Irving Kahn was the oldest active money manager on Wall Street before he passed away.
He was born in 1905 and in 2002 he said that he was still working through the night finding great stocks.
But more than his work ethic, Kahn was known for the fortune he made during the ‘Great Depression' in the 1930's.
Kahn began working on Wall Street in 1928 during a roaring bull market and became convinced a year later that stocks were overpriced in what he recalled was a “crazy market.”
Flouting conventional wisdom, he took his entire net worth at the time, $300, and shorted Magma Copper shares. When the market crashed in October 1929, Kahn's $300 had turned to $1,000.
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How Kahn made his fortune during the Great Depression
Kahn was schooled by one of the great investors and investment writers, Benjamin Graham, who himself was a mentor to the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett.
Before his death, Kahn was chairman of Kahn Brothers, a New York investment firm founded in 1978 with about $1 billion under management and headed by Thomas Kahn, Irving’s son. Irving Kahn still regularly came into the office up to the age of 108!
But after Mr Kahn’s early success in the risky business of short-selling, his approach changed to one of finding solid companies that were undervalued by the stock market and then holding on to them.
Irving Kahn said: “During the Great Depression, I could find stocks trading at tremendous discounts. I learnt from Ben Graham that one could study financial statements to find stocks that were a 'dollar selling for 50 cents’. He called this the 'margin of safety’ and it’s still the most important concept related to risk.”
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What you should get from this about today’s market
2018 was a nightmare of a year for most investors.
The JSE All-Share Index dropped 11.71% and the Small Cap index dropped a whopping 18.10%.
Investors are fearful to invest what with SA’s recent recession, political fears, a global trade war…
But the fact is – if you buy shares with a big margin of safety, ones that are trading at 30%, 40% and 50% discounts there exists incredible opportunity for upside!
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Editor, Red Hot Penny Shares