The World’s Greatest Stock Market Trader?

One of my favourite books of all time is a self-published, 1680 page tome (length based on my 2006 edition) written by Andrew Kilpatrick, called Of Permanent Value—The Story of Warren Buffett.

If you’re a big Buffett fan, forget the biographies by Alice Schroeder, Roger Lowenstein or James O’Loughlin.

They’re all certainly well done, but Andrew Kilpatrick’s book is phenomenal.

One of the many things Buffett fans will really enjoy are the stories relating to the people who “discovered” Buffett in the 1950s: the ones who trusted their money with this bright, fast-talking young man with indefatigable focus. It’s tough not to envy Buffett’s earliest investors, who turned a thousand dollars into multiples in the tens of millions.

Perhaps a man of Buffett’s ilk comes along once a generation. But is a future “Superinvestor” of a Buffett-standard here today—and accessible now? And if you did figure out his name, what kinds of questions would you like to ask him? And if he gave you access to his trades, what would you do with that information?

After reading The Dick Davis Dividend,  I marvelled at the investment track record of a man whom Davis referred to as “The anti-Cramer”.

Charles Kirk, trader extraordinaire, soft-spoken and humble (unlike the loud-mouthed, arguably poorly performing Jim Cramer) might not be a value investor in the vein of a Warren Buffett or a Benjamin Graham, but he has built a remarkable track record as a trader over the past 17 years. And his trading success over that time has beaten Warren Buffett’s. And like both Graham and Buffett, he’s generous with his thoughts and ideas.

The internet, being what it is, brings people and ideas together in an amazing way. Last week, Charles Kirk emailed me to commend my blog site. Naturally, I was honoured to receive an email from a man formerly featured and revered in Barrons, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.

Taking advantage of an opportunity, I emailed him back and asked if I could interview him for my blog.

Graciously, he accepted.

But why should I get all the fun out of posting questions for Charles Kirk? You’re the reader of my blog, and you make the blog what it is—thanks especially to your insightful comments and encouragement.

You’re fully capable of asking your own questions.

So here’s the deal:

You post the questions that you’d like to ask Charles Kirk here, and I’ll compile a list of them and forward them to Charles. In a couple of weeks, he’ll have time to respond, and I’ll post his interviewed answers on this site.

Let’s respect the man’s time and come up with original questions, if possible. For a background on Charles Kirk, this 2007 interview might help.

Thank you—and I look forward to your questions.

And Charles, thank you so much for your generosity and time.

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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3 Responses

  1. DIY Investor says:

    Interesting post. My question is :

    How do you control risk in terms of size of positions, closing out at the end of the trading day, and deciding when to let go of a losing position?


    Is there a benchmark or standard that tells you that you've had a good period or not?

    I look forward to the interview, I'm sure it will be fascinating.

  2. DIY Investor:

    Those are good questions.

    In the article I posted the link to, it suggested that Charles makes about 70 trades a year. That's not as "rapid-fire" as I'd expect, but your second question makes me wonder about taxes. To beat the market, I guess he'd need about a 2% advantage over the market each year, if he's comparing money in a taxable account.

    Also, I read that he went to cash in 2006. I wonder if he remained there, because the market rose and then dropped in 2008/2009. How he dealt with the crash would be interesting as well.

    If you have any other questions, Robert, please post them too.

    I look forward to stringing them together for Charles.


  3. Hey Andrew,

    This will be great. My question to Charles is as follows:

    Charles, what are your biggest investment "lessons learned" over the years and how do you apply those lessons to avoid repeating similar mistakes?



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