Factors influencing investment behavior in South Africa are a matter of considerable interest among stockbrokers, business strategists, public officials and ordinary people. This paper attempts to characterize and profile the individual investor on the Johannesburg securities exchange (JSE) in order to establish if there have been changes in this grouping over the past two decades. In addition, the paper considers how these changes affect the investment community in current times. The paper draws on data collected in the 1980s as well as data collected by the author more recently. In the latter case, self administered questionnaires were electronically mailed to on-line investors. The responses were analyzed using univariate analysis and frequency tables and the data were compared with those of Firer, who conducted a similar study in the 1980s. Some of the key changes over the past two decades were investors who are now more concentrated in the middle age group, have higher qualifications, hold fewer securities in their portfolio, most invest for the long term, use the all share index to compare performance and feel that they could achieve a much higher return on their investment than previously. These findings provide some opportunities for purveyors of financial services to be selective in their approach to various groups of individual investors.
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