IT WAS early 2003. A few months before, I had invested a large chunk of my savings - at my father’s suggestion - in Rolls-Royce.

With September 11 still fresh in the memory, the airline industry was on its knees. Amid fears of renationalisation, Rolls-Royce was widely considered uninvestible. Needless to say, our brave efforts were rewarded with more pain as the shares continued to drop like a stone.

Along with my mother and brother, I called up the broker and doubled down. The rest, as they say, is history. The global economy bounced back, and Rolls-Royce became the poster boy of British industry. Its share price rose over tenfold, with dividends on top.

My father – who passed away earlier this year – was a wonderful chap. A real family man, with impeccable manners and a kind word for everyone. He was also shrewd. Coming from humble beginnings, Dad won an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce and worked his way up from the shop floor, spending over 30 happy years at the company’s factory in East Kilbride.

When, some years after his retirement, he saw his former employer’s shares lying in the gutter, Dad knew. He understood all too well what Rolls-Royce had to offer: its technological leadership, the opportunities for growth and the quality of the people. He bought bucket loads. Then he bought more.

This is how many people of my father’s generation got rich. They worked hard, shunned debt and they saved. Then they took their hard-won savings and invested them in the British businesses they knew. They understood these businesses on such a level, that when some sort of temporary set-back came along, they could see the opportunity, buy in, and wait for the good times to return.

Sadly, these twin virtues of responsible saving and patient investing have fallen out of fashion.

Financial innovation has much to do with it: who wants to take the time to understand a real business and hold it patiently for years when you can invest in some whizzy new contract for difference, exchange-traded fund or cryptocurrency?

Technology has no doubt played its part as well. We are only now beginning to understand how invidious all this instant connectedness is in terms of our wellbeing. A recent study has discovered that, thanks to our digitalised lifestyles, the average human attention span has dropped to just eight seconds - less than a goldfish. In a 24/7 world of flashing screens and informational bombardment, the idea of quietly sitting back and waiting for anything seems risible.

To an inveterate contrarian, the allure of get-rich-quick-schemes from things no one really understands is as old as money itself. It is also an opportunity: all this speculation is leaving other, far better, opportunities in its wake.

Nowhere are those opportunities more plentiful than in the UK. A survey by Bank of America has found UK stocks to be the world’s most hated asset class. This reflects nothing more than a Brexit-related backlash, fuelled in part by some media outlets, special interest groups and economists. Lest we forget, the UK is a developed, modern economy, with low unemployment and the rule of law. Brexit is largely a political issue. Yes, it will bring about change, but for the proactive and prepared, change brings opportunity.

As a British contrarian investor, I find myself skipping to work at a time when some of my contemporaries are miserable and bemoaning the fact that “everything is overpriced”. Everything except this little corner of the world.

Closer to home, we see world-class Scottish outsourcers Babcock and Aggreko at near decade lows. Top-drawer North Sea services companies like Petrofac and Wood Group languish on the bargain rail. In the consumer space, it is almost impossible to find anything that isn’t priced for the Great Depression.

I could go on. But you get the picture. Here’s to you, Dad.

Andrew Hunt is a fund manager at Standard Life Investments.