Marc Faber

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Investor profile at InvestingByTheBooks: The book The World’s 99 Greatest Investors: The Secret of Success provides a unique opportunity to learn form the most prominent investors globally. In the book they generously share their experiences, advice and insights and we are proud to present these excerpts. Magnus Angenfelt, previously a top ranked sell side analyst and hedge fund manager, will be presenting one investor per month. For those who cannot wait for the monthly columns, we strongly recommend you to buy the book. The investor himself writes the first section below and then Angenfelt describes the background of the investor and comments on his investment philosophy. Enjoy.

Be very careful of any forecast. Usually, analysts, fund managers, and strategists can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, whereas they ignore the most obvious facts when these facts are not welcome.

Watch day and night (the latter very important) with curiosity what is happening around you because the greatest investment opportunities are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

We all need to remind ourselves that we have no idea how the world will look like in five years, let alone ten. Therefore, some of our business or investment decisions will be very wrong. But, what we need to focus upon is what the consequences could be, if we are wrong.

Investors mostly fail because they find it very hard to do nothing. But by spending a day in a round of strenuous idleness without your mobile phone and Blackberry, you may see the future more clearly. Remember, patience is also a form of action.

BORN Zurich, Switzerland 1946.

EDUCATION Faber studied economics at the University of Zurich and, at the age of 24, obtained a Ph.D. in Economics.

CAREER Between 1970 and 1978, Faber worked for the investment bank White Weld & Company Ltd. in New York, Zurich, and Hong Kong. Since 1973, he has lived in Hong Kong. From 1978 to February 1990, he was the managing director of Drexel Burnham Lambert (HK) Ltd. In June 1990, he set up his own business, Marc Faber Ltd., which acts as an investment advisor and fund manager. In addition, he publishes a widely read monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report, writes books, and is a regular contributor to several leading financial publications around the world.

INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY Faber invests and advises all over the world in almost all asset classes. He relies on his command of economic history as well as his time as a trader. He focuses on macro, strategy and gold. For people in the investment community, he is maybe known as the most notorious bear in the market and at the same time a contrarian investor. The first is not always true. He has made several bullish calls, of which Brazil stocks in 1990s and world stock market in spring 2009 are the most remembered. The following cornerstones advice gives a sense of his investment philosophy: (i) Everything comes to the investor who buys out-of-favour and neglected assets. (ii) The best way to make money is to buy value stocks: low price to sales, low price to book, low price to cash flow, high dividend yield. (iii) Never forget to diversify properly. (iv) Never get carried away by a lucky investment with outsized gains. (v) Stay single! Even if he digs into specific stocks and sectors he spends most time on the macro level. He is keen on the Austrian School of economics.

OTHER He is well-known for being prescient about the 2008 financial crisis; the Asian crisis months before it happened; warning his clients to cash out before Black Monday in 1987; forecasting the burst in the Japanese bubble in 1990; correctly predicting the collapse in US gaming stocks in 1993; foreseeing the Asia-Pacific financial crisis of 1997/98; and so on. His mantra is ‘Follow the course opposite to custom and you will almost always be right’. His book Tomorrow’s Gold was for several weeks on Amazon’s best-seller list. The Gloom Boom & Doom Report uses economic, social, and historical trends to warn investors when investment themes have become widely accepted and are, therefore, highly priced and risky, while it continuously searches for opportunities in unloved and depressed markets. Gold is the asset where he has been most successful. His web site is illustrated with 17th century paintings of “The Dance of Death” and he is nicknamed Dr Doom. He has a collection of a quarter of a million Mao badges and has a ponytail.

Sources: Marc Faber;; Wikipedia.