Jean Pierre Verster. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Jean Pierre Verster. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

We analyse Jean Pierre Verster, portfolio manager at Fairtree Capital.

If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?

Remgro.

Which talent would you most like to possess?

To be able to read minds and/or be a mentalist. I am always amazed at the power of suggestion.

What was your first job?

First paid job was as a TOPP trainee (chartered accountancy article clerk) at Standard Bank, but I was an unpaid radio DJ at Tuks FM before that.

What’s your biggest regret?

I don’t believe in having regrets — you can’t change the past, the best you can do is to learn from your own past and from the experiences (consequences of decisions) of others.

What was the worst investment mistake you have made?

Not closing gold mining shorts post-Nenegate.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?

Buying offshore-focused property companies in 2012, and the investment in myself — working hard every day and learning as much as I can, maximising every minute of my day.

Apple or Samsung (or Nokia)?

Samsung, but more broadly: open systems rather than closed systems.

If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won US$100m, what would you do?

Cash it in! It wouldn’t change my current life much — I would still do what I enjoy doing now: read, analyse, think, invest, travel and be sociable. I would just do more of it!

What’s your favourite song?

I have a soft spot for Muse’s “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”.

On what occasions do you lie?

I probably unconsciously lie to myself every time I make an investment decision where the facts tell a different story to the one I make up in my mind.

Your greatest extravagance?

Travelling business class for overseas trips.

Name a place you’ve been to that lived up to the hype.

Japan in springtime: the Sakura blossoms are beautiful, but be warned — it can be chilly.

If you could fix one thing in SA today, what would it be?

Root out corruption. One solution would be to follow the example set by Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore and make our political system a competence-based one rather than an allegiance-based one, with politicians being held strictly accountable for their actions.

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