Banker Pours Money Into South African Farm

Banker Michael Jordaan is off duty and about to enjoy the fruits of his second job: wine farming.

Jordaan, 43 — head of FirstRand Ltd.’s retail banking unit, First National Bank — arrives for dinner at La Cucina Di Ciro, a popular Italian restaurant in Johannesburg’s leafy Parktown North suburb. He’s carrying two bottles of his wines, which he opens as soon as he’s whipped off his jacket and tie.

“I am logical, rational, cash-flow-and-return-on-equity- maximized,” he says, raising a glass of white. “A wine farm is exactly the opposite. Wine is irrational, the cash flow is bad, there’s no return on equity.”

Jordaan is a banker who is using his wealth to indulge his passions. Other FirstRand executives have wine farms in the area. After two years in his current banking job, Jordaan got the chance to buy back the family farm, Bartinney, which had been sold by his dad. The business has long-term potential: His wine has already won an award. He hopes he has the timing right.