Geriatric Giant Has No Fear of Markets

  • Posted by
  • on August 21st, 2011

When you’ve been around for 105 years, you tend to know a thing or two about market perspective.

Listen here, Sonny...

 

A few excerpts from The Daily Beast on 8/15/11 about investment banker Irving Kahn:

Small and gnomish, Kahn counsels patience in hard times as he holds forth on market distortions and the roots of economic unrest, which he pins on “a bunch of gamblers going crazy on the floor of the exchange.” “Wall Street,” he adds, “has always been a very poor judge of value.”

The depths of the Depression turned out to be a useful time to learn that lesson. At Columbia Business School, Kahn served as an assistant to economist Benjamin Graham, the value-investing guru whose principles of caution and defensive investing inspired a cadre of disciples that includes Warren Buffett. It’s an investment strategy born of the beating Graham had taken in ’29, and Kahn adopted it as his own. “I stopped wasting time on what people claimed a stock was worth and started looking at the numbers,” he says. “This may surprise you, but there were a large number of valuable buys during the Depression.”

Then and now, he says, the smart money was on companies with sound fundamentals. “You always had a long list of what I’d call legitimate businesses,” he says—the ones that produced food, clothing, and other essentials. “Everybody still wanted a clean shirt. They wanted to buy Procter & Gamble.” A science buff, Kahn also grew adept at spotting the long-term potential of emerging technologies and new industries.

“I’m a great bull on American democracy,” he says. “If you give me a long leash on this dog, I can hold him at bay.”

If this downturn culminates in an actual depression, says Kahn, it will end more quickly than the one he endured as a young man, because technology will somehow turn the economy around. “Sometimes favorable surprises come out of the blue.”

 

Now don’t you feel a little better…and younger?

 

source:  Advice From a 105-Year-Old Banker – The Daily Beast

 

 


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