NYU Stern MBA Grad and long-time personal investor. Avid reader and admirer of Buffett, Munger, Fisher, Lynch, Marks, Dorsey, Swensen, and others. Former musician, writer, filmmaker. Poker enthusiast and fantasy sports champion.
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.
My goal at Seeking Alpha is to share my research insights with the community. I don't try to predict the future. Instead, I try to find solid businesses.
I take calculated risks based on likely economic scenarios. My preferred method for investing is to perform a full evaluation of a business, then invest when a decent margin of safety is available. Although some companies are so good that they are never cheap, so a premium is worth it. I come across many companies each day. I wish to evaluate all of them, but time is limited and I also want to have fun. Therefore, I don't get to invest in all the companies I come across.
All the articles presented in Seeking Alpha are my own opinion. They're not investment recommendations. Consider my articles for informational and entertainment purposes.
Ian’s Insider Corner research focuses primarily on long-term dividend-paying companies with stable and reliable growth, stocks suitable for individual retirement accounts. Ian also looks for “niche” shorter-term trading opportunities, and coverage. During the 3-years Ian worked at Kerrisdale Capital, the New York-based activist hedge fund had great success exposing fraudulent companies. Kerrisdale Capital returned almost 200% in 2011, and more than 300% in total. Ian Bezek offers in-depth coverage of all the stocks in his “IMF” portfolio.
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I'm a Managing Director at A North Investments (ANI), a quantitative hedge fund based in New York. Those who'd like to contact me, private message me here or email me at email@example.com.
Paul Allen is editor of WallStreetCourier.com
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