We analyse Simon Brown: trader, investor and founder of Just One Lap.
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
It would be an exchange traded fund (ETF) and probably VOO, the lowest-cost ETF in the world tracking the S&P 500. It would give me instant global diversification.
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to speak and understand every language.
What was your first job?
At five years old, for 0.5c per month per house, I opened the farm gate whenever somebody hooted. Our house was right next to the gate and there were two other houses on the farm, so I was rocking 1.5c/month. I subcontracted the business to my sister the next year when I had to start school.
Your worst investment mistake?
Brainware. I invested R20,000 in its initial public offering in about 1996. Eventually, after changing its name to Selco and consolidating, it delisted. I got just over R50 in about 2013.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
Books — I own a library of about 4,000 and likely another 1,000 on Kindle.
Apple or Samsung? Samsung.
If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won US$100m, what would you do?
Return it to the rightful owner hoping for a finder’s fee.
What’s your favourite song?
Lately, MIA’s "Bad Girls" (it has an amazing video as well).
Name a place you’ve been to that lived up to the hype.
Locally, Durban is the best — especially in winter. Internationally, old-town Prague is just awesome.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Chocolate and coffee. I’m a snob with both.
On what occasions do you lie?
When gold bulls tell me how much they’ve invested in gold miners. I tell them they may yet make money.
If you could fix one thing in SA today, what would it be?
I’d get rid of the politicians — all of them.
What’s your biggest regret?
No regrets. Lots of mistakes, but without them I’d be nowhere.