Ful­fil­ment and re­ward from a change of course

Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Ed­i­tor’s Note - MARC HASEN­FUSS email Marc on Hasen­fussM@times­me­dia.co.za

IT’S BEEN a time for come­backs — at least in my world. I have a made a re­turn to play­ing (semi) se­ri­ous ten­nis af­ter a break of more than 30 years, and have fi­nally made some money on re­source shares (more on this later), where I usu­ally wage a los­ing bat­tle.

I also find my­self back, rather un­ex­pect­edly, in an ed­i­tor’s chair.

There is a say­ing: “Be care­ful for what you ask for (it might just hap­pen)”.

About six years ago, frus­trated by edi­to­rial changes ini­ti­ated at my for­mer place of em­ploy­ment, I de­bated, with a num­ber of my col­leagues, the pos­si­bil­ity of putting to­gether a fi­nan­cial mag­a­zine fo­cused solely on in­vest­ments. Tak­ing over edit­ing du­ties at In­vestors

Monthly ful­fils those am­bi­tions, with­out, of course, the enor­mous fi­nan­cial risks and ar­du­ous ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den I would have in­curred. I can also say that a good num­ber of the con­trib­u­tors in this month’s is­sue, some of whom I have worked with for many years, would have been on my A-team list.

What I would re­ally like to ini­ti­ate at the mag­a­zine is an open di­a­logue with read­ers. We need to know what you want us to cover — whether it’s di­vin­ing the long-term po­ten­tial of an ob­scure small cap share, un­pack­ing the at­tributes of ex­change traded funds, in­ter­ro­gat­ing fund man­agers or kick­ing the tyres of in­vest­ment schemes. I would wel­come any in­vest­ment-re­lated cor­re­spon­dence at the e-mail ad­dress on this page.

In this edi­tion I’m sure read­ers will find plenty of value in prop­erty sec­tor ex­pert Joan Muller’s in­sight­ful assess­ment of why growth-hun­gry lo­cal real es­tate coun­ters are ad­vanc­ing on Eastern Europe from var­i­ous fronts. Per­son­ally I have taken so­lace in fi­nally scor­ing some de­cent up­side on the mini-rally in the re­source sec­tor in re­cent weeks. Fi­nan­cial Mail read­ers will know I have stuck, in the past few years, mostly to an ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive com­bi­na­tion of Reinet In­vest­ments mixed with off­shore prop­erty po­si­tions (Sten­prop, At­lantic Leaf and Rede­fine In­ter­na­tional). So it’s been heart­en­ing that a more ad­ven­tur­ous dal­liance has paid off — dou­bly so be­cause I seem to have over­come my well-known re­verse Mi­das touch (aka the Hasen­fuss Re­verse In­di­ca­tor, or HRI) that ap­plied to com­mod­ity in­vest­ing.

What I might have done right this time was to re­sist the temp­ta­tion to buy re­source shares di­rectly. In­stead, I went the more staid unit trust route, choos­ing the two biggest lag­gard funds, and then drib­bling-in dis­ci­plined monthly debit or­ders. My premise was that I could hedge my bet by ex­it­ing one of the funds once an ac­cept­able re­turn had been achieved. At this point, how­ever, I feel less in­clined to exit ei­ther fund — mainly be­cause I sense some in­trigu­ing cor­po­rate ac­tion could be on the cards. Other in­vestors might be fac­ing a sim­i­lar quandary, and per­haps In­vestors Monthly can look at pos­si­ble hus­tle and bus­tle among com­mod­ity play­ers soon.

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