If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?
Consolidated Infrastructure Group (CIG). The stock is at bargain levels and has great long-term prospects in key growing silos such as power infrastructure and oil and gas, with highly competent and motivated management. I’ve owned it since its IPO in 2007 and it’s been a winner.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Telepathy would be nice — but I’d be happy to be able to be a talented pastry chef.
What was your first job?
I started my career back in 1985, aged 17, as an apprentice electrical controls engineer in the UK for an American engineering firm.
What’s your biggest regret?
Easy. I’ve known I was "different" since the age of 10 but was too scared to do anything and lived hidden away for decades. Coming out as gay at the age of 40 and simultaneously moving to Cape Town opened up and changed my life for the better; I’m much happier for that openness and freedom.
What was your worst investment mistake?
Shorting British Airways shares on its IPO in February 1987 at the age of 20 (I had been investing for myself for six years, since 14). I lost my shirt and six years of savings. It was a good lesson not to be so clever.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
In the mid-1990s I listed a small technology company, Transense Technologies, in London on the AIM market at £0.15 a share. By 1998 the share was worth £30 so I made 200 times my investment.
If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won $100m, what would you do?
US$100m or R1.5bn is a lot of money and would give me a comfortable lifestyle forever. I’d invest half for my own life then use US$50m to start a charitable trust helping causes that are dear to me — animal welfare, local community causes (education, reading, nutrition, and domestic violence and LGBT shelters).
What’s your favourite song?
I don’t have just one — it changes, though I have an eclectic mix. Currently it’s the classic Burt Bacharach song "Walk on By", sung by Dionne Warwick. It just reminds me of someone special.
On what occasions do you lie?
Sounds like a "lie", but I’m fiendishly honest. In fact, so honest my friends and partner often get cross with me.
Your greatest extravagance?
I love sports cars, especially convertibles — great for Cape Town.