Meet the Writer – Jonathan Davis

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Meet the Writer – Jonathan Davis

Name: Jonathan Davis

Occupation / Profession?

Independent writer, publisher, podcaster and professionally qualified investor.  Columnist for The Independent and Financial Times for many years, author of three books about investment and currently founder and editor of the annual Investment Trusts Handbook and host of weekly Money Makers investment trust podcast.

Biggest pleasure outside work?

Aside from family, I play a lot of bridge, the most satisfying and stimulating card game ever invented – a social, not a loner’s, game and one that requires a unique combination of individual and partnership skills. Recent research suggests it also helps to stave off dementia.

Best investment advice?

“There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” Long term success in investment is about managing risk rather than maximising returns. All the best investors I have studied or got to know owe most of their success to avoiding drawdowns in bear markets.

Best investment action?

Going 100% into cash or equivalents in Q4 2007 and sitting out the global financial crisis. Conventional wisdom says that market timing is a sin, and for most investors that is probably true, but if you spend as much time as I have done studying market history you have to think you have a chance to spot the big turning points that come round every 7-10 years or so.

Is there anything you’d do differently?

 If I had any sense I would have gone into fund management early on in my career and made a lot more money, but I am well aware that the reality of managing money professionally is not as straightforward as it should be. There are a huge number of institutional constraints involved and perverse incentives that tend to produce handsome rewards for mediocre performance, which would probably have troubled me all the way to the bank – so no real regrets! 

Biggest influences?

There are lots. Warren Buffett (whom I have been lucky to  meet), Jack Bogle, Charlie Ellis, Peter Spiller, but especially the late Ian Rushbrook, who taught me most of what I know about investment trusts.

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