We analyse Gary Poultney, senior portfolio manager at Sasfin Wealth.
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
Alphabet — it has an established track record, boasts the world’s leading search engine and is arguably the most valuable database to tap into of any listed entity. Alphabet has what I term "a competitive advantage in information".
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play the piano. I always admire those with a creative edge. My father was an architect — we used to drive around the suburbs and he would say: "I designed this house; I designed that house." How someone was able to shape a vision into a reality left an indelible mark on me.
What was your first job?
I was an unauthorised clerk on the JSE trading floor as far back as 1975. Things were very different back then. Not only were there telex machines, but you would need to count share certificates manually each Friday afternoon to ensure that you balanced what was called the float position with the computer records.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not investing from the moment I started working.
Your worst investment mistake?
To quote Frank Sinatra in "My Way": "Regrets, I’ve had a few". Number one: buying a house for which I had to take out a bond when interest rates were high (they eventually reached 22%). Number two: passing on Curro, thinking its model was unsustainable (I have been proven wrong several times over). Number three: not buying enough Naspers shares.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
Naspers — great company, excellent management.
Apple or Samsung?
Apple — I love the Apple "story" and in particular the company’s recovery in the late 1990s.
If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won US$100m, what would you do?
Hand it in at the US consulate.
What’s your favourite song?
"Us and Them", by Pink Floyd.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Fine clothing — I own way too many jerseys and ties.
Name a place you’ve been to that lived up to the hype.
London. I was in transit en route to Turkey many years ago and was simply astounded by the gravitas, heritage and preciseness of the city and its timeless monuments.
On what occasions do you lie?
When I am asked about finding lottery tickets ...