Craig Ban­da­son

Financial Mail - - MONEY&INVESTING MONEY&INVESTING - Port­fo­lio man­ager, Imara

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

Sa­fari­com.

Which tal­ent would you most like to have?

The art of sto­ry­telling. I be­lieve that sto­ries con­nect peo­ple. I’m an African, and a lot of our his­tory is oral his­tory, passed on from elder to elder. There are so many African sto­ries I grew up hear­ing that I just don’t tell as well as my grand­mother did. I wish I could, and pos­si­bly even write them down, be­cause they aren’t avail­able in book­shops. I think we would all en­joy them if they were shared with a wider au­di­ence.

What was your first job?

My first job was work­ing in the back of­fice of a bro­ker in Zim­babwe. In or­der to be­come a re­search an­a­lyst, you had to start by work­ing in the scrip depart­ment.

You had phys­i­cal share cer­tifi­cates back then, you had to fill them in and cap­ture the in­for­ma­tion into a com­puter.

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

Eq­uity Bank, Kenya. They are one of the most thought­ful man­age­ment teams I have come across. They are dis­rup­tive and con­stantly think­ing about how to cre­ate value and at the same time serve their cus­tomers bet­ter. They make money for in­vestors but at the same time make East Africa a bet­ter place, pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vices to the wider econ­omy and of­fer­ing con­ve­nience to cus­tomers who were un­der­served. Their re­turns on eq­uity are con­sis­tently above the do­mes­tic cost of cap­i­tal since we first in­vested in them. I in­vested in a start-up gold min­ing pro­ject along­side a friend in Zim­babwe. We lost a lot of money, but I learnt so many valu­able lessons that in­formed my de­ci­sions about per­sonal in­vest­ments. I think learn­ing from mis­takes and mis­take elim­i­na­tion is a key part of any learn­ing process, you learn a lot more about your­self/life/things from fail­ures.

Do you own bit­coin or any other cryp­tocur­ren­cies? And why?

No, to be hon­est, I still don’t quite get what the un­der­ly­ing value is. I get why the tech­nol­ogy of blockchain has rel­e­vance but not the cryp­tocur­ren­cies them­selves.

How much was your first pay cheque and what did you do with it?

My first pay cheque was a whop­ping $100 in Zim­babwe. I think the first thing I did with it was take my mother to lunch. That’s all I could af­ford re­ally.

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