My first introduction to the stock market was through my father, who told us the story of how Anton Rupert once visited our family farm in the Eastern Cape. Rupert was hoping to find investors for his start-up company, then known as Rembrandt.
The thought of this soon-to-be billionaire businessman humbly driving along dirt roads, trying to get stubborn farmers to invest in his fledgling tobacco company, is a story that's stuck with me till this day. That's why the first share I ever bought was Remgro (formerly Rembrandt)!
But to backtrack a little, to the very beginning of my investment journey… When I reached my 19th birthday, a friend at varsity told me about how he was going to retire early one day due to his share investing. I wasn't going to let him retire before me so I strolled down to the nearest stockbroking office in Stellenbosch and FICA'd my account.
After my Remgro purchase, my next buy was Brait. I stumbled upon this company completely by chance through an article in Finweek. I learnt that they owned Pepkor, aka PEP stores, and it was run by Christo Wiese. What I did next is a strategy that I still stick to – I found out everything that I could about Christo Wiese and, based on his past success, I was sold.
I got into Brait shares at R28 and was quite happy with its growth, as it rose to R35 in no time. Then the following year I wanted to go on holiday so I sold it at around R31. If I hadn't had a great holiday I would've regretted that decision big time, as the share price then soared up to R80 in three years! I learnt my lesson: Work first and go on holiday later..
My investment strategy has given me a degree of comfort as I realize I'm not simply gambling with my money. I make informed decisions by researching key people within the company, from management to stakeholders, and I also learn about the company's own investments. By investing in reliable business leaders, I make the smartest investments possible.