Meet our analyst of the week: Sigma Capital’s Mohamed Sobol
OUR ANALYST OF THE WEEK- Mohamed Sobol, equity research analyst at Sigma Capital (Linkedin).
My name is Mohamed Sobol and my entry into the finance field was very coincidental. It’s a story of how a bad circumstance brought out a great result. During my stint at Ain Shams University, two of my classes were dropped in my graduating year and I had to go to a makeup class. During that makeup class, the professor was giving us questions from the CFA and I asked him about it. He explained the test and the career path to me and it suddenly just clicked that this is something that I might want to do. I called Nour Eldin Sherif and he managed to get me an internship at Mubasher and that was my start. I then moved to Shuaa where I had the pleasure of working with Amr Elalfy and he made sure to teach me everything he knew. I then moved to Sigma Capital and the amazing AbouBakr Emam took me on from there.
I now cover the education, healthcare, and F&B sectors in Egypt and working on all three of these sectors has helped my professional development a lot. We have a small team at Sigma and I also learned how to work the entire research process from start to finish.
The best part of my job is seeing my personality reflected in the work I do — whether it's writing, research, or analysis. Creativity really factors into the job and it's never a routine when you’re always talking to new companies and management teams.
The worst part is I can’t put down my work when I leave the office. Some things need to be done right away and you always need to be updated on the most recent news.
Work from home wasn’t great for me. I focus more at the office — when I’m away from my bed [laughs]. I think a balance would be ideal. Maybe divide jobs between physical and remote work on certain days or certain weeks.
My theory of investment is to look at fundamentals first and foremost. If I were to invest my own wealth, however, I’d try and put around 75% in companies with strong fundamentals and the rest I’d allocate to swing trading by looking at technical analysis.
I tend to look at potential positive catalysts before recommending stocks. The strong firms with good stories are well known, but it’s all about timing. I like to create scenarios and assess based on what the results could be. This needs a lot of creativity to come up with a feasible scenario and be able to communicate it to clients.
In the industries I cover, education was the most resilient in 2020. Schools were quick to transfer to online education and the demand was still there — understandably. We had thought healthcare would do well, but people opted out of going to hospitals due to lockdowns or fear of getting sick. F&B was on and off, some companies did better than others. Most companies managed to get their top line in check, but margins definitely took a hit. In 2021, I think healthcare will have the fastest recovery.
I don’t think 2021 will be the year of Egypt. The country itself is forecasted to grow this year and the next year, however, the growth rate isn’t always seen on ground. I think that there needs to be more initiatives for this growth to be more inclusive to more companies and employees. The stock market is also not doing great with the selloff from the foreigners, so I’m hoping that once they’re back we’ll rise to new levels.
If I had to cover another industry, I would go for non-banking financial services. I’ve been following the advent of fintech in the country and I find it very interesting. I think the biggest issue facing these companies is finding and retaining good talent, and it would be a new experience to see how that plays into my analysis.
The best things I’ve watched are Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. The story and acting in both is amazing and I’m a huge fan.
The last great thing I’ve read is The Happiness Trap. It’s all about accepting things you can’t change and moving on in order to have the best life you can. My favorite book is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K, which I think brings you to the same result [laughs].
When I’m not working I like to watch football. I’m a diehard Zamalek fan, much to the despair of my health. I also go to the gym or hang out at the sporting club. I love the culture of sporting clubs where you can go from one group to the other or just walk around.
The EGX30 fell 1.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.36 bn (5.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 4.4% YTD.
In the green: Orascom Financial Holding (+4.2%), Export Development Bank (+2.7%) and Pioneers Holding (+2.5%).
In the red: CIB (-3.2%), ElSewedy Electric (-2.3%) and Fawry (-2.3%).