BACKSTORY: Futuregrowth’s Andrew Canter
We question chief investment officer of Futuregrowth Asset Management Andrew Canter
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Alignment of interests avoids many headaches. Trust is the lubricant that allows all partnerships to function, but follow the dictum "Trust, but verify!"
What was your first job?
Market research, doing telephone surveys, door-to-door interviews and product placements — great training for talking to people.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Use the decision authority you are granted. It’s better to take some action than to take no action at all.
How would you fix Eskom?
Bring the monster under control: break it up to create divisional accountability; open competitive bidding for private clean-energy power producers; stop building coal-fired plants and let the old ones run down over time; migrate jobs over time from dirty power into newer, cleaner industries. I would also viciously sue every contractor that set foot on Medupi and Kusile, and investigate every contract signed between 2008 and 2019.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I bake a pretty good chocolate brownie; actively support the humane treatment of farmed animals; and collect Maneki Neko (Chinese lucky cats).
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m savouring Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina — an excellent, science-based guide to optimising your child’s development.
If you were president, what would you change tomorrow?
Racial tension has always been present in SA — but the first 15 years post-democracy were an era of rising opportunity, common cause, openness and harmony. The Zuma gang destroyed the vision of a Rainbow Nation. I’d work to reunify South Africans.
What has been your worst purchase?
Actually a sale: I took a short-sale position in bitcoin against my girlfriend in October 2017 at $5,650 — right before the run-up to nearly $20,000. Losing money isn’t pleasant, but being the butt of a bitcoin advocate’s jibes is equally painful.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
My 17-month-old son is a great joy. All things considered, I should have invested in children 10 years earlier.
What is the most overrated virtue?
In general one aspires to be accepting, patient, generous and understanding. But you can’t be a Buddhist when barbarians are knocking down the gates.
What would you go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
That I learnt to stop tolerating fools, to do the right thing despite challenges, and that you can live in accordance with your principles.