BACKSTORY: David Shapiro
We question David Shapiro, deputy chair of Sasfin Securities, on his top tip for doing a deal, his biggest regret and the one investment he wishes he’d made earlier
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Before you sign, go home, have a relaxing bath, a decent meal and a good sleep. If you wake up in the morning and still want to do the deal, then sign.
What was your first job?
In our school holidays my brother Harold and I used to work at the Jewish Helping Hand and Burial Society. My uncle Simon Jackson ran the show. We used to do the menial jobs, like posting statements and counting the shrouds in the stockroom.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
My first regular pay was as an articled clerk at Schwarz Fine Kane & Co in January 1969. It was R120. I went out and bought a tape deck.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That most of your working life would be spent filling out forms.
What have you most enjoyed about lockdown?
Wearing Birkenstocks and socks.
What is your biggest regret?
That I gave up playing the piano at school to play rugby. Crazy. At 100lbs [45kg] I was hardly destined for big things. I could have become a pop star.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I had two art exhibitions — I was a very well-known caricaturist. One was at the Goodman Gallery (around 1982), the other at Everard Read (around 1992).
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
That I had the courage to stand in front of a crowd and deliver a speech, let alone appear on TV. I was so shy as a youngster that my mother had to find me a date for my matric dance.
What has been your worst purchase?
A set of Grolier Encyclopaedias. Was subject to the hard sell when I first married. Cost me a fortune and I never used them.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Netflix. Was too sceptical about their sustainability. That’s just one of thousands of similar businesses that have whizzed past me in my long and hard struggle as a stockbroker.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
People who don’t use the F-word when they’re really, really angry.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would get rid of the entire cabinet, save Tito and Zweli Mkhize, and set up a government of national unity.
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