension Funds and achieved recognition in the retail markets with the success of the Optimum Growth Fund. Walter managed this worldwide flexible fund from its inception and earned a number of Raging Bull awards over the years.

Prior to that Walter had been at Syfrets Managed Assets for 4 years where he had the privilege of jointly managing the highly rated Prime Select Fund with well-respected Tim Allsop. Earlier experience in the London financial industry had established a career path for Walter which he has been following ever since. He is regarded as an independent thinker with an investment approach driven by strong conviction, and a clear set of principles and values.

Aylett & Co. has provided an environment for these characteristics to flourish. He has handpicked a team that supports and practices his investment ethos backed up by exceptional client focus and a robust operational infrastructure.


B.Sc Engineering (Mechanical) Wits

Dagon moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town to join Walter in setting up Aylett & Co. in 2005. His 3 years Operations and Systems experience at well-known financial advisory firm, Hewitson and Kontominas, was put to good use in designing systems, operational infrastructure and company practices for Aylett & Co. Since becoming a CFA charter holder, Dagon has moved into the role of investment analyst. His enquiring mind and research tenacity are ideal qualities on the team. Dagon was made a shareholder in Aylett & Co in 2009.


CA (SA), B.Acc (Stellenbosch)

After completing his Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting at UCT, Justin completed his articles and qualified as a Charted Accountant at Deloitte in Cape Town, specialising in financial services. After qualifying, Justin worked in the Hedge Fund audit industry in the United States. Justin joined the Aylett & Co. research team in 2010.


John 2
Business Assistant
B.Bus.Sci Hons (UCT)

John graduated from UCT with Honours in Finance in 2010. His fondness for numbers led him to tailor his degree with more Mathematics and Statistics than the degree requires.

He joined Aylett & Co in 2011 as a Fund Accountant. His affinity to technology led him to become the IT Administrator soon after joining the company. John’s interest in investments led him to enrol in the CFA program. He soon began assisting the investment team with research. In 2013, he passed the Level 3 exam.

After a sabbatical in 2015, John has returned to the team. He is now working with each department to improve internal processes.


Operations Manager
CA (SA), B.Compt (UNISA)

Having spent time working in various businesses, Kirsten saw the opportunities available through formal qualifications. Having had some working experience she decided to study business programming and then embarked on the route to being a CA.

After graduating from UNISA Kirsten joined Greenwoods Chartered Accountants where she finished her articles and qualified as a CA (SA).

Kirsten is currently managing the Aylett & Co operations team and is responsible for regulatory compliance.


Megan P
Business Assistant
Senior Paralegal Diploma (SASPS), Exercise Specialist Diploma (HFPA)

Megan completed her Senior Paralegal Diploma through The South African School of Paralegal Studies in 2015, where she achieved an overall distinction for the course.

She is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (NQF Level 7) through IIE Business School at Varsity College on a part-time basis. Megan is currently fulfilling the role of Business Assistant in which she manages the office and assists the team with day to day tasks.


Fund Accountant
B.Com Management Studies (UCT), Passed Level 1 CFA

David graduated from UCT with a B.Com majoring in Economics in 2014 and is currently studying part-time to complete his Honours degree in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management (UCT).

He passed level 1 CFA in December 2014 and worked for a management consulting firm for a few months after graduation. There he learnt fundamental management principles and company processes relating to multiple industries.

He joined the Aylett & Co team in September 2015 as a fund accountant and is focused on the administration of our client funds.

External Shareholders

External Shareholders

Aylett & Co. is independently owned and managed and has made a commitment to its staff to provide them with future shareholding opportunities. 2009 saw Dagon Sachs being welcomed into the ranks of owners of Aylett & Co.

In conjunction to staff shareholdings, Aylett & Co. is proud of the esteemed external individuals who have seen value in Walter’s vision right from the start and have taken minority stakes in the company.


Lady Mary Hatch is a first generation Irish woman. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin where she did an Arts Degree followed by a higher diploma in education.

She is a Director and Company Secretary of the Clancy Group plc which through Clancy Docwra Ltd, is one of the leading utility and construction companies in the United Kingdom, started by her father in the 1950’s.

Lady Hatch has been an external shareholder of Aylett & Co. Fund Managers since the company was founded in 2004. She owns a home in Cape Town and travels regularly to South Africa.

She was Chairman of the Irish Youth Foundation in England for 7 years and was instrumental in raising over £2 million for disadvantaged young Irish people in England. She remains on the Board as a Trustee. She is Chairman of the Women’s Irish Network. She was a Trustee and Chair of the Development Committee of the Tricycle Theatre in London for 12 years but resigned in April 2008. She has recently been appointed as an Ambassador for an employment charity, Tomorrow’s People.

In 2002 she was given the Irish Post Award for services to the community.

In 2004 she was awarded Irish Tatler International Woman of the Year.

Mary married in 1999. Her husband, Sir David Hatch, was knighted in 2004 for his services to the UK Parole Board. Sadly he died in June 2007.



Aylett & Co. is an independently owned and managed asset management boutique. Since inception, the company has followed a strategy of measured growth both in terms of attracting assets and talented individuals. This has led to a highly sustainable business and one which offers all staff the opportunity to participate in an incentive scheme. Our model suits the entrepreneurial minded individual who is drawn by the prospect of working in an asset management environment that offers long term rewards to those prepared to invest their intellectual capital, integrity and sustained commitment in the continued growth and success of the business.

To find out more about the careers available with Aylett & Co. please see below:

Current Vacancies

Job Title / Duties
Description Posted Date
Research Assistant We are seeking a newly qualified chartered accountant with a passion for investing and markets to assist senior analysts with all research related tasks.

Candidates should see the role as an opportunity to prove, without any doubt, that they have the attributes required to be a successful analyst.

Candidates should have top marks and a drive to be an analyst.

The position is for a 3-month contract, renewable if candidate proves to be capable.

The minimum requirements for the position is having completed your CA board exams. Applications from candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements will be disregarded.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your cover letter and CV.
29 May 2017