Prof Adrian Saville

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Professor Adrian Saville
Prof Adrian Saville
Profile

In 1994, while completing his doctorate in economics, Adrian formed an investment vehicle which became the forerunner to Cannon Asset Managers. With a professorship in economics, Adrian could combine the two complementary activities of academia and investment management. As he says: "these disciplines feed and fuel each other richly and powerfully". Today Adrian serves as the Chief Executive of Cannon Asset Managers, having founded the firm in 1998.

Adrian has experience in managing all of the major asset classes, and he has successfully combined teaching and investments over the years, having lectured at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Pretoria. He has also taught classes at the Bentley School of Business, Estonian Business School, Kelley School of Business, London Business School and Rotterdam School of Management. Currently, he holds a Professorship in Economics, Finance and Strategy at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Adrian has received the coveted Excellence in Teaching Award at GIBS each year since 2007. In 2012 Adrian was nominated for the Economist Intelligence Unit's Business Professor of the Year Award.

Adrian's successful career has encompassed consulting widely to government and the corporate world. An area of focus in his work is the competitiveness of companies, industries and countries which leads to an enquiry into what enables businesses and investors to succeed in an increasingly dynamic - and oftentimes harsh - global environment.

Responsibilities

Full-time faculty

Published Research

 

Journal articles



Saville, A., & White, L. (2016). Bringing Pankaj Ghemawat to Africa: Measuring African economic integration. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 19(1), 82-102.

     
A wealth of literature dealing with trade liberalisation, capital market liberalisation, labour mobility and related issues concerning globalisation asserts that economies that are more integrated with the global economy and, more specifically with their neighbours, tend to enjoy higher sustained levels of growth. Empirical evidence with solid quantitative findings recently conducted by Pankaj Ghemawat has confirmed that more 'open and connected' economies display higher rates of economic growth, higher per capita income levels and greater levels of human welfare. Against this backdrop, it is notable that the available evidence - whilst incomplete - suggests that African economies are amongst the least integrated in the world. Given that integration and connectedness matter, and that there are material gaps in the evaluation of integration for African economies, it is important to develop better measures of African economies' connectedness with their neighbours and with the world, how this connectedness is evolving and establish more comprehensive and robust means of economic integration compared to those historically available. Using Ghemawat's framework, which measures flows of trade, capital, information and people (TCIP) to determine connectedness, we develop the Visa Africa integration index to provide a more comprehensive and detailed gauge of economic integration for 11 African countries in three clusters: East Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa. The index results suggest that African economies are emerging off a modest base, with some economies demonstrating progressive structural improvements toward higher levels of integration with their respective regions and the world. East Africa, in particular, shows signs of rising connectedness over the survey period. The index also illustrates that some countries are more integrated globally than regionally and vice versa, which is important information for policy makers toward improving deeper and broader integration in their respective regions. The index builds on previous research in the broad area of integration and helps us better understand the challenges and opportunities presented by Africa's economic changes and some of the implications for economic growth
 



Saville, A. D., & White, L. (2015). Ensuring that Africa keeps rising: The economic integration imperative. South African Journal of International Affairs, 22(1), 1-21.

Cyclical factors and the commodities boom have played a big part in Africa's impressive growth record since 2000. Yet the ‘Africa rising’ narrative is increasingly supported by significant macroeconomic reforms and structural changes that bode well for sustained levels of growth and development. A critical determinant of whether this positive growth trend continues will be the extent of Africa's economic integration with the rest of the world and within the continent. The TCIP framework – tracking the flow of trade, capital, information and people – developed by Pankaj Ghemawat demonstrates how economic openness and integration facilitate economic growth and socio-economic advancement. However, poor levels of integration, a lack of understanding and the data deficit that measure these flows have left Africa out of these empirical studies. In this article, data from traditional sources together with the TCIP framework provide insights into the state, nature and contribution of these flows in Africa. In addition, a look at proprietary data from Visa further elucidates the changes and opportunities presented by Africa's economic integration.

 

Kohler, M., & Saville, A. (2011). Measuring the impact of trade finance on country trade flows: A South African perspective. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences,14(4), 466-478.


Trade finance (or short-term credit) plays a crucial role in facilitating international trade yet is particularly vulnerable to financial crises as banks increase the pricing on all trade finance transactions to cover increased funding costs and higher credit risks. Whereas South Africa’s financial institutions largely managed to strengthen their capital positions during the global financial crisis, the country’s trade flows and access to capital (in particular trade finance and its costs) were hard hit by the crisis. Little is known about the extent of shortages or ‘gaps’ in trade finance and the impact of this on South Africa’s recent trade performance. Whilst our research recognises that access to trade finance is not the main cause of South Africa’s trade contraction, our research suggests that all else equal, a one percentage point increase in the interbank lending rate of our trade partner could reduce exports by approximately ten per cent.
 

Saville, A. D. (2009). Using an inflation-augmented price-earnings ratio to guide tactical asset allocation. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 12(1), 211-227.


Asset allocation plays a central role in determining investment outcomes, and av​ailable evidence shows that portfolio results can be enhanced through tactical asset allocation if managers use the simple price-earnings ratio as a predictor of equity returns. Recently, some international evidence has emerged which shows that, by augmenting the price-earnings metric with information about consumer price inflation, further enhancements can be achieved in tactical asset allocation. This study reviews these arguments as they apply to South Africa, and finds that an inflation-augmented price-earnings ratio is more successful in forecasting equity returns than is the simple price-earnings ratio. Moreover, the metric is found to be significant in explaining relative asset class returns. On a risk-adjusted basis, however, the tool fails to improve the portfolio results when compared to a buy-and-hold strategy.


 

Saville, A.(2006). Using Benfords Law to detect data error and fraud: an examination of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 9(3), 341-354.


Accounting numbers generally obey a mathematical law called Benfords Law, and this outcome is so unexpected that manipulators of information generally fail to observe the law. Armed with this knowledge, it becomes possible to detect the occurrence of accounting data that are presented fraudulently. However, the law also allows for the possibility of detecting instances where data are presented containing errors. Given this backdrop, this paper uses data drawn from companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to test the hypothesis that Benfords Law can be used to identify false or fraudulent reporting of accounting data. The results support the argument that Benfords Law can be used effectively to detect accounting error and fraud. Accordingly, the findings are of particular relevance to auditors, shareholders, financial analysts, investment managers, private investors and other users of publicly reported accounting data, such as the revenue services.


 

Saville, A. D., Spindler, Z., & Bader. M. (2005). Alternative monetary systems and the quest for stability: Can a free banking system deliver in South Africa? South African Journal of Economics, 73(4), 674-693.


Since the early 1900s central banking has developed into the most widely adopted monetary regime by sovereign states. Yet, there is a broad raft of evidence which shows that central banking systems have been less successful in delivering macroeconomic stability than alternative monetary systems. The argument is pronounced in the case of emerging economies, a set of countries which includes South Africa. Against this backdrop, this paper reviews the case for central banking in South Africa. Our results lead us to explore various alternatives to central banking, including Dollarisation and monetary union. However, because these systems are not without their own vulnerabilities, we consider a third alternative regime, free banking. We argue that, despite being an almost completely forgotten system, free banking has the capacity to improve South Africa's monetary system and enhance the country's macroeconomic stability. 



Saville, A. D. (2004). Improving the usefulness of accounting data in financial analysis. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 7(3), 504-520.


Accounting practices are flawed. As a consequence, the accounting data generated by firms are generally open to interpretation, often misleading and sometimes patently false. Yet, financial analysts place tremendous confidence in accounting data when appraising investments and investment strategies. The implications of financial analysis based on questionable information are numerous, and range from inexact analysis to acute investment error. To rectify this situation, this paper identifies a set of simple, yet highly effective corrective measures, which have the capacity to move accounting practice into a realm wherein accounting starts to count what counts. The net result would be delivery of accounting data that more accurately reflect firms economic realities and, as such, are more useful in the task of financial analysis.


 


Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (2001). Measuring the impact of marine pollution on South Africas fisheries: An investigative framework. World Resource Review, 13(4).


 

Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (2001). A comment on the management of South Africa’s commercial fishing industry, 1940-1998. The South African Journal of Economic History, 16(1-2).


 

Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (1999). Environmental economics and cost benefit analysis: The choice of an appropriate discount rate. Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 1(2).


 

Saville, A. D., &  Lumby, A. B. (1996). The discounting debate: Accounting for the future in the past and the present. South African Journal of Economics, 64(4).


 

Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (1995). The impact of multinational corporations on the South African economy: The building, construction and engineering industries. South African Journal of Economics, 63(2).


 

 

Book chapters

 

Lumby, A. B., & Saville, A. D. (2004). Distance learning: The experience of accounting at the University of Natal (Durban), South Africa. In R. Ottewill, L. Borredon, L. Falque, B. Macfarlane, A. Wall (Eds.), Educational Innovation in Economics and Business VIII, Dordrecht, Kluwer, pp. 273-287.


 

Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (1994). The impact of multinational corporations on South African industry: A case-atudy of the building, construction and engineering sectors. In W. Le Roux (Ed.), Industrial Policy and Development in South Africa. Johannesburg: Industrial Development Corporation.


 

 

Saville, A. D., Dias, R., & Kohler, M. R. A. (2003). Economic principles, issues and policy. Graduate School of Business, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D., & Gibson, K. L. (2003). Implied efficiency in the South African listed warrants market: A Comparison between Black-Scholes and Roll-Geske-Whaley price estimates. Discussion Paper Series: DP-32, School of Economics and Management, University of Natal (Durban).


 

Saville, A. D., & Gibson, K. L. (2002). An examination of picing efficiency in the South African listed warrants market: The case of commodity warrants. Discussion Paper Series: DP-23, School of Economics and Management, University of Natal (Durban).


 

Saville, A. D. (1998). The potential for the use of market-based instruments in the regulation of South Africa’s commercial fisheries. Occasional Paper No. 2, Department of Economics, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D. (1998). Assessing the economic impact of industrial pollution on South Africa’s marine fisheries. Working Paper: Environmental Economics Network of Eastern and Southern Africa: Nairobi, Kenya.


 

Saville, A. D., & Hesketh, J. (1997). Driving with the brakes on: Macroeconomic policy for growth, employment and redistribution in South Africa (1996-2000). Economics and Management Extended Curriculum, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D., & Lumby, A. B. (1996). Dynamic efficiency: A reassessment of the conventional discounting approach to public project appraisal. Occasional Paper, Economic Research Unit, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D., & Hesketh, J. (1996). Getting into gear: macroeconomic policy for growth, employment and redistribution in South Africa (1996-2000). Economics and Management Extended Curriculum, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D., Hesketh, J., & Ngubane, J. (1995). The reconstruction and development programme: Resource Book. Economics and Management Extended Curriculum, University of Natal: Durban.


 

Maasdorp, G. G., & Saville, A. D. (1994). The SADC economies - Waiting for South Africa. Occasional Paper No. 2, South African Institute of International Affairs: Pretoria. Saville, A. D. (1994). The forestry sector in KwaZulu-Natal. Data Research Africa: Durban.


 

Saville, A. D., Spencer, G., & Hesketh, J. (1994). The reconstruction and development programme: Resource Book. Economics and Management Extended Curriculum, University of Natal: Durban.


Case studies


Goh, J., Saville, A., & Scheepers, C.  (2016). Preserving the delicate balance to manage a thriving business in South Africa: The adventure of OneLogix. Emerald Emerging Markets case series. 

 

 

Editorial contributions

 

Benfield, B. (Forthcoming) Life insurance company management: A universal primer. Primary Life Asset Administration: Johannesburg.


 

Benfield, B. (2004). Life insurance company management: A universal primer. Primary Life Asset Administration: Johannesburg.


 

Armitage, P. (2003). Africam: The show must go on. Ripple Effect: Johannesburg.


 

Emerick, N. (2003). The real digital divide: Convergence and South Africa’s telecommunications and broadcasting policy. Free Market Foundation Monograph, 36:1-52.


 

Spindler, Z. A. (2004). The deconstruction of privatisation: A wake up call for South Africa. Free Market Foundation Monograph, 37:1-38.


 

Loots, E. (2004). Globalisation and economic growth: Evidence from emerging market economies and South Africa. Free Market Foundation Monograph, 38:1-32.


 

Harris, G. (2004). Military expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa: Why guns cost more than butter. Free Market Foundation Monograph, 39:1-34.


 

Adrian is responsible for the production of occasional in-house research notes, over the past decade these notes number greater than 50; a full list of these notes is available on request.


 

 

Media and editorial contributions

 

Adrian contributes regularly to business shows on radio and TV, including Classic Business, MoneyWeb, 702 Talk Radio, CNBC Africa, Business Day Television, e-tv and SABC3 Business. Adrian has also written articles for various financial publications.


 

Other

Saville, A. D., & White, L. (2013). Connecting Africa: Visa Africa Integration Index. Summary paper published by Visa Sub-Saharan Africa: Johannesburg.

Saville, A. D., & White, L. (2013). Realising potential: African economic integration. Foundation paper published by Visa Sub-Saharan Africa: Johannesburg.


 

Saville, A. D. (2003) Foreword in Economic Freedom of the World: 2003 Annual Report. The Free Market Foundation: Sandton, Johannesburg.

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Consulting Involvement

Consulting economist, Visa Southern Africa

Significant Achievements
  • Economics Society of South Africa’s Founders Medal
  • UNESCO laureate
  • Matriculant, Linacre College (Oxford)
  • Excellence in Teaching Award at GIBS: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012
  • Economist intelligence Unit’s Business Professor of the Year Award (2012/13): Long list
  • Central and East European Management Development Association Award in Teaching Excellence
  • Central and East European Management Development Association Award in Business Case Writing in an Emerging Market Setting
Contact Details
Qualifications
  • BA (Hons) (cum laude)
  • MCom (cum laude) (UKZN)
  • PhD (Economics) (UKZN)
  • Various programmes in value investing and competitive strategy, New York’s Columbia University and Harvard Business School in Boston
Fields of Interest
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Strategy
Professional Memberships
  • Economic Society of South Africa
  • Economic History Society of Southern Africa
  • American Association of Individual Investors
  • Investment Analysts Society
  • The Shareholders’ Association of South Africa
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners​
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