Cape Town - Chris Hart has defended his reputation, stating that he never falsified his qualifications or lied about the matter to his employers.
Hart broke his silence after he resigned as an investment strategist at Standard Bank Wealth and Investment, pending a disciplinary hearing that was instituted against him in January.
He was criticised following a controversial 21-word tweet: "More than 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities."
Speaking to Fin24 in a telephonic interview, Hart said this was part of a series of tweets, which was "unfortunately deemed to be racist".
Following a severe backlash, attention then turned to his qualifications with his academic transcripts being scrutinised in the media, and his reputation as an esteemed commentator on the economy drawn into question. There was concern over why he was widely referred to as an economist, when he had not obtained any post-graduate tertiary qualification.
Setting the record straight, Hart told Fin24 that with his qualifications and experience, he had positioned himself as a financial market strategist.
"People were saying I had no qualifications at all. I have never ever claimed qualifications I've never had. I have never ever tried to falsify it.
"My employers have always verified - completely and thoroughly - what I had. Records of what I've got and what I've claimed to my employers are exactly what I've got."
Hart has a higher diploma in education and bachelor of commerce degree obtained from Wits University. He was also studying towards an MBA but during this time his brother was murdered, resulting in him not completing his thesis.
He further said: "When you talk about what an economist is, there is no formal definition in terms of minimum academic qualifications."
Hart maintained that the combination of his qualifications, which includes more that seven years' post matric studies, and his work experience hold him in good stead.
"I have built up my career and track record through hard work. I have always had the confidence of my employers both at Absa Investment Solutions and also at Standard Bank," he said.
Where to from here?
Hart told Fin24 he has three projects in mind.
“The first thing that I am looking at is to work on an impact investing fund where the impact of the investment is in fact job creation,” said Hart, who has been thinking about the concept since last year.
He said he already has partners on board, so he's hoping to bring it to fruition.
“The second thing is that I am going into is consulting and delivering speeches, effectively to do what I've always done.”
This, said Hart, is to unpack his understanding of the economic landscape and the challenges that businesses and investors face - not just locally but also abroad.
“The third thing is also something that I've been working on since last year and that is working with a group called Citizens in Partnership with Government."
This entails a nation building project aimed at uplifting communities, he explained.