Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good advice from the man who has seen it all...

...Irving Kahn, one of the earliest members of the Value Investors' gang led by Benjamin Graham. This fortnight's issue of the Outlook Profit is carrying an interview of Mr.Kahn. The interview is worth a read, and so is the magazine (atleast thus far it seems to be reading better than many of the other finance related magazines available in the market).

In reply to one of the questions in the Outlook interview, Mr.Kahn gave the following reply:

"Yes, you are quite right, when it is raining you wear a raining jacket and when the sun in shining you don't need an umbrella. I think that you should have to be prepared for bad times and short-term depression but you have to recognize that when stocks (are trading) below fair value, that is the time to get your money out and buy equities. Also, if you are a good invetsor, you do not ask about which month or in which three months or in which year (you can get returns on your investment). Instead, you hold, waiting for a number of years for something to happen. You must allow time to pass (for market participants) to recognize what needs to be done."

The above statement makes a lot of sense. And, since a large section of today's market participants are overtly worried about the next month, quarter, year, it makes sense for long term investors to use it to their advantage. As I mentioned, in one of my earlier post,

"Growth will not be a problem so far as India as an investment destination is concerned, its the price that one pays for the investment that will determine returns over the next decade. And it is this factor that is now in the favour of the long term investor..."

A brief about Irving Kahn:

Irving Kahn (born December 19, 1905) is an American value investor and, with over 77 years experience in the investment business, one of the oldest financial analysts on Wall Street. Educated at the City College of New York, Kahn served as the second teaching assistant to Benjamin Graham at the Columbia Business School. At the time, other notable students and/or teaching assistants to Graham included future Berkshire Hathaway chairman, Warren Buffett, and future value investors William J. Ruane, Walter J. Schloss and Charles Brandes, among others. Graham had such an enormous influence on his students that both Kahn and Buffett named their sons after him. (source - wikipedia)

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