A stock-picker’s journey to financial freedom

Document can be downloaded here: Trade secrets of a professional investor (as at 1st Jan'20)

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 1st March 2000 to 31st December 2019 (ie spanning two economic cycles), my equity portfolio has climbed on average by 15.4% pa (excl dividends) vs 1.7% pa for FTSE All share index. During which 237 stocks were purchased, achieving a hit rate of 62.45% and an average gain/loss ratio of 1.86x.

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. Finally, why did I do all this work when I didn't have to, and nobody paid me? Well basically, I have always been interested in investing, and the document hopefully will help others to not only improve their financial decision making, but also meet their future retirement/spending needs, whilst having a bit of fun in the process.

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

By the way, please find here a list of the LSE's top & bottom 200 performers over the past 12 months (source: Stockopedia 25th Dec'19).