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February 23, 2018

iX Teacher Spotlight — Brent Shapiro — Investment Finance 2018

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We know that who you learn from is just as important as what you learn, which is why we're thrilled to have launched this new series in which we'll introduce our talented cohort of lecturers for 2018.

Brent's career in finance began at Investec Bank Limited in 2007. His structuring of complex deals that included embedded derivatives and financial engineering, while being surrounded by equity, commodity, and currency traders, fuelled his love for the industry. He formed his own consulting business in 2012 which allowed him to be exposed to SMEs throughout Africa - improving their operations and profitability. In 2014, he was hired as the CFO of both a hedge fund and private equity fund based in the US. Brent joined iXperience as the CFO in 2017.

What do you enjoy most about the Finance industry?

Finance is an ever-changing beast that can surprise on one day, make perfect sense the next and disappoint on another. What is important is to stay up to speed. In the last 24 months, cryptocurrencies became the “hot” topic and have subsequently almost disappeared into obscurity as prices fell. This is the world of Finance, where today’s hot topic is tomorrow’s hot potato that no one wants to handle.

What are you currently working on?

I recently launched Creo Capital Partners III L.P. which meant becoming familiar with US tax law and other legal issues that governed the treatment of private equity funds.

I still find time to value listed small cap companies that I invest in. Tracking the market is very rewarding, especially when a stock that I determine to be undervalued increases in price on the back of strong results and market sentiment.

How do you see the Finance industry changing in the next 10 years? What skills will industry professionals need to have?

It’s becoming more apparent that computers can outtrade humans and this will lead to a reduction in the number of active traders and managers in the marketplace. Only the truly exceptional will remain. This coupled with the emergence of cryptocurrencies will see finance evolve over the next decade. However, the Financial Crisis demonstrated that, even at the worst of times, those with ingenuity can still find ways to excel.

Brent Shapiro, Investment Finance iXperience teacher
Brent Shapiro, iXperience Investment Finance teacher

What skills will iX students have after graduating from your class?

In Investment Finance 2018, students will learn foundational skills such as evaluating financial statements, compiling corporate valuations as well as understanding risk vs return and where exceptional returns are on offer. They will also be exposed to derivatives and other forms of financial instruments that make the Finance industry so exciting.

What’s one piece of advice that you have for the iX class of 2018?

“Cash is King” is a quote I live by as without liquidity, a person is unable to take advantage of great buying/trading opportunities. In 2009, assets around the world became cheap to the point that those both brave and liquid enough reaped massive returns.

What are your ‘desert island’ books?

The Andre Agassi autobiography (until such time as Roger Federer releases his own) and the “Devil’s Financial Dictionary” which manages to combine finance and humour.

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