MONEYWEB, BY ALEC HOGG, 14 OCTOBER 2003
Market commentator, David Shapiro was on the money yesterday – got to read it to you. This is what he said from the transcript. “My candidate is Tom Boardman. I think, listening to what Gusti says [Gusti Coetzer] about maybe that interim role, I think he did pretty well with BoE – even though he came in at a very difficult time, I think he managed to steer them into this takeover or merger. And my view – and again I’m picking up what people are talking about – unblemished. So I think he could be a front runner.” There you go, David. Why don’t you give us similar information on other important topics?
DAVID SHAPIRO: Comes from my old school. His brother was in my class.
Yes, and that makes two major directors at Nedcor that come from Roosevelt, and they are starting to top out the Didata – also Roosevelt candidates.
Who’s the other?
Michael Katz from Roosevelt, Tom Boardman from Roosevelt.
Yes. James Cross.
James Cross, ex-Reserve Bank. Of course, Jeremy Ord. A pretty good school that was, David. David Shapiro from Roosevelt.
Yes. Lousy at rugby, but good at business leaders.
It looks like it –
Did you have a very good economics teacher, someone like Arthur Buchner?
David, how do you think the market is going to take this?
I think they will be disappointed. The market will be cautious, let’s put it that way – disappointed is unfair. I think cautious, to see exactly what he does, how he comes across, whether he’s able to motivate Nedcor and turn around the image. So I think it’s a time thing. I still believe that he’s a temporary candidate. I think he will give it a few years and perhaps they will go out and then look for someone else to come in, maybe from outside.
He’s 53. That’s young, David.
It is pretty young. But my feeling is that Tom’s done a lot and we mentioned it last night, it was very interesting. I think Tom has made money, he’s a wealthy man. It’s going to be a nice job for him. But one wonders whether he’s got the energy now to actually do it. You know, having come from where he’s come, to take over at 53 – I don’t think it’s been part of his succession plan.
Not necessarily what he would have wanted to do five years ago?
He happens to be the right chap at the right place, and I think he will be there in a caretaker position, probably looking for someone to groom on the way up.
It says something about how Nedcor’s rating has fallen back over the years, because it would have been, maybe five years ago, it would have been the place, in fact the banking job to have. Now it’s the biggest bank in the country, you would have expected perhaps there would have been a flood of applicants?
Yes. They may be looking outside. I think this will give them that breathing space, maybe three to five years. I’m not saying he’s going next year, but it could be a three- to five-year position.
But my question is, if it is an internal candidate who has taken over, as we now know, why not make the announcement at the time that Richard Laubscher decided to step down?
I don’t know, obviously Richard’s departure was sudden – and it’ s absolutely obvious from what’s transpired.
Take us through the markets today.
As expected, profit-taking. I think we’ve had such a good run up to now, in the last few days, that there were bound to be investors taking off some cash off the table. So it did come back. It was a difficult day because we started up, and we then dropped on profit-taking. But towards the end of the session, the rand picked up strongly from like R7.02 against the dollar right down to R6.91. So that also put quite a lot of our heavyweights under pressure. Also, just looking at the screen, it was quite apparent that there were a lot of baskets, a lot of derivative activity in the market.
So while they were responsible for taking it up, they also took it down again.
But I think where most of the interest and where most of the gains and falls were today, were in the mid-caps. And the smaller caps. There was quite a bit of activity there which caught attention – shares like Afgri, MTN, Alexander Forbes, the platinum shares.
How did Alexander Forbes do?
Came down a bit. I think this is playing on the minds of investors. It hasn’t been strong. I think there are things that worrying investors about Alexander Forbes. We can’t quite put our finger on the pulse, but it hasn’t been performing well. It’s fallen below that R10 level without any real reason. So I think a little further bad news just took it below that R10 level to R9.80.