I’ve been investing for two years now, since completing my certificate in Financial Markets and Instruments.
My investments have been through my current broker, EasyEquities, since I started investing, as well as SatrixNow. While these guys have played their part in bringing the investing institution to the new age, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the South African context.
I am one of the privileged few who had resources and means to get started on this journey. While two years isn’t enough time to expect significant participation in the country, with both brokers having grown in popularity in that time, South Africans are still not represented in the investment space. While this is something that would be obvious to me by just going outside and seeing the conditions a majority of South Africans live under (no access to cheap/free internet, no digital devices to access online share trading, etc), it still hit me hard when I attended my first AGM as a shareholder and saw the same faces you would expect in the boardroom. Not enough Africans were present, and certainly not enough women attended in their shareholder capacity. This is simply because it’s not quite as simple to achieve, as cheap and accessible it has become compared to the old days, thanks to platforms such as Easy and Satrix. I attended the meeting as one of only three males of African descent, and my colleague attended as the only female shareholder present. The youngest participants in the room, we felt quite out of place. But guess what, we deserved to be there because we’re part owners just like all those older ballies in the boardroom. Add to that, we got it for cheap.
There’s a long way to go for more of us to be in those boardrooms, but it’s just a matter of how many more of us, not how much it would cost or take to get there.