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 35 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, consultancy 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 to stay in touch.
Latest from my blog
- Inveighing against economic vandalism
Bruce Stout, manager of the Murray International investment trust, whose shareholders have tripled their money over the last ten years, inveighs against the “economic vandalism” of QE and unconventional monetary policy in a interview with me in the latest isssue of The Spectator. His doleful conclusion: “Savers will be watching their savings being eaten away for a long time to come”. You can read a fuller version of the interview, which includes his thoughts on where the best future investment returns can be found, on the Independent Investor website.
- The disaster that was RBS: an Independent Investor event
What really caused the spectacular collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008? Why have no senior bankers ever been prosecuted for their part in the reckless lending spree that required a huge taxpayer bailout to resolve? How did it happen and what can we do to prevent this kind of corporate disaster happening again? Why was the Blair government so keen to encourage RBS in its breakneck expansion strategy? What are the risks of another major bank collapse in future? You can hear and debate answers to all these questions at an Independent Investor event I am hosting in central London at 9am on December 2nd 2014.
The guest speaker is Ian Fraser, the award-winning Scottish author and journalist, whose book Shredded: Inside RBS, The Bank That Broke Britain has been long-listed for this year’s FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year. Tickets for this event - an hour of discussion and debate, including Q and As from the audience – are now on sale. You can find out more – and reserve a ticket – by following this link to the event website, which is being organised jointly by Independent Investor and the How To Academy. Light refreshments available.
- Beyond the stock market correction
The current stock market correction is likely to be over quite soon, the fund manager Neil Woodford suggested yesterday, and I suspect that he is right for now. His view, sensible as always, is that the main reason for the market's fall is that investors have taken fright at the evidence of slower than hoped for global economic growth, particularly in Japan and Europe, plus a number of other contingent factors. The market correction, the sharpest for over two years, is long overdue, given increasing investor complacency in the face of Federal Reserve and other central bank manipulation of market prices.
Analysing professional investors
A new and updated edition of my first book, Money Makers, a study of eight leading professional investors, was released in 2013. 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, and a guide to investing in funds online.
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.