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Danesh Ranchhod. Picture: Supplied
Danesh Ranchhod. Picture: Supplied

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

Spend time considering what could go wrong, and understand the downside risk in a range of scenarios.

What was your first job?

I was a casual waiter in an Asian restaurant while still at high school.

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

In formal employment after university I was paid R7,500 a month. I made monthly contributions to my parents as rent while I still lived at home. I don’t recall buying anything special with the balance other than more formal wear for work.

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

That it is  OK to make mistakes, but when you do, make sure you own up to them. It builds strength of character and credibility over time.

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

The unemployment crisis. I am aware that this is a magic-bullet answer, as the crisis is a symptom of other structural issues facing the country.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

I am a minimalist in many aspects of my life, and I find that liberating. I don’t advertise it, though.

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

Not reading enough from an early age. As for a financial/hard-asset investment mistake, it was buying and selling the same property within a few months for personal reasons. It led to high friction costs.

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

I bought shares in Phuthuma Nathi (a MultiChoice broad-based BEE entity) after its over-the-counter listing. I think there is always some luck in any investment; however, the shares traded at such exceptional value that it made the investment too attractive to ignore.

What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Always remain humble — often your success is partly a function of some luck or privilege that you don’t directly acknowledge.

What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?

That life is less about having all the answers and more about the process of getting to them.

Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And if so, what would that career be?

For the longest time while at school I wanted to become a doctor. But I later got interested in the stock market after my dad told me about his experience during the 1987 market crash (also known as Black Monday).


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