ANALYSE THIS: Investec Life’s Nicola Rowbotham
We analyse Nicola Rowbotham, head of technology and operations at Investec Life
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
As a reformed accountant, there are certain habits that I haven’t let go of. A diversified portfolio is one of them. I’d rather use the R100m and take a leaf out of Tim Ferriss’s book and "angel invest" in 10 innovative, up-and-coming start-ups. Creating local jobs and backing entrepreneurs is something I am passionate about.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Speed reading — to get through the pile of books next to my bed that I still intend to read.
What was your first job?
Working with my mom on the Durban July events for Rothmans. A week’s worth of events, co-ordinating 60 friends as the barmen and waiters, and getting involved in everything from décor to managing the food and bar service. My first formal job was as a trainee accountant at Grant Thornton in Durban.
What’s the best investment that you’ve ever made?
The time invested in my Gibs MBA. It was funded by my employer at the time, but the time invested created networks, created perspective and ignited a curiosity about the world and being a global citizen.
If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won $100m, what would you do with it?
Share it. Fund the education of those less fortunate in disadvantaged communities. Invest in The Lunchbox Fund to ensure school children in townships have access to nutrition to fuel their learning and growth. And then I’d book a ticket to TED 2019 to invest in my education.
What’s your favourite song?
Mr Jones by Counting Crows.
On what occasion do you lie?
When someone asks who ate the last slice of carrot cake.
What was your most recent purchase?
A Kindle book. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
How much was your first pay cheque, and what did you do with it?
About R5,000 as a trainee accountant. I bought a pair of gorgeous heels and went for cocktails with friends.
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
Not starting to save sooner in my early 20s.
Do you own bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies? And why?
No. Tulip bulbs. The hype does not feel sustainable.
Name a place you’ve been to that lives up to the hype.
If you could fix one thing in SA today, what would it be?
Create growth that is inclusive — economic growth that is distributed fairly across society and creates opportunities for all.
What is your most treasured possession?