The Australian Investors Podcast
The Australian Investors Podcast is a new series exploring the investment philosophies and journeys of some of Australia's leading investors and financial thinkers.
Join Owen Raszkiewicz, founder of The Rask Group, as he profiles expert guests who share their unique stories of success and failure, and learn how to better invest your time and money.
Follow Owen on Twitter: @OwenRask
Episode 1 - Wayne Peters: Patience Pays
My guest for today’s show is Wayne Peters. Wayne is the founder and chief investment officer of Peters MacGregor Capital Management in Sydney.
His firm specialises in investing in global share markets, something Wayne has done since the early 1990’s. I was thrilled when Wayne agreed to appear on the show because his journey to investing is both highly unconventional but impressive.
This episode is jam-packed with nuggets of timeless wisdom. The principles can be applied beyond investing, to everyday life, learning and more.
Episode 2 - Andrew Page: Brand Power
Andrew Page is the founder of Strawman.com, a growing online investment community where Australian investors can share and scrutinise each other’s investment ideas. If you’re an avid consumer of financial media in Australia, chances are, you would have seen Andrew on television.
I had a lot of fun talking to Andrew about his journey from biology to investing to business, and the trials and tribulations of early entrepreneurship. Andrew shares some great lessons about building a brand, being critical of your own ideas and embracing the wisdom of others.
Please enjoy my conversation with Andrew Page.
Episode 3 - Tony Hansen: Glacial
Tony Hansen is my guest for today’s show. I’ve been wanting to speak with Tony for a while because the way he thinks about investing and the management of money is unconventional and potentially disruptive.
Tony founded EGP Capital, an Australian funds management business based in Sydney.
Tony’s early life was filled with bad luck, good luck, hard work and skill. After finding himself with hundreds of thousands of debt as a teenager, Tony learnt some hard lessons about business and money very early in life.
Despite his success in more recent times, however, Tony is grounded, very humble and generous with his time. And he has some great lessons to share.
I hope you enjoy this episode with Tony Hansen of EGP Capital.
Episode 4 - Charlie Aitken - Quality
Charlie Aitken, the founder of Aitken Investment Management is my guest in this episode.
Charlie was Australia’s most widely known stockbroker before he started his own investment management company.
Charlie started his career on the floors of the Sydney futures exchange, picking up trade slips from experienced brokers. Eventually, he moved into a role where he would provide colourful market updates which were read by investors around the world.
In this episode, Charlie tells us why his mum was the investor in the family, why he backed one of Australia’s top-performing companies over the past 20 years and how and why he buys the best companies from Australia, Asia and beyond.
Please enjoy this episode with Charlie Aitken.
Episode 5 - Andrew Brown - Leverage
Andrew Brown is the Director of East72, a Sydney-based investment company that resembles a true-to-label Australian hedge fund (except it’s not a fund).
Andrew has a long and rich history in the Australian investment management industry, having overseen the management of billions of dollars invested on the ASX.
I could have talked to Andrew for hours. This episode is much longer than our previous episodes because it goes deeper into Andrew’s career as a stockbroker and fund manager, the Dotcom boom and bust, the GFC, starting private investment companies, shorting shares of Tesla, researching UBER’s impact on the cab industry, valuation, banking, insurance, cryptocurrencies and using debt and derivatives to gear a portfolio 400%.
Andrew’s investment philosophy and some current positions are discussed towards the back half of the episode.
To kick things off we start with a hard question Andrew had to answer at 15 years of age.
Episode 6 - Steven McCarthy - Humility
Steven McCarthy is Portfolio Manager at DMX Asset Management.
Steven is a qualified CPA and a passionate value investor. Prior to DMX, Steven spent time as an expert company valuer working on mergers and acquisitions, and in insolvency.
Steven is known for his investments in high-quality small companies on the Australian stock exchange. We spend some time talking about his journey to finance, his investment beliefs, philosophy and process, as well as some of the most common mistakes small company investors make.
At the end of the episode Steven answers my favourite question with one of the best answers so far.
Please enjoy this conversation with Steven McCarthy of DMX Asset Management.
Episode 7 - Robin Bowerman - Vanguard
In this episode I chat with Robin Bowerman, the Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard Australia.
Robin is a former journalist, an author and has been with Vanguard Australia since 2003.
Vanguard is the world leader in low-cost index funds and exchange traded funds. It has changed the world of finance for almost every Australian, whether we choose to admit it or not.
Therefore, some of the talking points in this episode should be heard and understood by investors of all stripes. Robin and I talk about his journey, common failures by smart investors, culture at Vanguard, why almost all active funds underperform over many years and the prospects for index investing going forward.
We start with Robin’s journey long before he started at Vanguard.
Episode 8 - Emanuel Datt - Family
Emanuel Datt is the Managing Director of the Datt Family Office and Datt Capital, a relatively new investment management company based in Melbourne.
In this episode, we discuss Emanuel’s early life and growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, his mother was a general practitioner while his father owned and operated a motel and invested heavily in commercial property.
Emanuel talks at length about his earliest successes and failures in markets, the psychology of investing, culture, a major ASX-listed technology investment, lending large sums of money to property developers and running a multi-asset portfolio.
Please enjoy this episode with Emanuel Datt of Datt Capital.
Episode 9 - Luke Cummings - Arbitrage
Luke Cummings is the Chief Investment Officer and Co-Founder of Harvest Lane Asset Management, a funds management company which focuses on ‘special situations’.
From a business perspective, Luke has been very successful in a relatively short period of time. As a teenager, he mingled with some of Australia’s most highly regarded investors, before rising quickly through the ranks at eTrade and has since co-founded two businesses.
Luke emphasises some important lessons about working hard and taking calculated risks. His investment philosophy is relatively unique in Australia but while it may seem complicated, Luke distills the key tenants very well throughout the episode.
If you’re new to the world of hedge funds or merger arbitrage and think you may need to brush up on some key terms to get the most from this discussion please visit this page, where we’ve created a free short course addressing the key ideas discussed in this and other episodes.
Please enjoy this conversation with Luke Cummings of Harvest Lane Asset Management.
Episode 10 - Ben McGarry - Absolute
Ben McGarry is the Founder of Totus Capital.
The Latin word for Totus means absolute. It’s a fitting name because Ben is now one of Australia’s leading hedge fund managers, having been thrust into the spotlight following a number of high profile sell-offs and collapses, such as ABC Learning.
Upon graduating from UQ with a commerce degree, Ben went to work at a large accounting firm to master his technical skills before moving to London to start investing.
In this episode, Ben talks about the experiences that shaped his investment philosophy before going into detail on the key things he looks for when short-selling Aussie companies.
Ben and I talk at length about business, big economic issues, some infamous corporate events and the success of Totus to date.
Given the nature of our conversation, if you’re new to the world of hedge funds or need to brush up on some lessons please visit the Rask Finance website where we’ve created a free short video course addressing some of the concepts discussed in this and other episodes. Putting aside a few minutes to understand the key terms will mean you get a lot more from this and future episodes.
This is a rare chance to learn from one of the sharpest thinkers in the game, so I trust you’ll enjoy this conversation with Ben McGarry of Totus Capital.
Episode 11 - Chad Slater - Worldly
Chad Slater is the co-founder of Morphic Asset Management, a high-profile Sydney-based investment company which invests with more than one purpose. He runs a hedge fund which also excludes (or short-sells) companies which his team believes are unethical.
Chad is one of the brightest and passionate investors I’ve come across. But what makes this episode so incredible is how candid, transparent and honest he is about his journey through his youth, early career and investing.
Chad received top grades at school, spent time at some of the world’s best investment firms and now co-leads a team of motivated professionals. But Chad’s story isn’t all roses.
Having grown up in PNG, Chad vividly recounts his father’s decision to uproot the family, take risks and start a small business in the country which stood in contrast to Australia in economic and social terms.
This is an episode I’ll be listening to again and again through time because it includes so many profound ideas about money and investing.
Remember, if you’re new to the world of investing and hedge funds or you need to brush up on some key terms please visit the Rask Finance website where we’ve created a free short video series addressing some ideas discussed in this and other episodes. Putting aside a few minutes to understand the key terms will mean you get a lot more from this and future episodes.
Please enjoy this conversation with Chad Slater, co-founder of Morphic Asset Management.
Episode 12 - Curtis Larson - Temperament
My guest for this episode is Curtis Larson, a private investor and portfolio manager for Norse Capital.
Curtis is extremely generous with his time, making this episode amongst the easiest and relaxed conversations of the series thus far. But don’t let that fool you, this chat is filled with nuggets of timeless wisdom gained over a career spanning more than two decades.
Curtis grew up in Asia, trained as a computer engineer in Canada, worked for companies based in London, Paris and Tokyo. Now he resides in Sydney.
A graduate of the prestigious Yale University, Curtis and I discuss his time growing up in a family that didn’t talk about money, his various jobs, successes and failures, and investment strategy.
Curtis spent time in investment banking designing quant models and trading options. As with some prior episodes, we try to keep the ideas as informative as possible. But if you find yourself a little lost, I encourage you to listen again or take our free video courses on the Rask Finance website. Alternatively, reach out to me with any questions you may have.
Although we didn’t capture this discussion directly in the show, Curtis believes it is vital for self-directed investors to ask themselves if they have the temperament, inclination and time to invest on their own accord.
Please enjoy this superb discussion with Curtis Larson of Norse Capital.
Episode 13 - Johnny Shapiro - Info
If you can, read this article BEFORE listening: “Inside The Boiler Room That Is Big Un”
My guest for this episode is Johnny Shapiro. Johnny is a Senior Reporter for The Australian Financial Review, Australia’s number-one finance newspaper.
In recent years, Johnny and his colleagues at AFR have been responsible for reporting on the unraveling of some of our country’s highest profile corporate collapses. In this episode we talk about Johnny’s career, growing up with a freedom fighter for a grandmother and a gold trading grandfather and how his investigative journalism unravelled an ASX technology company’s darkest secrets.
Finally, Johnny concludes with the story of how he missed out on a 60,000 bagger investment return. But first we start with a story…
Episode 14 - Ilan Israelstam - Exchange
Ilan Israelstam is Head of Strategy and Marketing at Betashares, a fast-growing Australian funds management company that focuses on ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds. He is also a principal at venture capital firm Apex Capital Partners.
Ilan takes us through his story and why it was in his D.N.A to take risk, the world of Venture Capital, what he looks for in small financial companies, how ETFs are changing the investing world and much more.
First, Ilan tells us why he has 30 pairs of shoes…
Episode 15 - Melissa Browne - Advice
Melissa Browne is a three-time author, a financial adviser at The Money Barre, serial entrepreneur and shoe-loving accountant. She’s also a regular on TV and writer for Fairfax. She’s also been featured in Vogue, Cosmo and named by the AFR and Westpac in the top 100 Women of Influence.
In this episode, we talk about Mel’s early days, the journey from law to accounting, building businesses, writing books, financial advice and more. Mel is a speed reader, having read thousands of books before writing her own, so I ask her for her must-read finance books.
I trust you’ll enjoy this conservation with Melissa Browne of The Money Barre.
Episode 16 - Chris Brycki
Chris Brycki is the founder of Stockspot, Australia’s largest robo investment adviser. Chris is a very intelligent, evidence-based investor. He’s a big advocate for investing via index funds and ETFs, and keeping costs low inside and outside of Super.
Chris is a member of the Cancer Council’s investment committee and ASIC’s board for digital innovation.
I could have chatted to Chris for hours because I really enjoyed his candour and insights about portfolio management. I think every investor, beginner to advanced, should consider his insights in developing robust portfolio management strategies of their own.
To begin, Chris and I discuss a tense investing conversation he had live on television.
Episode 17 - Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson is the Co-Founder of Equitise, a crowdsourcing platform which allows small investors to buy into small and large private companies. Traditionally, the pre-IPO industry has been reserved for established venture capital funds, sophisticated investors and fund managers. Equitise opens up this market to investors of all sizes and takes a small cut of the amount raised on its platform.
For many reasons, investing in small private companies is at the highly risky end of the equity market, so keep that in mind. However, while savvy small company investors often achieve a hit rate of less than 40%, they can unearth one or two companies with significant long-term potential.
Throughout this conversation, Jonny tells how he got involved in finance, the genesis of the Australian and Kiwi crowdsourcing industry, how beer and an idea with a mate led to him quitting his job and starting a business within two months and why crowdsourcing could have a big future ahead.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jonny Wilkinson, Co-Founder of Equitise. LISTEN NOW!
Episode 18 - Sebastian Evans
Sebastian Evans is the Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of NAOS asset management. Sebastian spends most of his time sifting through the smallest companies on the stock market and, when he finds the right opportunity, is willing to take a very big stake and hold the shares for many years.
Sebastian takes us through what he looks for in businesses and management teams, the benefits of running listed investment companies, tricks and traps for small company investing, his favourite podcasts, and we talk about passive investing in small caps. My favourite story is him asking friends and family for some help to buy NAOS, a decision which set him on a path to becoming one of Australia’s most respected small company investors.
Sebastian doesn’t like the spotlight much, so I was thrilled he decided to join me for this chat. Considering he is in his early 30’s, I was impressed with his level of insight, but also his transparency and humility.
I think you’ll enjoy this conversation with Sebastian Evans of NAOS.
Episode 19 - Dr Mary Manning
Mary Manning is Portfolio Manager for Ellerston Capital’s Asian and Indian funds.
Mary grew up in Calgary, Canada, but early on she knew she needed to get to New York to pursue her career in finance and investment banking. Driven to succeed, she completed her Commerce degree and got a job at what would become Citi investment bank. From there, she experienced the Asian crisis then relocated to Moscow to experience the Russian Crisis.
Over the years, Mary has worked across the world, while completing her MBA at Harvard and a PhD in Economics in Sydney. She’s worked for Howard Marks at Oaktree and George Soros at Soros Funds Management, among others.
Today, Mary is at the forefront of Asian markets and leads a team of analysts to find the fastest growing companies in Asia. Mary takes us through her process, misconceptions about China and emerging markets, the Indian opportunity and loads more.
Please enjoy this conversation with Mary Manning of Ellerston Capital.
Episode 20 - Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson, CFA, is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Forager Funds.
Steve is one of the most respected value investors in Australia. A country boy at heart, Steve’s investing journey started with the ASX sharemarket game and a shared passion for investing with his friend Greg Hoffman.
Steve worked at what became UBS, and after graduating university he headed to Macquarie. In the early 2000s, he teamed up to buy the Intelligent Investor, which was later separated from Forager.
In this conversation, we discuss Steve’s investment process, including actively seeking out sectors or markets in distress, competitive advantages and tools for improving your returns.
I had never met Steve prior to this chat, but my impression of him was that he is a humble and intellectually honest investor with bucketloads of integrity. I stand by that.
Though Steve might say much of his success was due to luck, there is an obvious connection between his successes and, I think, him being a smart, honest and likeable person.
To start, here’s Steve talking about his passion for running marathon.
Episode 21 - Joe Magyer
Episode 22 - Pete Wargent
My guest for this episode is Pete Wargent.
Pete is one of Australia’s leading property economists and investors, a best selling author and blogger. Having reached financial independence at 33, Pete is now a regular on TV and splits his time between the UK and Noosa.
From the outside Pete’s journey seems to include success after success. However, as you’ll discover in this conversation Pete’s journey included many ups and downs, hard work and sacrifice.
I know you’ll enjoy this conversation with Pete Wargent. Tune in now!
Episode 23 - Claude Walker
Claude Walker is an Australian small company investor who attempts to unearth the best opportunities at the smaller end of the ASX. Claude and I first met when he became an investment analyst for The Motley Fool Australia and we have stayed in contact ever since.
As you’ll hear throughout this discussion, Claude seeks out companies which have a positive social and environmental impact and avoids those which have the opposite effect.
Claude is a very smart, passionate and transparent investor which is why I could have spent hours talking to him. Speaking of, I always do my best to be 100% transparent with you by acknowledging how I know guests on the show.
In the interests of complete disclosure, please pay careful attention to our opening discussion.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Claude Walker of Ethical Equities. TUNE IN NOW!
Episode 24 - Vimal Gor
My guest for this episode is Vimal Gor, head of Fixed Income, Bonds and Defensive Strategies for Pendal Group.
At the time of recording, Vimal oversees more than $19 billion across multiple funds, including a volatility strategy which uses sophisticated derivative strategies to minimise market volatility.
Vimal and I discuss his past, what prompted him to learn about bonds, microeconomics versus macroeconomics, bonds 101 and how to think about the key markets for defensive products.
Selfishly, I also take a moment to quiz Vimal on the local market in Australia and where he sees the greatest threats and opportunities.