Ideas and insights for the discerning investor
Welcome to the Independent Investor website. 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 offer a guiding hand to professional and private investors alike through books, columns and interviews for the Financial Times and Spectator, directorships and consultancy work, and speaking at public/private 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 join my mailing list and stay in touch.
Latest from my blog
- Brexit: surprisingly close, surprisingly consensus?
Political forecasters are having to become much more sophisticated to be credible after the notable lapses of opinion pollsters in recent elections. Stephen Fisher, the Oxford academic behind the Elections Etc website now sensibly draws on several sources, including not just polls but other normally more reliable predictors, such as bookmakers, prediction markets and so-called volunteer forecasts, to calculate the odds on the likely outcome of the Brexit referendum vote. His latest verdict: averaging out all these different sources, Remain is given a 67% chance of winning the vote, but the margin of victory will, his data suggests, be no more than 54% to 46% - similar to the final Scottish referendum vote in fact. Equally surprising to me is that the variation between the results produced by the different methodologies is so narrow (no more than plus or minus 2%). Is it really that close and that certain an outcome? Wiith nine weeks still to go, and so many undecideds still to arrive at a conclusion, there is plenty of room for movement in opinion between now and 23 June. Will the prospect of a close vote, if the figures remain this way, stun the EU into making a much better last minute offer on terms to David Cameron, like the one the Scots were given after that late rogue poll last year? Many undecideds would I am sure vote tactically for just such an outcome if it could be achieved - an intriguing thought, but given how laboriously the EU works, not an option in the real world. Even allowing for the likely existence of a "shy" Remain vote, what does seem clear is that if the figures stay this close, the nervousness in financial markets will continue to deepen as the vote approaches. Watch out also for a "wobble Wednesday" effect if we get another rogue poll, whether reliable or not.
Coming up in 2016
Look out shortly for the launch of Money Makers, a new collaborative publishing venture with Harriman House. It will include many more interviews and podcasts with leading professional investors, aimed at sophisitcated private investors, intermediaries and professionals. You can already find there Q and As with Sebastian Lyon, the CEO of Troy Asset Management, and hedge fund manager Hugh Sloane on why the Japanese equity mrket could easily double within five years. On July 13 I shall be presenting a two-hour seminar How To Invest Like Warren Buffett for the Lecture Club in London. There will also be more seminars in which leading professional investors gave their views on current market trends and opportunities. To be kept informed of future events, simply sign up to my mailing list on this page.
Books: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. In 2012 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, co-authored with Sandy Nairn and timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Templeton’s 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.
In the past few years Independent Investor has been responsible for publishing or helping to commission a handful of investment titles that 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 (now out of print), 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. My most recent collaboration was with Mark Dampier on his book Effective Investing.