Johan Marnewick. Picture: Supplied
Johan Marnewick. Picture: Supplied

What’s the wisest thing you could tell your 20-year-old self that you didn’t know when you started out?

That living a full life and saving aren’t mutually exclusive. And that it is important to do both.

What was your first job? And can you remember how much you were paid?

During my law studies I was a judge’s registrar at the then Supreme Court of SA, in the Witwatersrand division. I earned R2,750 a month. As I was a student, most of the income went towards necessities — but I had a small debit order put in place towards a retirement annuity.

Whom do you admire in the investment community, and why?

George Soros — both for his achievements as a hedge fund manager, philanthropist and his open world views and despite the criticism he elicits from time to time.

What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?

Buying an expensive car. Before you get used to the new car smell, you have already lost significant value.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?

A captivating Jake Aikman (SA-based artist) painting which I bought in 2017 and has increased more than 10 times in value since. I am an alternatives fund manager after all.

Big Tech or old-fashioned industrial stalwarts?

For our debt investments, we need to see the cash flows. So whichever can produce strong cash flows will trump the other.

How do you control your emotions in the market when all you want to do is trade but know you shouldn’t?

I always defer to my original investment thesis to test whether it still holds true.

How much of a portfolio should be for wildcard selections?

Zero.

SA or offshore?

In the context of a global portfolio, I remain focused on investing in SA and the African continent, where I find our investments make a bigger difference, justifying the higher returns on a rand-for-rand basis.

Would you buy your primary home or rent?

Buy. You have to own at least one.

If you weren’t a fund manager/analyst, what would your dream job be?

I would definitely be an advocate for human rights. However, investing in alternatives comes very close.

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