I heard a prominent Portfolio Manager exclaim that if individual investor’s wanted to find out how the professionals manage money then they needed to pick up Robin Speziale’s new book Market Masters. Sounded good but can an individual amateur investor duplicate these investing styles. Well I found some easy and some not so easy.
We don’t have access to the same information and analysis that the professional crowd has, so is this really possible for us to achieve? This is a 600 page read so it is quite daunting. What it does in a masterful way is give us all hidden insight into how the brightest investing minds in Canada think.
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The book is comprised of 28 interviews with rules they follow and lessons they have learned from past mistakes. Robin has prefaced the start of every interview with a set of questions that were probably sent to each money master in advance. There are quite a few he asks and in my mind it is probably the most annoying part of reading this book.
The book really delivers on delving into how these great investing minds think. Everyone would walk away with a favourite professional they would like to emulate and try and implement that style. For me, I like simple. I also like dividends so I tend to like those parts of the book that focused on that.
Here is some of the advice that stood out I really liked and part of the strategies I employ in my own portfolio by Ross Grant. I follow Ross through my subscription to Moneysaver magazine here in Canada. Ross has a portfolio he publishes once a year in January called “Beat the TSX”. It’s basically a Dogs of the Dow strategy Canadian style. He picks the top ten large cap Canadian stocks with the highest yield that have lagged the market the year before. Simple and did I say I like simple? You buy them and hang on until year end. You replace the stocks once a year as new laggards appear depending on what you already own.
What you will really find out reading this book is just how much discipline it takes to be a Market Master. They never let their emotions dictate what they do on a daily basis. They stick to the plan. They are patient even in the face of market turmoil. We the amateurs tend to do the opposite and are affectionately dubbed “the dumb money”
You will meet a wide variety of investing styles throughout this book like contrarian investor Benj Gallander who practices patience and buys a lot of stocks nobody else does or would. He invests contrary to what others are doing. Could you? He reminds us to practice patient investing. For me his style is not simple enough and I could never duplicate it without a subscription to his newsletter.
A big surprise for me reading this book came from Francis Chou who said he reads and still educates himself every day. “Nothing is irrelevant” he says. He’s doing something right as he has over a billion dollars under management.
If you like reading charts and investing in a technical way then you will love what the Professor Bill Carrigan has to say about investing. He makes all his buy and sell decisions by looking at charts. I’ve tried this out and for me I never know when to sell to make money so I don’t do it. Many are very successful but I find this strategy too complicated for me.
Just about every investment style is represented in this book from growth to small cap to technical advice and dividend growth. It is a book that really delivers on the question of “what are the pros doing”? And how do they invest a client’s money when they get it.
As I said earlier I like simple styles and for me that was Ross Grant (large cap high yield companies) and Som Seif who manages Purpose Investments a company offering ETFs. There is something for everyone here but this book should be read for entertainment purposes only.
If you would like a copy it can be purchased here