Experience leads to investment wisdom

Investment knowledge comes from immersing yourself in the space, says Investec Wealth & Investment's Prof Brian Kantor in the sixth and final episode of the Inside the Out of the Ordinary film series.

Read full video transcript

  • Wisdom Episode VI: Prof Brian Kantor

    Wisdom comes with knowledge, it’s not just sucked out of the sky, it’s the result of deep emotion in the subject matter. You could be bright but not necessarily wise, but to be wise I think one needs the knowledge that comes with experience and the testing ground that a life of work gives you.

     

    Well, I grew up in the business environment. So, I was an economist who wanted to understand how business worked from really day one.

     

    I started off as a junior lecturer at the University of Cape Town and then moved through the ranks from lecturer to senior lecturer in the early 70s and then in 1981 I was appointed a professor and I was a professor for yeah, until I retired in 2006.

     

    So, it was a long career at UCT. Teaching is getting to the simple heart of a topic, you learn teaching. When you stand up in front of a class and you start explaining something it becomes very clear to you, not necessarily to your students that actually you don’t understand it as well as you should so in a way it builds understanding.

     

    I’ve had thousands of students, many of them say they appreciate what I did, gave them something, made a difference. When people tell me, I made a difference well that’s good.

     

    My particular responsibility is to inform asset allocation, how you mix up your assets and finding the right mix of risk and return. I’ve always wished to engage in conversation and to learn from what other people see and hear and understand.

     

    And you share understanding. And you enjoy conversation as part of being a human being. I enjoy the intellectual challenge and Investec gives me that opportunity and I enjoy sharing my insights. I want to get it right. I want to make useful predictions.

     

    Well the Global Investment Strategy Group is our global business at work. We draw on the talents of the London office and combine it with our local strengths and we get together and we analyse investment strategy and it’s a very important task.

     

    [Different speaker]: "Lots of issues to address and I’m going to hand over to, in the normal run, course of events to Brian to give his view on the world. Brian."

     

    "Good John, thank you. One of our concerns over the years has been the possibility that the Federal Reserve and other central banks might make a mistake. That is pursue interest rates increases that are too aggressive for the purpose of stabilising the economy and the business, I think."

     

    Recent events emphasise that I think we should regard the bond market as our friend rather than as our enemy. One needs perspective, one needs to be able to see through the cycles of ups and downs.

     

    Take the long-run view and one’s experience, one’s knowledge of how economies have worked, how they do work, knowledge of the history of financial crisis for example, helps you keep your feet on the ground, keep your poise when perhaps other people are in danger of losing theirs.

     

    I believe the success of our business and I care about that, depends on the quality of our people. It’s not a job to be done on your own. You draw on colleagues, you draw on the debates, you draw on the research you are reading.

     

    As long as you retain, as I think I have done, retain your interests, enthusiasm for the subject matter. I like to say I am a 24-hour a day economist. It just fascinates me, always has and always will. I care about the subject matter, I care about the South African economy, close to my heart.

Meet Brian Kantor

Professor Brian Kantor is, in his words, “a 24-hour a day economist”. He cares deeply about South Africa, its economy and resolving its problems. It’s this love of economics – and what it means for business – that he brings to the table at the regular Investec Global Investment Strategy Group (GISG) meetings.
 
Wisdom is the key to making good decisions, he says. “In life you can be bright but not wise,” he says. Wisdom, he says, comes from knowledge and that knowledge comes from immersing oneself in learning about a particular field or topic.
 
“This is what allows you to keep your poise, when others are in danger of losing theirs,” he says. And it’s not, he argues, a job you can do on your own.
 
“This is what I enjoy about the Investec environment. It’s a place you can engage in conversation, argue and learn, which is part of being a human being,” he says.
Brian Kantor, Investec Wealth & Investment

Watch other films in the Inside Out of the Ordinary series

Process

Borderless

Balance

Variety

Objectivity

Possibility

Process

John Haynes, Investec Wealth & Investment

Borderless

Annelise Peers, Investec

Balance

Ryan Friedman, Investec Wealth & Investment

Variety

John Wyn Evans, Investec Wealth & Investment

Objectivity

Philip Shaw, Chief Economist, Investec UK

Possibility

Fani Titi, Joint CEO, Investec

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