Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Banking. Picture: Supplied
Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Banking. Picture: Supplied

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Do your homework, be well prepared and look at the transaction/facts unemotionally.

What was your first job?

As a jewellery store assistant, a holiday job to boost my pocket money. These first job experiences often teach us valuable personal and business lessons. My first full-time job was as a "tax assessor" at the SA Revenue Service.

How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?

R1,950 after deductions. It was difficult making ends meet — I still recall the trade-offs I had to make. I quickly learnt not to "spend more than what I earn" and to build emergency savings.

What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?

In any change process, do not focus on the negative and what you are going to lose, instead focus on what you can and are going to gain. From an investing perspective, keep on investing, especially when others are retreating.

If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?

I would ensure functional and quality-based education for all. Without education as a strong foundation, we will not be able to match skills with future job market requirements. It’s an important catalyst and component to solving our unemployment crisis.

Worst investment mistake you’ve made?

A buy-to-let residential property. I hadn’t properly considered the various "friction costs" at the time: monthly agent fees, fluctuating interest rates, levies, municipal charges, taxes and dealing with tenants and vacancies. My net yield after more than 10 years was negative to marginal, at best.

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

It’s important for "investment" to be seen as more than just financial. But from a financial perspective the investment that yielded the best returns with the least amount of risk and input was my share portfolio. Time in the market, not selling shares and re-investing the dividends ...

Hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

One of the lessons that stands out for me would be "to not fly solo". Sharing your challenges, testing, and bouncing ideas, discussing decisions with friends and colleagues, is important. Two people will make a better decision than one.

If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?

I would be more deliberate in ensuring qualified, experienced people are put in key portfolios. These portfolios need to have clear and well-articulated short-, medium-and long-term deliverables.

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