David Nathanson

Financial Mail - - MONEY&INVESTING - Global eq­uity spe­cial­ist, Bell­wood Cap­i­tal

If some­one came to you to­mor­row with R100m to in­vest in just one com­pany, which would it be?

IGG Inc — a high-growth, high-yield­ing mo­bile gam­ing com­pany trad­ing at a low nine times earn­ings. In ad­di­tion to be­ing very prof­itable and cash gen­er­a­tive, it has a clean and sim­ple bal­ance sheet with no debt. This com­bi­na­tion of qual­ity and value is rare.

Which tal­ent would you most like to have?

To un­der­stand any lan­guage.

If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life?

I have no ma­jor re­grets. A bro­ken leg kept me out of sport for my first two years at high school — some­thing I was re­ally look­ing for­ward to at the time.

If you found a lot­tery ticket to­mor­row that had won $100m, what would you do with it?

I’d in­vest more, travel more and give more. Hope­fully I’d still be driven to achieve more — there is sat­is­fac­tion that comes from work­ing for some­thing in­stead of just re­ceiv­ing it.

What is your great­est ex­trav­a­gance?

I’m not par­tic­u­larly ex­trav­a­gant, but I en­joy ev­ery­day things like good food, cof­fee, Scotch, restau­rants and so on. Qual­ity over quan­tity, though I’ve been guilty of hav­ing both at times.

What’s the best in­vest­ment you’ve made?

In shares, prob­a­bly Netease in 2013, or Ap­ple in 2016. In my­self — dur­ing Bell­wood Cap­i­tal’s first years, I was very for­tu­nate to be in a po­si­tion where I could spend all my time think­ing about in­vest­ment from first prin­ci­ples, with­out the im­me­di­ate pres­sure of mak­ing money. Our first goal was to de­velop thought lead­er­ship and a worth­while in­vest­ment process, which would be more mar­ketable in time. I’ve prob­a­bly done my 10,000 hours in this field, which has given me a far bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of in­vest­ment than I could have achieved else­where.

What’s your favourite song?

The Bea­tles’ Hey Jude.

Do you own bit­coin or any other cryp­tocur­rency, and why?

No. I don’t be­lieve that any cur­rency, crypto in­cluded, can sus­tain­ably gen­er­ate wealth. It can only trans­fer ex­ist­ing wealth from one to an­other. The only reason I hold cur­rency is as a short-term store of value to fa­cil­i­tate real trans­ac­tions and in­vest­ments. I have no ex­pec­ta­tion that hold­ing any type of cur­rency will make me wealthy over time.

What is your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

I don’t own any­thing ir­re­place­able. I get the most out of my cof­fee ma­chine and my moun­tain bike.

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

A few months into my first job I “in­vested” in a war­rant that was short the mar­ket in 2009. There was no process, I just lis­tened to the pop­u­lar sto­ries at the time.

On what oc­ca­sion do you lie?

Ev­ery night when the couch. I go to bed. Some­times on

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