On the face of it, Buffett and Soros investment styles seem to have little in common. A new book suggest that both practice the same mental habits and strategies. They share similar beliefs about the nature of the markets.
In "The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett and George Soros," its author outlines their 23 "winning" investment habits – tactics and strategies that he believes other investors can learn from. Many of these "habits" seem to fly in the face of conventional Wall Street wisdom: for example, Buffett and Soros do not diversify. And when they buy, they always buy as much as they can. Both will say that making predictions about the market or economy has virtually nothing to do with investment success.
Here’s the list of 23 habits:
A master investor:
1. Believes the first priority is preservation of capital.
2. As a result, is risk-averse.
3. Has developed his own investment philosophy, which is an expression of his personality. As a result, no two highly successful investors have the same approach.
4. Has developed his own personal system for selecting, buying and selling investments.
5. Believes diversification is for the birds.
6. Hates to pay taxes, and arranges his affairs to legally minimise his tax bill.
7. Only invests in what he understands.
8. Refuses to make investments that do not meet his criteria. Can effortlessly say ‘no’.
9. Is continually searching for new investment opportunities that meet his criteria and actively engages in his own research.
10. Has the patience to wait until he finds the right investment.
11. Acts instantly when he has made a decision.
12. Holds a winning investment until a pre-determined reason to exit arrives.
13. Follows his own system religiously.
14. Is aware of his own fallibility. Corrects mistakes the moment they arise.
15. Always treats mistakes as learning experiences.
16. As his experience increases, so do his returns.
17. Almost never talks to anyone about what he’s doing. Not interested in what others think of his investment decisions.
18. Has successfully delegated most, if not all, of his responsibilities to others.
19. Lives far below his means.
20. Does what he does for stimulation and self-fulfilment – not for money.
21. Is emotionally involved with the process of investing; but can walk away from any individual investment.
22. Lives and breathes investing, 24 hours a day.
23. Puts his money where his mouth is. For example, Warren Buffet has 99 per cent of his net worth in shares of Berkshire Hathaway; George Soros, similarly, keeps most of his money in his Quantum Fund. For both, the destiny of their personal wealth is identical to that of the people who have entrusted money to their management.
Interesting stuff . . .
Inside the strategy of Soros and Buffett
The Scotsman, Sat 8 Apr 2006
Becoming Rich : The Wealth-Building Secrets of the World’s Master Investors Buffett, Icahn, Soros
St. Martin’s Press (April 1, 2005)