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3 shares with intelligent fanatics I would invest in today

yellow man is a standout leader
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“Intelligent fanatics” is a term coined by Charlie Munger, the VP of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A (NYSE: BRK.A). Specifically, they are high energy, smart leaders who can inspire incredible achievement. For instance, they include famous examples like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Jack Welch.

Likewise, Australia is blessed with many leaders like this. That is to say, architects who can design and build an organisation to meet a burning need. Here are some of the ones I follow, and the companies they have built.

Intelligent fanatics in mining

I worked in the orbit of Andrew Forrest 20 years ago. This was before he went on to be the founder of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG). At the time he was building a massive nickel mine with new technology in the desert. Like Fortescue more recently, Murrin-Murrin had a range of billion dollar problems that I watched this guy and his leadership team blast through.

In addition, the growth of Fortescue’s mining operations has been beyond anything I could have imagined when he started all this near the turn of the century. The man is a human dynamo, who is always on the side of new approaches and new technologies. As long as Forrest remains at the helm of Fortescue I intend to hold onto my shares.

Another intelligent fanatic in mining is Bill Beament, the Chairman of Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST). Bill joined the company in 2007 as managing director when the share price was 9 cents. As it moves to finalise the merger with Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX: SAR) each share is worth $16.06 . It is worth mentioning that Saracen is led by its own intelligent fanatic in CEO Raleigh Finlayson.

The company has become known for a few things. First, they are quick to offload cassets they aren’t happy with. Second, it almost always increases the gold reserves of companies it acquires. Third, operating productivity of its acquisitions also goes up.

The merger with Saracen means that the super pit in Kalgoorlie will be under one company for the first time since Alan Bond unified all the local gold mines. I am very excited by what Northern Star could go on to achieve with Beament as chairman and Finlayson as managing director.

Financial fanatics

There are many leaders in this space that I find intriguing. Tempted though I am to talk about the founders of Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT), it’s the founders of Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P) that currently hold my interest.

Larry Diamond and Peter Gray are the intelligent fanatics behind an alternative finance company, not just a buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm. The move to partner with eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) via the company’s Zip Business arm places them squarely in the realm of non-bank lenders such as Resimac Group Ltd (ASX: RMC). Moreover, the company already has additional credit offerings outside of BNPL and owns PocketBook, a personal budgeting tool. Lastly, Zip Co has a deal with Amazon.com on its site, this is a major coup.

Of all of the BNPL companies, I think Zip Co is best placed over the medium to longer term because of the diversity of its product line, and its ability to attract solid deals with global partners. It will be less impacted by pressure on margins as more companies enter this space. 

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Returns as of 6th October 2020

Daryl Mather owns shares of Fortescue Metals Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of ZIPCOLTD FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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Daryl Mather