EasyEquities brand manager Carly Barnes never imagined that she would be on a stage at a finance event or be involved in investment in any shape or form. The purple-haired livewire recounted her journey from being an actress and performer to building the EasyEquities brand and her own portfolio during an extraordinary session at Finance Indaba Africa on 12 October 2017.
“I would never have imagined that I’d be on this sort of stage – Broadway maybe, but not the Finance Indaba. I wanted to be a singer and did industrial theatre for a number of years. I thought investment was something only really old white guys in suits did.”
A creative who had resigned herself to a rocky financial journey, Carly received a R100 EasyEquities voucher for Christmas, which ended up changing her perspective on investing and opened a new chapter in her life that was largely shaped by interactions with EasyEquities users. These include Thato (22), who took diversification to a new level by investing R1 in every JSE-listed company so that he could learn more about stock movements; Andre, who left his nine-to-five job to become an Uber driver and was intent on using EasyEquities to achieve financial freedom for himself and his family; and Julanie, a Comrades Marathon runner who invested a rand in her portfolio for each kilometre she logged, as a way of motivating herself.
“Historically, investing in shares has been proven to be the best way to grow wealth. So, why are South Africans so kak at investing?” Carly asked the audience. “It’s really expensive, for one. It’s also really complicated – what is a PE ratio? EasyEquities was born from the need to change this by allowing investment in fractions of shares for a 0.25 percent brokerage fee, and in a friendly, conversational manner.”
Established in 2014, EasyEquities, the overall winner of the African FinTech Awards 2016, offers a revolutionary fractional investment platform that broadens access to stocks at a minimal cost. The company, in which Sanlam recently took a 30 percent stake in a deal worth R100 million, continues to grow from strength to strength, recently capturing an award for being the best tax-free savings account in South Africa, and opening the US stock market to local investors. “Tesla shares have been unbelievably popular so far,” smiled Carly.
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