Stockopedia academy

Lessons from the world's most successful investors

Here, you'll find in-depth interviews with a number of the world's most prolific investors. This series contains a treasure trove of impactful insights for DIY investors.

Introduction to the guru investors

Ben Hobson

As Strategies Editor at the stock market research platform Stockopedia, I’m in a fortunate position. For several years I’ve had the advantage of spending most of my time reading and writing about what works in the stock market. Most individual investors simply don’t have the time to do that.

For this series, I interviewed a number of well-known investors who were either trading on their own account or managing large investment funds. Among them was a peer in the House of Lords, an ex-journalist-turned-DIY investing hero, and a fund manager who set out to mimic Warren Buffett and made a mint.

While their styles and strategies vary enormously, what they share in common is that they’ve all profited handsomely from investing over time. By sharing the highs and lows of their journeys, they offer some fascinating insights for anyone with aspirations of building wealth from the stock market.

One of the overarching themes here is how investment strategies based on simple principles are often the most effective. With a sound strategy at hand, it’s much easier to maintain the kind of discipline needed to stick with it. That’s arguably what really sets the most successful investors apart.

Learning from the best

There are two types of investor in this series; those who manage their own money and those who manage other people’s money.

The individual investors include Lord (John) Lee of Trafford, Robbie Burns and Mark Minervini. While they have very different backgrounds, they’ve all achieved considerable wealth and long-term outperformance. To varying degrees they’ve also become brands in themselves and attracted a wide following of investors who hold them in high regard.

The professional fund managers include Mark Slater, Gervais Williams, Giles Hargreave, Nick Kirrage and Keith Ashworth-Lord. Again, their strategies, styles and investment philosophies vary widely. But in an industry that is obsessed with performance, they’ve each built solid and highly respected track records.

What’s in this for you?

Behavioural psychologists have found that humans are often ill-suited to investing. Emotional flaws, biases and cognitive errors can hamper the sorts of cold-hearted decisions needed to win in the stock market. Yet just knowing about these pitfalls can put you on the road to overcoming them.

So reading about the experiences, the strategies, the hopes and fears of successful investors is both entertaining and illuminating. All of the investors in this series were humble about their own failures. In fact, their long-term success seemed to liberate them to explain, and often laugh about things that had gone (often badly) wrong. There was a universal acceptance that there was nothing to fear from investments that turn sour - rather it’s how one deals with and moves on from a bad situation that is crucial.

These interviews offer a snapshot of how some of the best investors operate. They illustrate how to build and refine an investment strategy and then apply it consistently. And they show how long-term outperformance can be achieved with commitment, humility and good humour.

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