Masters of Finance, PACE University, New York. Pension Consultant, Pension Associates, Stamford, Connecticut Prior work experience: -24 months as a proprietary trader trading in NYSE and NASDAQ. -14 months as a C++ developer at a Top-20 IT Consulting organization, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd, India. Portfolio Manager: 2004-2007 ~Investing in stocks listed on Indian exchanges.
Founder of "The Contrarian", a premium research service, featuring the "Bet The Farm" Portfolio. Actively investing since 1995, I have soared like an eagle, and been unmercifully humbled by the markets. Achieved positive returns in 2008, and turned an account with $60,310 on 1/1/2009 into an account with $3,177,937 on 11/30/2009. My best years have been 1995-2003, 2008-2012, and 2016-????. My worst years were 2013-2015. I believe inflation is coming, and we are at an inflection point in the markets.
Twenty year career as an investment analyst, investor, portfolio manager, consultant, and writer. Founder of Koldus Contrarian Investments, Ltd, which was incorporated in the spring of 2009. Dyed in the wool contrarian investor, who has learned, the hard way, that a good contrarian is only contrarian 20% of the time, but being right at key inflection points is the key to meaningful wealth creation in the markets. I believe we are near a meaningful inflection point, perhaps the biggest one yet, for the third time in the past 15 years.
Historically, I have had huge wins and impressive losses based on a concentrated, contrarian strategy. Trying to keep the good while filtering out the bad.
Seeking to run an all weather portfolio with minimal volatility and index overlays to capture my strategic and tactical recommendations along with a concentrated best ideas portfolio, which is my bread and butter, but the volatility only makes it suitable for a small piece of an investor's overall portfolio. The following are a couple of my favorite investment quotes.
"Life and investing are long ballgames." Julian Robertson
"A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure."
"Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Albert Einstein
I’ve been on top of the world, and the world has been on top of me. I have learned to enjoy the perspective from each view, and use opportunities to persistently acquire knowledge, and enjoy the company of those around me, especially loved ones, family, and friends.
At heart, I am a market historian with an unrivaled passion for the capital markets. I have had a long history and specialization with concentrated positions and options trading. Made money in 2008 with a net long portfolio, deploying capital in some of the market's darkest hours into long positions including purchases of American Express, Atlas Energy, Crosstex, First Industrial Real Estate, General Growth Properties, Genworth, Macquarie Infrastructure, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and Vornado near their lows. Shorting, hedging, and option strategies also helped me in 2007 and 2009, and these are skills that I have developed ever since I started trading heavily in 1996.I enjoy reading, accumulating knowledge, and putting this knowledge to work in the active capital markets, learning lessons along the way.To this day, I continue to learn, and some of these learning lessons have been excruciatingly difficult ones, especially over the past several years, as I made mistakes allocating capital, including a sizable portion of my own capital (I always invest alongside my clients), to commodity related stocks. While all commodity related stocks have struggled since April of 2011, coal companies, which attracted me due to their extremely cheap valuations, and out-of-favor status (I am a strong believer in behavioral finance alongside fundamentals and technicals) have been the worst investing mistake of my career. The focus on the commodity arena has been the biggest mistake of my investment career thus far, yet in its aftermath, I see tremendous opportunity, even larger in scope than the fortuitous 2008/2009 environment.The capital that I accumulated and the confidence gained in navigating the treacherous investment waters of 2008 gave me the confidence to launch my own investment firm in the spring of 2009, right before the ultimate lows in the stock market. At the time I was working as a senior analyst at one of the largest RIA's in the country, and I felt strongly that the market environment was the best time since 1974/1975 to start an investment firm.
Prior to starting my firm, I was a senior analyst for three different firms over approximately 10 years (Charles Schwab, Redwood, Oxford), moving up in responsibility and scope at each stop along my journey. Since I was a paperboy, I have always had an interest in the investment markets. I love researching and finding opportunities. I am a Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, as well as a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, CAIA. After starting in the teaching program at Ball State University, I switched to a career in finance when I turned a small student loan into a substantial amount of capital. I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance from Ball State.
Full disclosure, I am not currently a registered investment advisor, though I did serve in this capacity from 2009-2014, while owning Koldus Contrarian Investments, Ltd. Additionally, I held various securities licenses from 2000-2014, without a single complaint filed, and I continue to hold industry designations. At the end of 2014, I voluntarily let my state registration expire, as I transitioned the business to a different structure. Prior to this, I had passed, and held, various securities exams and licenses, including the Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 exams, in addition to others, alongside my CFA and CAIA designations. Unfortunately, I did not file the proper paperwork to withdraw my state registration, and I did not disclose a personal arrangement, and subsequent civil case, between myself and a former close personal friend and client, that was initiated in 2011. I was unaware that I was required to disclose these items, and my securities attorney, at the time, did not advise me to do so. Previously, I had managed a portfolio for this gentleman, and we had taken an investment of approximately $7 million in 2009, and grown it to over $25 million at the beginning of 2012. After a difficult year of performance, an employee of the firm I owned, and friend, resigned in early 2013, and took the aforementioned client to a competing firm. As a result of not filing the proper paperwork, I agreed to a settlement, with a potential $2500 fine in the future, depending on if I choose to reapply to be a non-exempt advisor.
Finished CFA level 1 & CAIA level 1 in a breeze. Looking forward to CAIA level 2 and CFA level 2. Made top 1% on the Bloomberg BAT, but was a black sheep at my mediocre college, and I was foolish to let it affect me. (non-traditional student)
Hope to write some quality articles in the coming year.
I was playing with fire my first year in the market, using a lot of call options. It was easy to make 50+% gain in 1st yr, summer '13 to summer '14 (thank you bull mkt). This past half year has been a little rough; I wish I had acted more decisively on material information about the energy market and the movement of the Ruble ($YNDX is a favorite).
I remember announcing the probably course of events to family the morning after OPEC's Thanksgiving's Day announcements, and I regrettably decided to wait it through b/c our professors chided us to take a buy and hold approach, and b/c I had bought some quality energy names at very fair prices in October. In retrospect, I realize the importance of optionality or in a sense, degrees of freedom.
In this case, I realize I am too committed to a base scenario (energy stocks recovering in the next year) that has too much opportunity cost. If the price adjustment cycle lasts longer than the expected scenario, then I will be unhappy with the opportunities lost. An equal weight short position would have been an ideal temporary maneuver, expressing my short-term thesis, while not causing commitment angst in the present, hoping for the long-term adjustment to blow over.
I was entrusted with a fresh 100K family capital this past summer, and I plan to be more prudent and thorough (obviously with minimal leverage or derivatives). This market is a little dangerous with high debt loads in China, somewhat high valuation levels (horrible Schiller CAPE ratio, but not sure if that matters as much), and jitters over rate hike, Ukraine, terrorism, epidemics, difficulty of private sector adjusting to Obamacare, and possible fiscal & monetary stimulus tapering.
I think low energy prices is a great stimulus, but the possibilities of a perfect storm with semi-hard landing in China or Europe, a serious violent flare-up with Russia or the Terror War, and disease outbreak could somehow happen at just the wrong time (perhaps, right after a rate hike).
I've read a fair amount of Buffett. But I love the tech industry mostly. To humor Buffett (a tech dinosaur), I bought a tiny bit of IBM. It has been working hard to transform its whole business, and actually has some top-notch talent and product portfolios with a fairly conservative valuation. The market is probably right that is a long-shot that IBM will grow significantly again, despite its immense technology assets and partnerships. Recent comment: feel lucky to have exited IBM at a small gain; mulling a re-entry and annoyed that I missed the recent Google explosion. Google is solidifying its reach and ecosystem, but at steep multiples.
I've been away from investing for much of the past half year (now dec'15), partly because I was getting cyberattacks on my twitter account, my computer, and broker connection was being intercepted, which made me very uncomfortable. My car also very suddenly needed an engine replacement that same week, despite a thorough check-up a month prior. I'm having a hard time moving forward, after severe blacklisting after-effects, (too long & weird to discuss).
CAIA & CFA level 1s were super-easy even though I was underprepared. I look forward to embracing the challenge. I will end up working in Europe or abroad, if I have to. Lucky to get tons of invites from Bloomberg recruitment due to top notch scores, but haven't really applied b/c of crummy school issues. Plan to work on Wall Street Prep & hopefully some SA articles.
Dreamjob: working for a hedge fund focussing in equities, preferably with a multicultural bunch (I'm half european / half asian american)
Long-term dream job: top-notch hedge fund manager
My favorite time horizon: 3mo to 18mo, b/c best chance of having a direct connect with news & analysis. market moves too fast to be primarily buy & hold, albeit such a mid-term outlook forfeits the benefit of effective interest-free loan in the the form of deferred taxes (as Buffett makes use of) as well as benefit of a capital gains rate, but on the other hand, a mid-term outlook maximizes flexibility. I'm trying to stay more grounded in fundamentals, flesh out the invest case for a quite a handful of stocks, and balancing risks in wide portfolio. Plan to explore ETF's more.