“SOMEBODY IS SITTING IN THE SHADE TODAY BECAUSE SOMEONE PLANTED A TREE A LONG TIME AGO.”
Armed with a post-graduate qualification in Economics, Christo started his career at the Reserve Bank of South Africa before joining the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Soon after finishing a master’s degree in business management he had the opportunity to join Sanlam Investments where he gained valuable experience traveling the world as a fund manager. As a senior portfolio manager, he managed various unit trusts, pension funds, and pooled in-house portfolios. A corporate restructuring within the ranks of the company in 2000 gave Christo the opportunity to reconsider new challenges. After twenty-two years in the financial services industry and driven by his belief to never have a boss again (and experience the bureaucracy of corporate life) he opted to become master of his own destiny.
During his career in corporate Christo was privileged to engage with many financial advisors and brokers. He soon realized that the competitive sales environment in many cases caused a conflict between the interest of the advisor and that of his client. The commission and sales driven culture of the brokerage industry in South-Africa never quite sat right with him.
While on four months sabbatical he assisted a financial advisor to re-structure his investment book in exchange for some financial advice training. During that time friends and family approached Christo for investment and financial advice. Their questions and concerns challenged him to use his experience and qualifications to craft a new type of business model that will focus on providing professional quality financial advice for a fee. This decision resulted in the establishment of Autus Private Clients (APC), a fee-based family wealth management company.
Doors opened for business in 2001 with no clients, no revenue and zero assets under management. APC soon developed in a financial services provider that employed well trained and qualified staff who focused on providing comprehensive financial planning. This process included tax planning and modeling, estate planning expertise, business succession and risk planning, disciplined investment management solutions, offshore services, with a commitment to excellent service. Within just eighteen years the Autus Group and associates assist more than 2000 clients to plan for a better future.
Christo recognizes the value of trust and commitment. Through word of mouth, Autus established long-term relationships with clients and their families. Clients became friends of the business and families extended their relationship with Autus through generations. These relationships were guided by respect and trust in each other and this way of thinking is part of the Autus history and culture. Autus employees, associates, clients and communities are regarded as part of the extended family.