London-based South African Dawid Krige, the man behind Cederberg Capital, attended school in Durbanville and in Linden before becoming a Matie. He started off with actuarial science – mostly because his dad had studied it – but switched to institutional investments after his second year. He stayed in Wilgenhof and obtained his BCom degree in 1999 and his honours in 2000.
After graduating, he moved to London and started his career in FirstRand’s multimanager division. In 2005, he joined Mondrian Investment Partners where he led their China investments. In 2011, he decided to set off on his own, when he co-founded Cederberg Capital, a top-performing Chinese equity investment firm with offices in London and Shanghai.
“It is a bit odd, a South African based in London investing into China, but so far so good!” he says.
Empowering people through growing their wealth is his passion and he loves the competitive nature of his job. “We are not only competing against our peers and the market, we are also competing against ourselves and the inherent biases and heuristics that make humans surprisingly irrational. It also suits my love of reading and thinking, although some might call it daydreaming!”
After 17 years in the UK, Dawid has grown to appreciate the Brits’ ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude, which reminds him of South Africans’ own stoicism. This has come in handy during times of crises. “Six months after we launched our fund, we were lagging the index by 18%, which was a disastrous start. Sleep had become fairly elusive, so on most days I would wake up at 2am and start my working day. This went on for several months, until things took a turn for the better. The temptation was to quit or to do things differently, but we had faith in our process and stuck to it, which was ultimately rewarded,” he recalls.
According to Dawid, intellectual honesty is essential in investing. He agrees with the words of physicist Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool!”
Excellence is another value that drives him. “We can’t always please everyone, and mistakes are inevitable. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to look myself in the mirror knowing I gave my best.”
Some of his goals and dreams are to be a great dad and husband, to make Cederberg best-in-class, and to give back what God has given him.
- By Elbie Els -