Anyone can make money in the market — and we have proof

The results of David Shapiro’s popular 2021 Cristal Challenge showed that investing in the market can be very profitable, even if you are not a professional trader or analyst.

Shapiro, who serves as Sasfin Securities deputy chairman, is a veteran equity analyst and one of South Africa’s most respected financial professionals.

He launched the Cristal Challenge to highlight that you don’t have to be a professional to buy shares and that you can successfully invest in the market yourself.

“The motivation behind the game was to highlight the fun and joy and financial rewards of creating an investment portfolio consisting of individual shares,” Shapiro wrote in a Business Day column.

Participants in the challenge had to select five shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) for their portfolio. Shapiro then tracked the performance of these portfolios over the year.

The 2021 Cristal Challenge included people from all walks of life, including stockbrokers, analysts, asset managers, media personalities, and even a pianist.

The challenge was won by pianist and organist Betsie Schaap (photo above), whose portfolio value increased by an impressive 121%.

Counterpoint executive director and portfolio manager Piet Viljoen finished second with 96% growth, followed by media personality and trader Simon Brown on 73%.

What stood out was that the average performance of all participants was 51%, easily outperforming the JSE all-share index (ALSI), which showed a return of 24% in 2021.

It is also noteworthy that the majority of the participants outperformed the market. In fact, only two entrants did not beat the JSE ALSI.

Outperforming the market is not easy, but the Cristal Challenge showed that investing in good companies can produce great results.

Commenting on the excellent performance of the stock picks in the 2021 Cristal Challenge, Shapiro said the Internet has made trading and company information readily available to everyone.

“There are also a lot of people on social media who are happy to help and discuss their views as well,” he said.

Shapiro’s advice to first-time investors who seek guidance on how to establish a share portfolio is simple:

Instead of building a library of know-how books or filling the pockets of course promoters, nothing will accelerate your learning more than staking a portion of your savings in a few companies of your choice.

Even the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, admits that you do not need a high IQ to identify a good business.

“A first-class operation shouts at you. If you need a computer to decide whether to invest in a business, then don’t do it. If the reason for investing is not obvious, walk away,” he said.

For more about the 2022 Cristal Challenge, follow David Shapiro on Twitter.

2021 Cristal Challenge winners

The tables below provide an overview of the results of David Shapiro’s popular 2021 Cristal Challenge.

2021 Cristal Challenge Results
Participant Performance Profession
Betsie Schaap 121% Pianist
Piet Viljoen 96% Portfolio manager
Simon Brown 73% Trader and investor
Altus Badenhorst 72% NA
Nick Kunze 66% Portfolio manager
David Shapiro 50% Stockbroker
Mia Kruger 50% Fund manager
Bright Khumalo 49% Portfolio manager
Greg Davies 47% Wealth manager
Deon Gouws 43% Investment officer
Melinda Smith 36% NA
Giulietta Talevi 34% Media personality
Greg Katz 31% NA
Ladies Guild 10% NA
Herman Lloyd -14% Portfolio manager
Average performance 51% NA
Top Stock Picks
Share Performance Who picked it
Aveng 227% Piet Viljoen
PPC 219% David Shapiro; Betsie Schaap; Altus Badenhorst
MTN 175% Piet Viljoen; Mia Kruger
Renergen 162% Betsie Schaap
Purple Group 145% Simon Brown; Betsie Schaap
Hulamin 128% Greg Davies; Nick Kunze
Royal Bafokeng 115% Deon Gouws
Lewis 95% Melinda Smith
Tsogo Sun 89% Greg Davies
Sasol 81% Altus Badenhorst; Greg Katz
Santova 80% Betsie Schaap

Now read: South African stocks to watch in 2022

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Anyone can make money in the market — and we have proof