The ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist who can show you the ropes

China Daily (USA) - - HONG KONG - ByDUANTING in Hong Kong tingduan@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

“Stum­bling” upon Wall Street and ac­quir­ing a pres­tige job there with a big pay check gave Jim Rogers the in­spi­ra­tion to spread his wings and went on to be­come an au­thor­ity on in­vest­ment on a global scale.

“I could have gone to a law school and ended up as a lawyer or to a med­i­cal school af­ter graduation. But, sud­denly, I was of­fered the chance of work­ing on Wall Street and they paid me well, so I took it,” he tells China Daily.

It was dur­ing a sum­mer in­tern­ship at Do­minick & Do­minick Inc — one of the old­est pri­vately held in­vest­ment firms in the United States — that made Rogers aware that Wall Street is the place where peo­ple would pay him to ex­er­cise his in­cli­na­tion to ex­plore.

Af­ter at­tend­ing Yale Univer­sity where he ma­jored in his­tory and a stint at Ox­ford Univer­sity study­ing phi­los­o­phy, pol­i­tics and eco­nomics, the renowned Amer­i­can in­vestor worked as an an­a­lyst at three dif­fer­ent firms for a cou­ple of years be­fore be­ing hired by Arn­hold and S. Ble­ichroeder — an old Ger­man Jewish in­vest­ment firm — where he worked with a vice-pres­i­dent of the firm, in­ter­na­tional fi­nancier Ge­orge Soros.

In his book Street Smarts, Rogers re­calls: “All of a sud­den, my stud­ies of his­tory and cur­rent events were more than a the­o­ret­i­cal ex­er­cise — they had prac­ti­cal value. My pas­sion for get­ting to know the world was served with a pur­pose. As a his­tory stu­dent, I found it fas­ci­nat­ing to learn how the mar­kets were driven by world events. But, what re­ally struck me, for the first time in my life, was how pre­dictably, through­out his­tory, world events had been driven by the mar­kets.”

Shortly af­ter, Soros and Rogers founded the leg­endary Quan­tum Fund — an off­shore hedge fund for for­eign in­vestors buy­ing and sell­ing short stocks, com­modi­ties, cur­ren­cies and bonds any­where in the world. And, over the next 10 years, the port­fo­lio had gained 4,200 per­cent, while the S&P had gained less than 50 per­cent.

“I worked in­ces­santly, mak­ing my­self a master, as much as pos­si­ble, on the world­wide flow of cap­i­tal, goods, raw ma­te­ri­als and in­for­ma­tion.”

Rogers re­tired in 1980 at the age of 37, but con­tin­ued to man­age his own port­fo­lio, and be­gan ful­fill­ing his life­long dream of trav­el­ling.

Rogers is re­puted to be an ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist as he had cir­cum­nav­i­gated the world twice — once by Jim Rogers,

China, un­doubt­edly, will be the world’s next great econ­omy and the coun­try it­self has been do­ing quite well. But, along the way, like the rest of the world, China will be set back.” leg­endary in­vestor

mo­tor­cy­cle and once by car, both of which were listed in the Guin­ness Book of World Records. His first Guin­ness world record was set in 1965 dur­ing the Hen­ley Royal Re­gatta row­ing event in the United King­dom.

“Travel alone teaches you a lot,” he points out. From 1990 to 1992, he went on a world trip on a mo­tor­cy­cle, cov­er­ing more than 100,000 miles across six con­ti­nents. And, be­tween Jan­uary 1999 and Jan­uary 2002, Rogers and his wife Paige Parker toured a to­tal of 116 coun­tries and re­gions, cov­er­ing more than 152,000 miles across six con­ti­nents and three ter­ri­to­ries on their cus­tom-built Mil­len­nium Mercedes.

“If you’re an ad­ven­turer, you know what the world is like and you can find out what’s hap­pen­ing.”

To Rogers, the most im­por­tant thing had been ad­ven­ture, fol­lowed by in­vest­ing. But, for now, the slots have been taken over by his two lit­tle girls — 13-yearold Happy and Baby Bee, aged 8.

He re­grets har­bor­ing the men­tal­ity in the past that hav­ing kids is a waste of time, money and en­ergy. Now, he feels oth­er­wise. “I had been com­pletely wrong. I hope to travel around China soon with my girls.”

Talk­ing about the cri­te­ria for an ex­cel­lent in­vestor, Rogers says to achieve it, one has to be “very cu­ri­ous, skep­ti­cal and in­de­pen­dent”.

“Don’t lis­ten to oth­ers. If you’re skep­ti­cal, you’ll be in­de­pen­dent and trust your own brain. You shouldn’t read just one source of in­for­ma­tion, but should get more in­for­ma­tion from var­i­ous as­pects and put them into your head and think in­de­pen­dently.”

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

In­vest­ment guru Jim Rogers reck­ons that China has been slow in open­ing up its cap­i­tal mar­kets, and be­lieves that, in the long term, the ren­minbi will com­pete with the US dol­lar and ul­ti­mately re­place the green­back as the prime in­ter­na­tional cur­rency.

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