Great interview with the legendary Irving Kahn via The Telegraph

 in an exclusive interview, Telegraph Money asked him to look back over his long career and recount the key events that have influenced his strategy as an investor.

“In my early days, the equities market was dominated by speculators looking for tips,” Mr Kahn said. “The only serious investing was done by a few large institutions that stuck to bonds and shares in well-established companies.”

In the feverish summer of 1929, speculation “had driven up prices to unreasonable levels”, he said. So he decided that the way to make money was to “short-sell” a particular share, meaning he would profit from a fall, not a rise, in the price.

Irving Kahn in the Twenties

“One of my clearest memories is of my first trade, a short sale in a mining company, Magma Copper,” he remembered. “I borrowed money from an in-law who was certain I would lose it but was still kind enough to lend it. He said only a fool would bet against the bull market.” But by the time the Wall Street crash took hold in the autumn, Mr Kahn had nearly doubled his money. “This is a good example of how great enthusiasm in a company or industry is usually a sign of great risk,” he said.

The effects of the Wall Street crash were very different from the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, Mr Kahn said. “The 1929 crash was preceded by a real estate bubble like the recent one, but there were also many differences. Many individuals were leveraged [investing with borrowed money] so portfolios were wiped out.

Full article here  The Telegraph