Sean Mackay and Brenda Barry were part of the CBS Property Group team, established in Cape Town in 1994 as an asset and property management business, building the portfolio into high-quality investment properties over time.

With a geographic focus on the Western Cape, and an acquisition and management strategy focused on quality and growth, the CBS portfolio was characterised by desirable properties with established tenants delivering a consistently growing income stream.

In 2003, CBS approached Barnard Jacobs Mellet Private Client Services in order to establish a secondary market for its shares via the BJMPCS Over-The-Counter platform.  This mutually beneficial relationship, led to the 2005 listing of CBS on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with an asset value of R 1billion, with BJM Corporate Finance and Investec acting as joint listing sponsors.  As part of the listing CBS sought investment at R6.75 per linked unit.  This placement was 7 times oversubscribed, and CBS shares gained 12% on the first day of trade.  The success of the launch was attributed to market timing, the quality of the portfolio and the reputation of the management team.

CBS took advantage of the favourable market conditions and, by mid-2007, the asset value had reached R2.4 billion.  CBS employed a team of 80 staff members, with the head office in Cape Town and regional offices in Durban and Johannesburg.

As at 31 July 2007 CBS shares were trading at a premium of 43.2% (clean price to NAV) when the market-cap weighted index was at 40.50%, and employed gearing of 28.0% (the market-cap weighted index at the time was 29.0%).  YTD stock performance to same date was 38.60%, compared to the PLS Index performance of 19.89%.  The high quality of CBS’s predominantly office and retail portfolio attracted a bid for the company by the Government Employees’ Pension Fund in Q3 2007.   CBS’s shareholders accepted the bid and, in so doing, realised a total return of 101% over a period of 20 months.

Following the acquisition of CBS by the GEPF, and the purchasing of another R8billion worth of prime retail and office property from Zenprop, the asset management team resigned from a R10billion fund in December 2007 having fulfilled the mandate to create the largest unlisted property fund in South Africa.

Sean Mackay, together with other Cornerstone executives, then went on to establish British Capital, a Guernsey-domiciled, BHX-listed company investing in UK commercial property.  British Capital is a joint venture with a wholly-owned subsidiary of FirstRand Limited, licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and makes use of a SARB-approved asset-swap facility.  Investec Capital Markets act as Corporate and Listing Advisors to the Company.  It is a closed-ended structure with an initial investment term of five years (with an option to extend for a further two years) targeting an IRR in excess of 10% p.a. in Sterling.  Cornerstone Asset Manager’s continue to manage this investment.

After two listings Sean then teamed up with Brenda again to establish Colam Property Group, a privately owned property portfolio of commercial, retail and industrial properties.