ANALYSE THIS: Investec’s Unathi Loos
We analyse Unathi Loos, portfolio manager at Investec Asset Management
If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
If I were forced to pick only one stock, which is not advisable, I’d pick Amazon. It is proving to be a highly innovative company disrupting various industries. I also like its focus on maximising free cash flows, which distinguishes it from other growth companies.
What’s the wisest thing you could tell your 20-year-old self that you didn’t know when you started out?
It takes a long time to build a career; be patient.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could program. It seems this will be an indispensable skill in the future for analysis.
What was your first job? And can you remember how much you were paid?
My first proper job was as an occupational therapist and I earned R4,500 per month.
If you could fix one thing in SA today, what would it be and how would you start doing that?
Education. I think this is the most critical part of building a fair and equitable society and lifting generations out of poverty. I would start with reskilling teachers in lower-income schools, improving infrastructure at these schools to enable a positive learning environment, and building and promoting the adoption of well-resourced boarding schools for low-income areas so children can learn undisturbed.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
Not buying Capitec when I first joined the asset management industry. Its share price has appreciated fivefold since then.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made, and how much of it was due to luck?
Buying AngloGold two years ago. One can argue that there is always an element of luck when making investment decisions, but I think for sustainable outperformance you need more than luck— you need a robust process, a clear appreciation of risk and probabilities, and the courage of your convictions.
Big Tech or old-fashioned industrial stalwart?
Big Tech. There is no doubt that the fourth industrial revolution is well under way, and it brings with it many positives like longevity and social connectivity.
SA or offshore?
Both. There are great companies in SA which are positioned to grow earnings. Offshore investments give us the opportunity to access high-growth, technology-driven opportunities.
How much of a portfolio should be for the wildcard picks?
About 10%. You need to have some stocks in your portfolio where if you’re right, the upside is so significantly high that they are worth taking on a bit of short- term downside risk.
Art, wine, rare books or cars?
Rare books. I love reading.
Do you cycle?
No. I’ll only get on a bicycle if I absolutely have to — but I am more than happy to get on a stationary one at the gym! I love walking and hiking when on holiday but otherwise I run a bit to stay fit.
Would you buy or rent your primary home?
Buy. Buying a home forces you to build a capital base for the future.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Family holidays are my purest joy. I love travelling.
If you weren’t a portfolio manager, what would your dream job be?
I’d write books.