Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

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

Capital & Counties. Iconic bricks and mortar should outlive Brexit, if you have the patience and liquidity to wait it out.

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

The lack of public transport infrastructure. Watching people walk to work on the side of the road for hours before daybreak to do manual labour, to just end up repeating the journey past nightfall on their return, is heartbreaking. Among the many issues that need resolving, this is a major cause of economic inefficiency and a general hindrance to the marginalised who are not able to conveniently access the social services that they so desperately need.

How much was your first pay cheque and what did you do with it?

From my temping days, it was depressingly minimal and pretty much paid for a textbook and spectacles and not much else. I saved up my pay cheques from my first formal job and went with my family for haj (pilgrimage) to Mecca — work hard, pay hard.

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

Everywhere I’ve travelled has been amazing (in good ways and not so good), but Romania was unexpectedly rich from a historical, cultural and medieval perspective. It was disappointing not to bump into a vampire in Transylvania, but everything else I experienced more than made up for it.

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

If it’s mine (so I don’t have to run around finding the owner and feeling good about doing the right thing), I can thank God, cash it in and go live a life training capoeira in a Brazilian favela and living as a guru on the beach, with my minions to do my bidding funded by all my dollar money-babies.

Do you own bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies? And why?

No. I don’t believe in owning anything that isn’t backed by physical assets or, at the very least, a genuine investment thesis that isn’t based on getting rich quick. Contrary to some beliefs out there, it is not Sharia compliant. That is my fatwah, and I am sticking to it.

What’s the worst investment you’ve made?

If I haven’t analysed it, I don’t buy it, and I learnt that from losing money on tips from traders, with Pinnacle at the peak being by far the most impoverishing.

What was your first job?

As a young Indian child, I helped out in the shop. While at varsity, I used to skip class to work for a temping agency as a part-time data-capturer and general admin assistant. It was sadly uninspiring but, along with a PAYE shock, it was an eye-opening first foray into corporate SA. My first official job was at a pension fund (including widows and orphans funds), so for better or worse, the concept of a fiduciary duty is ingrained in my soul.

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

Relationships. All kinds for good or bad, since that’s all that life is about at the end of the day. Unlike other assets, diversification is not an imperative here, as just one good person in your life can result in astonishing returns. Like stock picking, people picking is a specialised skill that I continue to refine.

On what occasion do you lie?

I tend to tell the truth on more occasions than it is appreciated. Most people handle a lie a lot better than they can handle the truth, especially in this industry.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My time. For me.

What is your most treasured possession?

Like a true cancerian, I am very territorial, and I treasure the people in my life. In terms of objects: blue glass from Herat, an 1837 edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, my Claddagh ring, my old teddy bear, Egyptian cotton sheets and my silicon spatulas. I have a kitchen utensil fetish, and of all my kitchen utensils, silicon spatulas are my most treasured.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I am trying to build up the strength and flexibility to become an accomplished capoerista. I would also dearly love to be a parkour traceuse, but capoeira with its axé (energy) is my passion.