“Time is precious.” With Jason Hartman & Simon Popple

I must confess, until I had my own child I had no real idea as to what unconditional love was, but the guidance I received from him over this period meant I stuck at it when I could easily have given up. Even though these circumstances are truly horrible, with sky-high debt around the globe […]

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I must confess, until I had my own child I had no real idea as to what unconditional love was, but the guidance I received from him over this period meant I stuck at it when I could easily have given up. Even though these circumstances are truly horrible, with sky-high debt around the globe and the economy grinding to a halt — globally. I’m convinced gold’s time has come. Even before the virus struck, the World was in a bad place. But now it could be a whole lot worse.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon Popple is the Managing Director of Brookville Capital, a capital raising business focusing on agriculture and gold. He’s also the Editor of the Brookville Capital Intelligence Report.

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Istarted off in marketing, which was a lot of fun, but not terribly well paid. A lot of my friends were lawyers and accountants and I was watching their salaries increase dramatically. Being naturally competitive, I decided to look for a more lucrative career. At the time, MBA’s were very much in vogue, so I did mine at Birmingham University and moved into investment banking — where I found myself at the heart of the finance industry.

After completing my MBA at Birmingham University in 1993, I joined the Corporate Finance team at Singer & Friedlander, working on small and mid-cap mergers and acquisitions. In 1997 I joined the Senior Banker team at ABN AMRO before moving into their Corporate Finance department in 1999, where I specialized in private equity.

I then became Head of Investment Management at Strutt & Parker’s Real Estate Financial Services before becoming a Director of Topland, one of Europe’s largest private investment companies. In 2008, I set up Brookville Capital, initially, this was a capital-raising business, but after several successful investments in gold and silver mining companies — I decided to focus on these.

Following these successful investments, I started a newsletter with Moneyweek called Metals & Miners and when they were acquired, I set up Gold Speculator with Jim Rickards. During this time I’ve spoken at Moneyweek and Mines & Money conferences as well as done numerous interviews with IG Index on the gold market.

With my Australian business partner, I still help Junior Mining companies who are seeking capital, so I’m heavily involved with the mining community on a daily basis — enabling me to work with many exciting companies that are not well known to the investment community.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?

As I’m sure you can imagine, the move from marketing to investment banking was far from smooth. A giant leap to say the least. At the time my firm was involved in a large project which involved detailed accounting skills, which none of the team had. We were asked to put a profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheet together which obviously wouldn’t balance, so to make it balance we put in “a balancing item”. At the time we agreed it was fine, but looking back — it was clearly a ridiculous thing to do.

Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

The instant response was I had to learn all about accounting. If you’re going to enjoy working in finance you have to be very familiar with all aspects of this. So I made sure I learned about accounting very quickly! At a deeper level, I realized that to enjoy whatever life throws at you, you always need balance. Even if your personal balance sheet doesn’t look great — it’s vital it balances! Never rely on balancing items!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

For over 14 years I’ve been investing in gold and silver mining companies. I’ve had some great successes which meant I’ve been asked to write two newsletters covering the sector. One with Moneyweek which was called Metals and Miners and another, Gold Speculator, with Agora Financial and Jim Rickards. I thoroughly enjoyed writing both of these and last year I had the opportunity to do my own.

I’ve called it the Brookville Capital Intelligence Report. Right now, I think there’s a fantastic opportunity to invest in Gold and Silver. The horrific Coronavirus is causing chaos on many different fronts, including finance, but I think gold, which is traditionally viewed as a safe haven asset, could be one of the few beneficiaries of this terrible pandemic.

Somewhat ironically, strong balance sheets are particularly important in this crisis and that’s something the report takes a very close look at. I’ve developed what I call the B.R.I..D.G.E. system to analyze the mining stocks. This stands for the Balance sheet, Resources, Infrastructure, Diversification, Grade and Exploration potential. They all have to jump these hurdles before I can even think about them joining our squad. I call it a squad because I liken it to a fantasy football team — all mining stocks are different and its vital people know the risks they are taking.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve been a believer in gold for a long time. Many haven’t. The term gold BUGS being very familiar to a lot of people. Most seem to think BUGS are some form of golf fanatics, but nothing could be further from the truth. It actually stands for Buyer of Ungeared Gold Stocks. Over this time I’ve often discussed my theory with my Father, a Cambridge University Law Graduate who “got it”. He not only understood what I was saying but was great at challenging my theories and patiently helped me develop them.

I must confess, until I had my own child I had no real idea as to what unconditional love was, but the guidance I received from him over this period meant I stuck at it when I could easily have given up. Even though these circumstances are truly horrible, with sky-high debt around the globe and the economy grinding to a halt — globally. I’m convinced gold’s time has come. Even before the virus struck, the World was in a bad place. But now it could be a whole lot worse.

I don’t think it’s ridiculous for everyone to have at least 1% of their investments in gold. Most have none. The aim of the Brookville Capital Intelligence Report is to help people on this journey.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious about the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Our friends and families need a lot at these difficult times. It’s not all about money. I was recently on a course and was asked to spell Love. The whole room put their hand up. This was easy.

The answer was not what we expected.

But it was right.

It’s spelled TIME. Think about it — “spending” time with people is important.

Even though we can’t physically be with people, we can still spend time with them. Call them, video chats — whatever you do. But spend time with people. They will appreciate it.

Time is precious.

Gold is not called a precious metal for anything.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy, in general, have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

Gold and for that matter, silver has been around for thousands of years. Wherever you go in the World it’s viewed as being valuable. People “get it.” Whilst the S&P has been very kind to investors, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to have all your eggs in one basket.

Traditionally the argument against gold has been that it doesn’t yield anything. But with a negative interest rate, neither do many bonds. So I think it should be PART of a portfolio. In these challenging times, I personally like the idea of more diversification. And I would suggest that investors have at least a small allocation to Gold. Perhaps think of it as some form of insurance, if all this blows over, you’ll still be able to sell it back — at what price I don’t know — but it will have some value. But if things get worse, it could well become a very important part of your portfolio.

Personally, I invest for various different reasons. Firstly, to try and protect what I already have and secondly to make money. If I get it right, I reduce my stress levels — which is very important to me. Life is for living.

If you look at where the gold price is and compare it to the 1970’s bull market, if history was to repeat itself, gold could be in for a very good run.

Eventually, the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality, might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

I very much agree with your sentiment. If things recover then both Technology and Healthcare could do very well. This was one of the main reasons why I did not want to refer to either Gold or Mining in my Report. At some stage, I think certain sectors could do very well. And if that’s the case, I want to be invested in them.

There are two ways I would look at this.

Firstly, unless you’re an expert — you probably aren’t — I’d suggest looking at where the experts are putting their money. You can find out what the best performing funds are and then research their top 5 -1 0 positions are, that’s certainly something I’ll be doing. I should add that as well as investing directly into the equities, there could also be situations where it makes sense to invest in the fund itself. Especially in the case of Venture Capital, which can be particularly risky.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

I think the gold sector could be particularly attractive. If we were to get a repeat of what happened in the 1970s, the gold price could go significantly higher.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

Right now I think the Junior Mining companies offer a once in a lifetime opportunity. In the 1970’s bull market some of these went up by 10X, 50X even 100X in value.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

My daughter is only 8, but I have put a chunk of her savings into gold coins. I don’t want her to take many risks and my main aim is for her to protect her purchasing power. So when she’s old enough hopefully she can sell them and buy what she could buy the same things that she can today.

How people invest is a very personal thing. If they like high risk then one could put this amount of money into say 10 gold mining stocks — some could go bust, but others could make you a lot of money. For those with a lower appetite for the risk, I would probably look at a combination of lower-risk gold mining stocks and physical gold.

If the S&P were to correct then having some money in that could also work out very well, but personally speaking, I would like the World to return to a more normal footing before I get involved in that.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

What a great question — this is what I think:

  1. Always make sure you have some cash — I’ve had a couple of times in my life when I’ve needed cash. Fortunately, I’ve been able to get it, but if my investments were set up wrongly I wouldn’t
  2. Don’t invest in illiquid investments unless you don’t need the cash and you’re very clear about what you’re investing in
  3. Some products offer liquidity, such as some real estate funds, but if the underlying asset is not liquid, you may find that everyone else wants their cash at the same time that you do. Always be careful about investing in Illiquid funds even if they do offer liquidity. Several funds have recently been gated — stopping investors receiving their money back on the time horizons they were expecting
  4. There’s no such thing as a great investment deal — I’ll use fine wine and gold as examples here. When selling fine wine and gold, people want to know where it’s from and who’s storing it. If you’re ever offered cheap fine wine or gold, there’s probably a very good reason why it’s cheap. Be very careful. When you come to sell it, unless you can prove exactly where it’s from and who stored it, you could well find yourself selling it at the same discount — if you can sell it at all.
  5. Always research everything you buy. If you’re smart enough to make the money in the first place, you’re bright enough to know what you’re doing. Never rely purely on word of mouth.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Common sense is not so common” Voltaire

I get a lot of mining ideas from people all over the World. When I started off in this business I always assumed the people giving me these ideas knew more than me. Invariably they didn’t.

I often assumed they had a degree of common sense and would only recommend an idea they’d thoroughly researched. Unfortunately, this was not always the case.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want people to look at having at least some gold in their portfolio, most have none. Take a look at the sector. If you like it then add some to your investments. If you don’t, that’s fine as well, at least you will have considered it.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

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