Refusing to learn from Steinhoff

Podcast: Refusing to learn from Steinhoff

In JSE Direct, Latest by Simon Brown

Refusing to learn from Steinhoff

Refusing to learn from Steinhoff

Simon Shares

  • EOH (JSE code: EOH), so the collapse was because of directors margin calls that forced them to sell? This is an epic disaster, if it was my board I would fire them. A share price collapse has real consequences, especially for a company like EOH that uses their shares for acquisitions.
  • Steinhoff (JSE code: SNH) mess continues but an interesting meme occurring in an attempt to make sure the asset managers take no blame. The same happened after African Bank, Enron and other notable corporate collapses. I not saying we should be jailing the asset managers but we should be asking hard questions and having the debate.
    • I am seeing more and more analysis on the fact that SNH was not quality, sure it is in some (but not all) cases after the fact but enough people are speaking out. Yet this low quality stock was valued at around R300billion at its peak and suggesting that it was impossible to tell is an outright lie as proved by many people being short and querying the numbers. Surely as an industry it is important to understand how this happened? Now some managers hunt out low quality as an investment theme, but they are the minority. Pretty much every asset manager will say they buy quality at a good price – but then I ask again, how did this low quality stock end up worth over R300billion?
    • As an industry we are the custodian of peoples retirements, savings and ultimately their dreams – we need to take this seriously and surely, at a minimum, the honest response when we get it spectacularly wrong is to reflect how we get it wrong? Instead I see all sorts of head in sand or finger pointing? Why? Too busy keeping the fees and buying luxury German sedans and Cape Town holiday homes?
  • Likely this is the final JSE Direct for 2017. I have many more ideas but need to take a break. We’ll be back with our predictions show in January with Marc Ashton and Keith Mclachlan and as always we’ll start by scoring our 2017 predictions (find our 2017 predictions here)
  • Position your portfolio for 2018 is online (video, audio and PDF).

Asymmetry of investing

The asymmetrical nature of investing is a huge boom to investors. A share we own can go to zero with a 100% loss, but the flip side is that it can up go up multiples of 100%. So even the occasional loser doesn’t derail a diverse quality investment portfolio.

The two key points, diverse and quality. If you have only one stock you’re at massive risk and if you have a basket of dogs then you’re still in serious trouble.

But a collection of quality stocks can survive the occasional blow out as they others run and we only needs a few real winners to make it all work and market beating.

Now in an ideal world we’ll never see a 100% blow out because when it’s time to panic we’ll panic quick, right?

A last word on the asymmetry of trading (as apposed to investing). We have no real floor on loses as we also have no real floor on gains. So it is not asymmetrical and so we have to make it so by being ruthless with stop losses. I have long said my trading success is due to my always taking the stop immediately no questions asked.

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JSEDirect is an independent broadcast and is not endorsed or affiliated with, nor has it been authorised, or otherwise approved by JSE Limited. The views expressed in this programme are solely those of the presenter, and do not necessarily reflect the views of JSE Limited.

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