Mark Barnes says employee shareholders are more empowered and deliver better results

Mark Barnes says employee shareholders are more empowered and deliver better results

Purple Group, holding company for EasyEquities, Emperor Asset Management, and GT Private Broking, held its annual general meeting (AGM) for shareholders earlier this month. Having promised shareholders the Funnest. AGM. Ever., the Purple team delivered the least boring AGM you can imagine.

Of course there was the obligatory legal stuff that you can’t get away from, but chairman Mark Barnes handled these items with his usual humour and aplomb.

In his opening address, Mark shared some of the Purple Group’s philosophy that has led to its enormous success.

“People who work at Purple are here because they want to be here,” he said. “They have economic dignity. Every single person who works at this company has got shares in this company. Every time I talk about a number, it’s not my number, it’s our number. That changes the whole game. I walked into the dealing room the one day and said ‘What are you doing with my money?’ and the traders replied ‘Mark, it’s our money’. That was a point of inflection for me.”

Mark says the number of shareholders in Purple Group has increased by 108% since the last AGM, thanks in large part to the introduction of EasyEquities.

“EasyEquities has a fundamental cause to it, beyond just the profitability and economics of our firm,” said Mark. “Most people in this country do not have access to the stock market, which is without doubt (and forever will be) the best-performing asset class that you can ever invest your money in over a long period of time, anywhere in the world.

“You all know more than you think you know. You should trust your gut feel about where to invest your money.”

The approach the company takes to its clients is also part of the EasyEquities success. Mark says successful companies put their customers ahead of their custom. Like Uber…

“Uber, in is latest capital raising, is now worth more than 80% of the Standard & Poors index,” he said, “and they’ve just arrived!

“The reason is because Uber values the customer more than his or her custom. Every time you finish an Uber experience you feel you got a bargain – mainly because you got home intact! And you didn’t get into trouble! But really because you would have paid more if you’d used another service. And we feel that way about our clients. We value you more than the immediate piece of business we’re going to do. Because if you have a fabulous experience with us, you’re going to tell everyone about it.”

Mark also talked about Emperor Asset Management and its stellar performance across the board since its launch in 2004, thanks to “… a lot of brainpower, a lot of science and a lot of metrics that work things out for us.”

As far as and GT Private Broking are concerned Mark rates Purple as “… the most advanced derivatives trading company in South Africa”, positioning the business as “the new age stockbroker”.

The Purple Group AGM took place in the wake of fantastic annual results, and shareholders were delighted with the company’s performance.

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