FFM podcast ep19: Winning from chemicals to finance; Debunking the Myth of the Barn Hole; A Springbok-inspired run?

Welcome to the Fantasy Fund Manager podcast, where financial experts and everyday investors converge to explore the intriguing world of fantasy trading. In this episode, we journey into week 19 of the competition with our hosts, Stuart Lowman from BizNews, and our distinguished guests, Gareth Montana, Director at Corion Capital, and Darren Grusin, General Manager at SA Precious Metals. Amidst the ever-shifting landscape of financial markets, we uncover valuable insights, from navigating volatility to adapting strategies for success. Discover how this innovative game fosters community and financial education, making investing more accessible. Join us as we delve into the exciting realm of Fantasy Fund Manager. Remember, each dawn of Monday is your chance to pitch your winning stocks. With enticing prizes awaiting, the game is on. Rally your comrades and head over to www.fantasyfundmanager.co.za to register—gratitude to our platinum sponsors, Sharenet, Terebinth Capital, ClucasGray Asset Management, and Money Better. And mark your calendars: Subscribe now to our podcast to keep pulse with every riveting episode. Rest assured, the stock prices discussed remain spot-on from the time of the podcast’s riveting recording.

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Welcome to the Fantasy Fund Manager podcast, where financial experts and everyday investors come together to explore the intriguing world of fantasy trading. In this episode, we dive into week 19 of the competition with our hosts, Stuart Lowman from BizNews, and our distinguished guests, Gareth Montana, Director at Corion Capital, and Darren Grusin, General Manager at SA Precious Metals.

The data snapshot

Before delving into the heart of the discussion, Stuart provides us with a snapshot of the current state of play. In week 19, the most owned stock is NASPERS, posting an impressive 1.31% gain. It’s essential to note that these figures are accurate as of the time of recording, and market dynamics are ever-changing. Conversely, Multi-Choice is the least owned stock, down 0.8%. City Lodge takes the lead as the most traded-in stock, enjoying a 5% surge in popularity. On the flip side, Tiger Brands experienced a 3.9% drop as the most traded out.

Navigating volatility

Gareth Montana starts the discussion by shedding light on the current state of the market. Despite the volatile nature of financial markets, Gareth sees ample opportunities for astute investors. He points out the stark contrast in performance among South African companies, with some, like Asanlam, boasting an impressive 18% increase since the competition’s inception. However, resource companies like Impala Platinum have not fared as well, down by as much as 50%. Gareth underscores the significance of China’s impact on global markets, particularly commodities, which directly affects South Africa, a country heavily reliant on these resources. Nevertheless, Gareth remains optimistic, highlighting the talent and resilience of Fantasy Fund Managers who continue to deliver solid returns in challenging market conditions.

From metal chemicals to finance: A unique perspective

Darren Grusin, the week 17 winner of Fantasy Fund Manager, offers a fascinating glimpse into his professional life outside of financial markets. Unlike many participants in the finance sector, Darren’s day job involves manufacturing metal chemicals, an industry far removed from trading. However, his background in trading, which dates back 20 years, provides him with a unique perspective and a foundation for his involvement in the Fantasy Fund Manager competition.

What led Darren to Fantasy Fund Manager?

Darren reveals that his entry into the competition came through an email invitation from Corion, a company with which he has investments. While he may not be actively trading every week, he finds the game intriguing and enjoyable. Moreover, when he held the lead, his friends and associates added an element of fun by sending him screenshots of his top-ranking status. Darren’s story highlights how the Fantasy Fund Manager game succeeds in engaging participants from diverse backgrounds and interests.

Building a community through Fantasy Fund Manager

Stuart Lowman draws attention to the sense of community and camaraderie developed among Fantasy Fund Manager participants. Gareth agrees that this communal aspect adds depth and enjoyment to the game. The competitive spirit, the friendly banter, and the discussions among friends, family, and colleagues have become a defining feature of the competition. Gareth emphasises that the game serves a dual purpose – not only as a source of entertainment but also as a tool to encourage more individuals to save and invest. Many believe that investing is beyond their reach, but Fantasy Fund Manager demonstrates that it’s accessible and demystifies the world of finance, fostering greater participation in the savings industry.

Promoting financial education

Stuart inquires if there has been a noticeable increase in interest and participation in the savings industry due to Fantasy Fund Manager. Gareth acknowledges that it may take some time to observe significant changes in investment behaviour, but the early signs are promising. With over 4,000 participants joining Fantasy Fund Manager, the competition has made strides in its mission to encourage more people to become active contributors to savings and investment. The game offers an accessible and engaging platform for individuals to understand financial markets and assets better.

Adapting strategies in the final stretch

Shifting the focus to the competition’s dynamics, Stuart asks Darren about his strategy for the final eight weeks. Darren admits that catching up to the leader is unlikely, given his current position in the rankings. Instead, his approach revolves around making well-considered portfolio changes every few weeks rather than pursuing aggressive trading. His primary goal is to secure another weekly victory rather than making a run for the overall title. This strategy underscores the importance of adaptability and long-term thinking in fantasy trading.

The myth of the “Barn Hole”

Stuart introduces the concept of the “barnhole” trading philosophy, characterised by the temptation to make frequent changes to one’s portfolio. Gareth shares his perspective, emphasising that the primary goal of Fantasy Fund Manager is education and exposure to financial markets. He reminds listeners that six months is a relatively short timeframe in financial markets. While there are opportunities for trading around positions, it can come at a cost. Gareth cites an example from his portfolio, where a seemingly advantageous switch ultimately resulted in missed opportunities. He underscores the challenges of timing the market effectively within the competition’s timeframe.

The power of simplicity and staying informed

Darren offers insights into his evolving mentality regarding the markets. He no longer seeks short-term gains but prioritises diversification and investing in companies he believes in. He favours South African companies and the Rand, avoiding stocks with significant foreign exposure due to currency fluctuations. Unlike traders relying heavily on technical analysis, Darren relies more on fundamentals and news. He emphasises the value of staying well-read and informed about market trends and company developments. Darren’s approach highlights the importance of a well-thought-out strategy and continuous learning in trading.

The impact of the Rugby World Cup

As the Rugby World Cup looms, Stuart wonders whether the event will impact the financial markets, mainly if the Springboks perform well. Gareth humorously entertains the idea of a victorious Springbok team, leading to a surge in positive sentiment, resulting in a stronger Rand and boosting confidence in South African assets. While it’s a playful notion, it underscores the interplay between global events and market dynamics.


In this engaging episode of the Fantasy Fund Manager podcast, listeners gain valuable insights from two perspectives in the financial world. Gareth Montana and Darren Gruesen offer their wisdom and experiences, reminding us that the world of trading is multifaceted, dynamic, and filled with opportunities for both seasoned professionals and newcomers alike. The Fantasy Fund Manager game bridges these worlds, making finance more accessible and fostering a sense of community among participants. As we navigate the final weeks of the competition, we eagerly await to see which strategies will prevail and which Fantasy Fund Managers will emerge victorious. Until then, stay tuned for more exciting insights and updates from the world of fantasy trading.

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