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Approaching the summit with courage

03 October 2016 FAnews

Nothing challenges a human being more than standing at the bottom of a mountain and accepting the challenge that it can never be conquered.

FAnews spoke to Sibusiso Vilane, Brand Ambassador for Emperor Asset Management, about the parallels between climbing and investing and the importance of investing. Vilane is well-known, and respected climber and expedition leader and was the first black African to conquer Mount Everest in 2003.

Question: You are the Brand Ambassador for Emperor Asset Management. What is your relationship all about?

Answer: Emperor Asset Management uses mountaineering and explorer themes to name their portfolios and it, therefore, made a lot of sense for them to partner with a living explorer and adventurer like myself.

Question: What is the link for you between climbing and investing?

Answer: Climbing to the top of a mountain has to be a dream; the same as increasing your wealth. It is also critical to decide when to climb and how high you want to climb. Another very pertinent link is the fact that you have to decide how much risk you are willing to take to reach your goal and lastly, like investing, you need a dedicated team of people to guide you through the process… the link is clear.

In tying back to investing, you have to start with a goal, know your investment period and understand the risks associated with your investment decision.

Question: Discuss some of the challenges you faced when climbing Mount Everest and share the investment link with us.

Answer: The weather was very unpredictable while pushing for the summit but we never gave up and I believe the financial weather is the same. We rely on very competent meteorologists to keep us updated on what might be. Investors have to partner with reliable asset managers who they believe have strategies to help them navigate the process.

Question: You are seen as an inspiration for others. What is the next big thing?

Answer: The first will be to overcome my fear of water and update my non-swimmer status to being a sub walker whereby I will take an underwater walk from Robben Island to the mainland. That will be followed my first attempt at climbing Mount Everest without oxygen.

Question: What is your motto when it comes to investing?

Answer: Investing is a journey and not a sprint; therefore it demands long-term commitment and the discipline to keep an eye on the summit.

Question: What is your take on risk and how it can be overcome?

Answer: The fear of taking risks can be overcome by accepting that risks can never be avoided because we all live with them every day. Many people find themselves not knowing that not taking an investment risk may mean that they miss out on returns in the long run.

Question: Do you feel there is a need to encourage investing in South Africa?

Answer: I have heard the statistic that only around 247 000 people out of 53 million people in South Africa hold shares in the JSE which means that there is a big percentage of South Africans who do not invest. That is why it is important to raise awareness and make people understand the importance of investing.

Question: How has your relationship with Emperor Asset Management affected your view on investing?

Answer: My relationship with Emperor Asset Management has made me look at investing differently. I had the attitude that investing was only for an elite few. Now I have realised that anybody can and has an opportunity to invest.

Question: What advice do you have for apprehensive investors?

Answer: I climb mountains with no certainty that I will reach the summit, but I still try. Do the same when you decide to invest, just do it.

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