A stock-picker’s journey to financial freedom

Document can be downloaded here: Trade secrets of a professional investor

Back in May 2003, I was ‘burning the midnight oil’ at UK mobile operator O2, but had a career changing epiphany on a day off – strangely whilst gardening of all things.

You see, I’d previously bought a chunk of Trafficmaster stock, a supplier of ‘smart driving’ services. But in the 2 hours it took me to trim a couple of hedges & mow the lawn – the shareprice doubled, after the firm won a landmark contract with Peugeot.

Sure I was on a decent salary at O2, yet even so this wasn’t chicken feed either. Demonstrating how it was possible to make far more money investing, as opposed to constantly jumping through hoops as an employee.

By Xmas I’d handed in my notice, and have never looked back. So much so that from March 2000 to August 2019 (ie spanning two economic cycles), my equity portfolio has climbed on average by 15.3% pa (excl dividends) vs 1.5% pa for FTSE All share index. During which 236 stocks were purchased, achieving a hit rate of 62% and an average gain/loss ratio of 1.8x.

Naturally there’s been plenty of highs, lows & sleepless nights – albeit I’ve also learnt a ton about investing along the way. Consequently this summer, I thought it would be useful to summarise my experiences (warts & all) in the attached investor’s guide. With the aim of trying to help anyone else, who also wishes to put some of their hard earned cash into the occasionally febrile equity markets.

Hope you enjoy the read, and very best of luck. Carpe diem.