What is your function at Northstar?
I am an equity analyst and work in the South African equities team. I am responsible for analysing various companies which are listed on the JSE. This involves writing up research reports on these businesses and building financial models on each. My reports play a critical role when our research committee decides whether our clients should be invested within a company or not. I am also a member of our research committee, which allows me to vote at the weekly research meetings. These meetings focus on companies to include or exclude from our Northstar Buy List.
When did your interest in financial markets start?
My interests in financial markets started late as I witnessed the subprime mortgage crisis and its contagion rip through world markets in 2008. I had been a student of economics before but the crisis and the prospect of micro and macroeconomic evidence leaving a breadcrumb trail of a real market event, was intoxicating to me.
What did you study and why?
I studied law and economics, law because I have always had a knack for languages and economics due to an innate desire to know how the world truly works. I have also completed the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and have been a keen scholar of Chinese, I can speak a little mandarin.
What do you think equips you to do this job properly?
I have an insatiable hunger for knowledge and desire to find the truth, this approach is well suited to being an equity analyst. My function is to unearth and package information for decision-making.
What do you love about investing?
It is the drive towards enlightenment and how information turned into knowledge allows for informed decision-making. Nothing beats the thrill of the market judging ones’ decisions by the passing of time.
What do you find the most challenging part of your role?
Being wrong! Companies are living entities that change and our investment thesis can prove incorrect as the direction of travel for a business deviates from what we imagined would occur. A common behavioural bias is to shift the investment case as a company’s story shifts – it is critical to fight this and to learn from errors, they are inevitable.
Why do you think clients will do well at Northstar?
All my investable wealth resides in Northstar funds and so too most of my family’s assets. I, as is the case with my colleagues, have a personal interest in the generation of long-term returns in our funds. We are totally aligned in this respect to our clients. Apart from that, we never stop thinking about generating returns – it keeps us alive in every respect!