Prudential People - Yusuf Mowlana
Meet Yusuf Mowlana, Analyst, Prudential Investment Managers.
Tell us why you enjoy your role at Prudential?
I joined the property team in October 2018, so I’m a new arrival. The nature of my role is research, which allows for constant learning and forces me to challenge existing views to get to the “right” answer. Unfortunately, all the hard work in the world won’t necessarily result in a favourable outcome, so a strong dose of humility is required. The intellectual challenge and stimulation which arise from operating in a dynamic environment with smart colleagues makes this a great place to be. It is also humbling that savers entrust us with looking after something as important as their retirement savings. This responsibility is a strong additional motivator.
If you weren’t an analyst, what job would you like to have?
I can think of a few industries which could be both interesting and have the potential to effect a meaningful positive impact on society. In no particular order, technology and its applications for rethinking existing business models; carbon emission reduction; and basic education would be appealing alternatives.
A topic you’re passionate about (apart from investing)?
Education, as it has the power to transform and change the trajectory of an individual’s life and society in general.
Where do you usually spend Saturday afternoons?
Often at a park where my children can run around and just have fun.
A recent favourite read? Why did you like it?
Edward O. Thorpe’s “A Man for All Markets” is the autobiography of a card-counting mathematics professor who became a successful money-manager. I enjoyed his childhood recollections.
Tell us something about you that your colleagues don’t know.
I used to play the trumpet… but perhaps my family is grateful that I no longer do!
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
In high school I bought basketball sneakers and gear online from the US when they went on sale and sold them at school. When the rand strengthened local retailers failed to drop their prices, which allowed me to price into the gap. I guess this was an early lesson in the benefits of arbitrage and information asymmetries.
What is your number-one bucket-list activity?
I would love to see the Amazon (the jungle, not the company!).
One thing you’re glad you tried, but would never do again?
Never say never, but I found sailing to be very hard work!
An ideal evening is…
An evening spent with family or friends, with some food and good conversation.
Best advice you ever received?
In investing: To be contrarian. Importantly, though, not for the sake of it, and only when you have enough evidence to bet against the consensus view.
Who is your hero and why?
I admire many people from various walks of life, and can think of a number in the business, investing and political spheres who stand out, but I tend not to “heroise” individuals. It is in recognising the fallibility of people that one is able to appreciate their achievements even more. In general, I admire people who are passionate about what they do and have the courage to act on their convictions.