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13 Aug 2007

Hedge Fund Sponsors North Pole Swim

Investec announced today that British explorer and endurance swimmer, Lewis Gordon Pugh successfully completed the extraordinary challenge of being the first man to swim at the Geographic North Pole.

The 1km swim took 18 minutes and 50 seconds in freezing temperatures of minus 1.8º centigrade –the coldest waters a human has ever swum in – and was conducted in accordance with Channel Swimming Association Rules in just Speedo briefs, cap and goggles. It took place at 02.00 on July15th (it’s daylight all hours).

Pugh’s endeavour, sponsored by Investec and named The Investec North Pole Challenge, was made to visibly demonstrate the devastating impacts of climate change on our planet.

Lewis Gordon Pugh, nicknamed the Polar Bear, said: “I hope my swim will inspire world leaders to take climate change seriously. The decisions which they make over the next few years will determine the biodiversity of our world. I want my children, and their children, to know that polar bears are still living in the Arctic - these creatures are on the front line up here.

“I am obviously ecstatic to have succeeded but this swim is a triumph and a tragedy - a triumph that Icould swim in such ferocious conditions but a tragedy that it’s possible to swim at the North Pole.”He described the swim: “The water was absolutely black. I shook Jørgen Amundsen’s hand and then plunged into the sea. It was like jumping into a dark black hole. It was frightening. The pain was immediate and felt like my body was on fire. I was in excruciating pain from beginning to end and I nearly quit on a few occasions. It was without doubt the hardest swim of my life.

Hendrik du Toit, Chief Executive Officer of Investec Asset Management said, “We congratulate Lewis on this milestone achievement. We hope this world first today will inspire people to take the battle against climate change seriously. It would be wonderful if in 50 years time,an 87-year-old Lewis were once again able to walk, rather than swim at the North Pole.

Investec Asset Management is a specialist investment manager, the fund manages in excess of $60 billion on behalf of third party clients. Investec is based in the UK and Southern Africa with an international client base from the Americas, Europe, Asia the Middle East and Africa.