Finding opportunities amidst an outbreak – Inspiration for employers and investors


The news these days can seem like a constant stream of anxiety-inducing reports. But this industry expert believes that with strategic upskilling, innovation and positivity, forward-thinking employers, investors and entrepreneurs can come out on top.

Investors and employers – seeing opportunities in midst of the COVID-19 experience

The devastating socio-economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is already apparent in countries around the world, and while many are numbed into inaction during nationwide lockdowns, others are finding resourceful ways to step up and serve.

It’s worth remembering that every economic situation shifts the balance on the supply and demand chain, and that tough circumstances can open doors and inspire actions one wouldn’t have considered otherwise, says Head of Product at Discovery Employee Benefits, Guy Chennells.

If you’re an employer, entrepreneur or even just an ordinary investor concerned about the current economic situation, there are opportunities to grasp and ways to make a difference.

First of all: Now is not the time to disinvest

In times of financial uncertainty, it’s more tempting than ever to want to disinvest or switch into cash. But that’s not always a smart short-term move. A more reasonable and strategic step would be to do the opposite: as far as you’re able, don’t stop saving; stay in the market; keep up your recurring investments; and buy more while markets are depressed. This way, you’ll be well-positioned to gain once the rebound comes, as it certainly will.

When it comes to long-term investments, ready yourself psychologically to ride out the current market. Veer clear of the pitfalls of emotional investing and remind yourself that if you stay calm and patient, your investments will be safe in the long run.

Take advantage of investment opportunities at bargain prices

There are smart ways to make the most of depressed markets, and in the midst of all this economic upheaval, stock selection will separate the down from the defeated. Nearly every company in the JSE’s Top 100 companies is currently at a bargain price. The question investors must ask themselves is, what companies or sectors will recover the fastest, if at all?

Over the short to medium term, there are some industries that will experience sustained pain. On the other hand, with the weak rand in mind, sectors that are export-driven should include some good buys that will boom when the world economy gets going again. The point is that worthwhile opportunities exist, even in this climate, but discerning which specific companies and sectors to select is critical.

Look for ways to adapt and innovate

Necessity is the mother of invention, and restrictions around the globe are forcing people and companies to adapt and innovate.

Having gotten used to communicating during lockdown, big companies will likely have far more online meetings in the future, saving on transport, airfare and accommodation. In the demand for online shopping Amazon is employing another 100 000 warehouse workers. Car and parts manufacturers are looking to produce ventilators and other essential equipment.

Closer to home, Discovery and Vodacom have partnered to deliver a simple but powerful online healthcare platform (Discovery DrConnect) that offers all South Africans access to a free COVID-19 risk tool, and where one can schedule a consultation with a healthcare professional to get medical advice. Telemedicine, which has been slowly emerging for years, will be mainstream within a couple of weeks.

There will certainly emerge from this crisis those who find opportunity in the turmoil, cleverly adapting skills or assets to meet new and growing needs.

A crisis pulls a nation together. And that’s worth holding on to 

With his announcement of the lockdown rules, President Cyril Ramaphosa has shown decisive statesmanship, and his proactive attitude has inspired the rest of South Africa to work together. The Solidarity Response Fund, which the government seeded and which companies and families have already committed enormous amounts to, is just one example of the incredible unity and humanitarian response across diverse sectors.

Help and heroism has come in all shapes and sizes in the form of ordinary South Africans. Whether they are stocking grocery shelves, offering much-needed healthcare, educating and reassuring others, removing refuse, keeping law and order, creating new digital services, or conscientiously staying at home – they are all to be saluted, says Chennells.

“We may all come to find in this time that our purpose is distilled, as disaster strips away the unimportant to reveal the essential,” he adds. “It’s rewarding to work together for the common good, and despite the devastation, hope is returning. Let’s never let go of that.”


Nothing contained here should be construed as financial advice

Discovery Life Investment Services Pty (Ltd), registration number 2007/005969/07, branded as Discovery Invest, is an authorised financial services provider. All life insurance products are underwritten by Discovery Life Ltd, registration number: 1966/003901/06, an authorised financial service provider and registered credit provider, NCA Reg No NCRCP3555.

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