August Women's Month Profile: Charolyn Pedlar

By Timothy Rangongo
Editor at Money Marketing SA
Charolyn Pedlar, investment manager and co-founder of Platinum Portfolios

Charolyn Pedlar has about 40 years’ experience in local and global financial services with extensive experience across a wide range of roles in the investment and fund management sector. She is joint manager of the Platinum Portfolios Global and Local funds and investment solutions.

How did you get involved in financial services – was it something you always wanted to do?

I started my career in financial services around 40 years ago and although I did not set out to be involved in fund management, it is something I became passionate about through my experience in the industry.

Leaving the corporate environment and redirecting my energy and passion into starting my own business has allowed me to create my own brand and do it my way with a partner and team that are equally as enthusiastic about what we do for our clients.

What new investment lessons did you learn from the Covid crash and ensuing market swings?

The Covid crash cemented my belief that you need to have an investment process that guides you and provides you with the structure to make the best decisions, no matter what the economic or stock market conditions. When your philosophy or process is clear, then your decisions are easier to make.

What have been your recent best financial/investment/professional moments?

I often get asked this question, and my answer is always the same: I don’t have creative flashes, nor do I have dramatic moments of inspired insights or eureka experiences. I think that these are myths. For me, it is all about daily hard work, which is made up of processes, and lots of small, ongoing activities that have been developed and improved on, to lead to me making better decisions. 

What I have been pleased about recently is that by sticking to our investment process, we have managed to protect our investors from most of the downside in the market that we are experiencing.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learnt in and about the finance industry as a woman?

I have learned through my many years of experience that if you want to be successful in business and in life, it is up to you, no matter whether you are a woman or a man. Sometimes we create our own obstacles, and to a certain degree, we create our own destiny (or) outcome because life has taught me that what we put in is what we will get out.

What would you say are some of the challenges faced by women in financial services today (from observation or being an active participant in the industry), and how could they best be tackled?

Dealing with the perception that you need to be a man to get some recognition and credibility in the industry has been one of my biggest professional challenges. However, the challenges that I have faced often presented opportunities which I have used to my advantage. 

I have had to work long and hard to earn my investors‘ trust, and in fund management, the results speak for themselves, which has enabled me to gain recognition for the work that I do.

What’s the best book on investing/professional development have you read — and why would you recommend it to others?

I am an avid reader; in fact, Platinum Portfolios regularly posts reviews on the books the team has read on our LinkedIn page. I recommend you follow us to find out what we have read and what we are reading now.

However, if I must select a book that made a very big impact on how I think about investing, it would have to be Snowball: Warren Buffett and the business of Life by Alice Schroeder.

Snowball: Warren Buffett and the business of Life by Alice Schroeder

What career advice would you give a young woman in 2022 who is about to start their career in financial services, especially the asset management space?

Make sure that you have chosen your career path because you are really interested and passionate about the industry and what you do. That passion will drive you to overcome any obstacles and lead you to a successful and fulfilled career, which in turn will have a positive impact on your life.

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