ANALYSE THIS: Nadim Mohamed
We analyse investment analyst and partner at First Avenue Investment Management Nadim Mohamed
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
Microsoft. CEO Satya Nadella has done extremely well to reposition the business to become a leader in the cloud services market.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Speed reading. There never seems to be enough time to get through the mountain of books I’d like to read.
What was your first job?
I was an engineer in training in Siemens’s telecommunications division. At the time, I had no idea I’d later change to investment management as a career.
If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life?
I would like to have travelled more, as I believe it is the best way to expand one’s horizons and understanding of the world. Perhaps I would also have bought Naspers shares when the company’s stock price fell below R15 during the dot-com bubble.
What’s the best investment you’ve made?
Investing in Phuthuma Nathi shares in 2006. The value of these shares has gone up nine-fold in just 12 years. Their dividend is now R19.26/share, which is almost double the subscription price of R10. This shows the power of compounding if you hold an investment for a long duration.
If you could fix only one thing in SA today, what would it be?
I would implement the conditions to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive in the economy. These enterprises are the most effective way to address job creation and poverty alleviation in our country.
What’s your favourite song?
Bob Marley’s "No Woman, No Cry".
What is your most treasured possession?
A Berkshire Hathaway branded watch. This is a reminder of the company’s 50th anniversary shareholder meeting, which I was extremely fortunate to have attended.
On what occasion do you lie?
When my wife asks me: "Who ate all the dark chocolate from the snack cupboard?"
What is your greatest extravagance?
I enjoy technology and, as a result, tend to over-spec my laptop and other devices.
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
I once made an investment in a racy stock called Profurn, which lost more than 90% of its value in 2001. Interestingly, many of its assets are now part of the Steinhoff group, which has suffered a similar fall from grace more than a decade later.
How much was your first pay cheque and what did you do with it?
It was R7,900. I used some of the money to upgrade my cellphone and invested the remainder in a stock portfolio.
Do you own bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies? And why?
No. The swift rise of bitcoin’s exchange rate bears many of the characteristics of a bubble. However, I believe this is not reflective of bitcoin’s true utility as a mechanism for payments and transfers. Limitations in scaling up its blockchain network severely restrict its potential to gain acceptance as a global currency.
Name a place you’ve been to that lived up to the hype.
A quaint, historic city in Tuscany called Siena. Its rich history, architecture and culture make for a unique experience. Walking through its intriguing back streets was like being transported back to the 17th century.