ANALYSE THIS: Imara’s Craig Bandason
We analyse Imara portfolio manager Craig Bandason
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
Which talent would you most like to have?
The art of storytelling. I believe that stories connect people. I’m an African, and a lot of our history is oral history, passed on from elder to elder. There are so many African stories I grew up hearing that I just don’t tell as well as my grandmother did. I wish I could, and possibly even write them down, because they aren’t available in bookshops. I think we would all enjoy them if they were shared with a wider audience.
What was your first job?
My first job was working in the back office of a broker in Zimbabwe. In order to become a research analyst, you had to start by working in the scrip department.
You had physical share certificates back then, you had to fill them in and capture the information into a computer.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
Equity Bank, Kenya. They are one of the most thoughtful management teams I have come across. They are disruptive and constantly thinking about how to create value and at the same time serve their customers better. They make money for investors but at the same time make East Africa a better place, providing quality services to the wider economy and offering convenience to customers who were underserved. Their returns on equity are consistently above the domestic cost of capital since we first invested in them.
What is your most treasured possession?
What’s your favourite song?
Current favourite is a song by an artist from back home (in Zimbabwe), Winky D, City Life.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I am asked my height. If the person is short, I bring it down to 1.9m; if the person is tall, I take it up to 2m. My true height is somewhere in between.
What was your last purchase?
Breakfast from Brownies & DownieS in Long Street, Cape Town. It does amazing work providing training for children and adults with learning difficulties. Its food is also really good — especially the brownies.
What is your greatest extravagance?
When my wife convinced me that there is a concept called a "babymoon" and that it was a vital and essential part of the pregnancy journey. Convinced of the merits of a babymoon we travelled to Venice, Capri and Rome. The experience made my wife very happy and my wallet very sad. When our second child came along, I didn’t fall for it and the opposite happened, wife was upset and wallet was happy. If I am blessed enough to have a third, I will certainly go the babymoon route. Happy wife and happy life!
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
I invested in a start-up gold mining project alongside a friend in Zimbabwe. We lost a lot of money, but I learnt so many valuable lessons that informed my decisions about personal investments. I think learning from mistakes and mistake elimination is a key part of any learning process, you learn a lot more about yourself/life/things from failures.
Do you own bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies? And why?
No, to be honest, I still don’t quite get what the underlying value is. I get why the technology of blockchain has relevance but not the cryptocurrencies themselves.
How much was your first pay cheque and what did you do with it?
My first pay cheque was a whopping $100 in Zimbabwe. I think the first thing I did with it was take my mother to lunch. That’s all I could afford really.