SUNDAY TIMES - Searching for more client interaction
Sunday Times Careers By Margaret Harris, 2017-05-14 00:00:00.0

Searching for more client interaction

WORKING HARDER: Ann Mackeurtan was bitten by the investing bug when she began working for her father
Image: Supplied

Ann Mackeurtan is a wealth adviser with PSG Wealth Financial Planning. She tells Margaret Harris that nothing of value comes easily and that you should not let moments of self-doubt derail you

What do you do now?

Having worked in the industry - and managed a business - for 48 years, I decided that it was time to follow a client-centric approach and, together with several like-minded colleagues, we have established a new boutique office.

You started your career in the back office at your father's firm, SP Reid, before deciding to follow in his footsteps as a stockbroker. There were no other female stockbrokers in South Africa at the time. What made you decide to take the plunge and break into this male-dominated field?

In 1968, I entered the stockbroking environment working for my father during the boom period. At that time, everything was manual, and I remember typing contract notes and balancing the accounts late into the night. Although manual, it was very exciting, and I was hooked. With my father's sudden death in 1974, I decided to write the exams and apply to become a stockbroker in order to continue with the family business.

What are some of the important lessons you have learnt along the way in business?

You should never judge a book by its cover. Many years ago, a simply-dressed man entered our offices with R500 and asked me for investment advice. I gave him my full attention, worked out a diverse portfolio, only to feel profound disappointment when he thanked me and left, without committing to anything. The next day he was back, dressed in a suit, and with R150000 that he wanted me to invest. He said that considering the time and energy I gave him when he only had R500 to invest, he was happy for me to handle a larger sum, which was a considerable amount at the time.

My journey into the stockbroking industry was similar. Being a woman, I had to work harder to prove myself and gain the necessary credibility in a male-dominated industry.

What mistakes have taught you the biggest lessons?

There have been a couple, and you never stop learning. The market has taught me that timing is key, especially knowing when to exit a position.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Every day has its own challenges and rewards due to the unpredictability of the markets. I also enjoy interacting and engaging with clients and helping them achieve their wealth objectives.

What would you prefer to outsource to someone else?

We work in a very admin- and compliance-intensive environment, and although certain processes and procedures are necessary, I wish I could outsource some of them, so I could focus on the markets and my clients' needs.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A professional golfer or jewellery designer.

What do you think makes you good at the work you do?

I have never regarded stockbroking as work - I am very passionate about my job, and I love the client interaction.

What advice would you give to young people to help them believe that they can achieve their dreams?

Work hard. Nothing of value comes easily. Don't let moments of self-doubt derail you. Persevere and savour the small successes along the way.