Imtiaz Suliman. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Imtiaz Suliman. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

We analyse Imtiaz Suliman, portfolio manager and executive director of Sentio Capital Management.

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

Amazon. It’s effectively a retailer with unlimited shelf space. Globally e-commerce makes up only 7% of retail sales. Amazon is the everything store that uses clever data analytics to sell almost every imaginable product through multiple platforms.

Which talent would you most like to possess?

Talent is the product of the work that we put into developing a specific skill. We might be naturally inclined to certain things, but success is an outcome of sheer hard work. One skill that I am working on and would like to fast-track is the ability to speed read. There are so many books I need to get through!

What was your first job?

My first paid job was to paint my uncle’s farm house. Fortunately it was a rustic environment where imperfections were easily disguised. My first formal job was as actuarial specialist at Momentum.

What’s your biggest regret?

Hindsight is a perfect science, especially when it comes to investing. One example of that would be that if one had invested R100,000 in PSG in 1994 it would be worth a staggering R126m today, and that’s excluding any dividends.

What was the worst investment mistake you have made?

My first foray into investing started while I was still at school. One of the basic mistakes I made was to have a very leveraged portfolio made up of warrants that cost me dearly in periods of high volatility.

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

To start saving from early on. Time in the market as opposed to timing the markets is of vital importance. The eighth wonder of the world, Warren Buffett said, is the value of compounding.

Apple or Samsung?

Most definitely Apple. I like the simplicity of use as well as the pleasing aesthetics of its products.

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

The odds of winning the lottery in which one picks six numbers from a possible 49 is 13,983,816. Can you imagine what the chances are of actually finding a lost winning lottery ticket!

What’s your favourite song?

“Water Under the Bridge” by Adele.

On what occasions do you lie?

To quote Mark Twain: “Tell the truth from day one and you will never have to remember a thing.” I’d rather fill my brain with learning new things than remembering a lie.

Your greatest extravagance?

My car. With technology I can easily track how much I drive it. Putting the actual number to it was revealing — I use it for only 4% of the day.

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

Mecca. It’s a place that never sleeps and has an electrifying energy.

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

The education system, without a doubt. The ultimate definition of freedom is people earning their own livelihoods. It’s unfortunate that we have such a high unemployment rate given the underlying potential.

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