Ideas and insights for the discerning investor
Welcome to the Independent Investor website. I trust you will find something of interest here, whether that is an event, an article, a book, or details of my new forthcoming publication The Investment Reader. For more than 30 years my professional life has revolved around analysing the financial markets, initially as a journalist on national newspapers, latterly as a qualified investment professional. Aided and abetted by an extensive network of professional contacts, I aspire to offer a guiding hand to professional and private investors alike through books, columns, a newsletter and events. If you don’t know me already, you can find out more from the About link. I would be delighted to add you to my professional circle. Please feel free to sign up for more information.
Latest from my blog
It’s all about her background, stupid
There is a long and interesting profile of Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, in the latest issue of the New Yorker. As you might expect from this longstanding voice of the liberal New York elite, it paints her in a sympathetic light, and usefully draws attention to how and where her views about the role of economics and the central bank were formed. Here is a short extract, in which the author picks up on the fact that her first official public appearance after succeeding Ben Bernanke in the job was carefully chosen to send a message about her priorities: She had gone to Chicago a few weeks earlier to speak at a conference for neighbourhood revitalisation organisations – not the venue a new Fed chair wouuld ordinarily choose for a maiden speech. Yellen was sending a signal. As she put it that day “Although we work through financial markets, our goal is to help Main Street, not Wall Street”. More than five years after the financial crisis, historically high numbers of Americans are still out of the labor force, working part time when they’d rather be full time, or unemployed for more than six months. Yellen […]
My books: analysing professional investors
A new and updated edition of my first book, Money Makers, a study of eight leading professional investors, was released recently. Last year John Wiley in the United States published Templeton’s Way With Money, a fresh in-depth study of the investment methods of Sir John Templeton, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his birth. I have also edited and introduced Professional Investor Rules, a compilation of tips from leading professional investors on how to make money in the stock market (Harriman House 2013). The next project in my pipeline is a second book (after a gap of more than 20 years) about the game of bridge, which remains an absorbing second passion of mine.
I am a founding shareholder in a Brazilian farmland development company, Genagro Ltd, which directly and through its offshoot Agrifirma Brazil now has a substantial equity interest in 77,000 hectares of land in Brazil. The company transforms unproductive scrubland in central Brazil (nowhere near the rain forest, incidentally) into fertile arable land to provide food and feed to a hungry world. This article in The Spectator explains how I came to be involved in this exciting new venture. Five years on from its formation, Agrifirma, the business which Genagro seeded, is setting new standards for sustainable farmland development in Brazil and is targeting a stock market listing in due course. Farmland has more than proved its worth as an investment asset over the past decade, with prices in Brazil having more than doubled in that time.
In the past few years Independent Investor has been responsible from time to time for publishing or helping to commission a handful of titles that I believe merit a wider circulation. These include the historian Edward Chancellor’s prescient study The Coming Credit Crunch? (2006), a stark warning of the looming financial crisis that broke in 2008, Fundology by John Chatfeild-Roberts (2007), a layman’s guide to investing in funds, and Beyond the Internet Bubble, a masterful historical analysis of technology booms and busts through the centuries by my friend and co-author Sandy Nairn. Subscribers to the The Investment Reader strategy service can access to my lists of recommended books, publications and websites.