Friday, December 4, 2015

Michael Steinhardt: Wall Street’s Greatest Trader?


“The trading game is not won in the strategy one selects. The trading game is won in the mind.” – DbPhoenix (Source:

Name: Michael Steinhardt
Date of birth: December 7, 1940
Nationality: American
Occupation: Funds Manager and philanthropy

Michael was born to an American Jewish family. His dad was a notorious gambler who was his son’s first client. He provided the seed money for Michael to start his investment career.

Michael Steinhardt attended the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1960, he worked for a brokerage firm. He started his own hedge fund in 1967, with some partners. One source reports that his fund averaged an annualized return for its clients of 24.5%, after a 1% management fee and a "performance fee" of 15% (early in his career, later 20%) of all annual gains, realized and unrealized, nearly triple the annualized performance of the S&P 500 Index over the same timeframe.

Because of his continuous success in the markets, Michael was investigated for allegedly trying to manipulate the short-term Treasury Note market, because his firm personally made $600 million from trading Treasury. The case was settled after a fine of $70 million was paid.

His fund sustained a loss in the year 1994 but enjoyed good returns in the year 1995. This shows that even great speculators can’t always win. But unlike short-sighted speculators, they don’t quit because they know things would soon turn out in their favor.

Michael closed his fund in the year 1995 and returned the capital to his clients. He came out extremely affluent and liquid.

In the year 2004, he came out of retirement and started working for WisdomTree Investments (formerly known as Index Development Partners). He’s chairman of that company; whose worth increases by about 10% per month, with $18.3 billion under management.  The company suffered some losses in the years 2007 and 2008 as a result of the credit crunch that ravaged the financial world then. Nevertheless, the company has recovered and moved ahead.

Because of his Jewish ethnicity, Michael Steinhardt loves Jewish causes, donating generously to several Jewish causes, programs and events he believes in. He also donates generously to other political, academic and humanitarian causes.

Michael was married in 1967, He’s 3 children. In the year 2001, he released an autobiography titled: “No Bull: My Life in and out of Markets.”

  1. Michael mastered several markets instead of just one market. He traded stocks, currencies, bonds, and options, using small and big timeframes. He’s a trend-follower. You can also master more than one investment vehicle.

  1. According to him, make all your mistakes early in life. The more tough lessons early on, the fewer errors you make later. Always make your living doing something you enjoy.

  1. You need to study the markets and gather lots of information so that you can sense major shifts in the trend.  You can’t know everything, however. So you need to make your trading decisions with incomplete information. You will never have all the information you need. What matters is what you do with the information you have.

  1. Trust your intuition always – though that doesn’t mean you can always be right. When you’re eventually right, the thought of having made a profit would be so satisfying.

  1. Before your risk your money, make sure the reward is high enough to justify the time and effort you put into the investment decision.

  1. Michael Steinhardt used fundamentals when trading, though his positions were short-term. He did an enormous amount of trading, not necessarily just for profit, but also because it opens up other opportunities. He got a chance to smell a lot of things. Trading is a catalyst.

Conclusion: “There’s no way to know in advance if a business idea is a good one. For instance, Google started around 1996 but didn’t make a dime of money until around 2001,” says James Altucher. He also says… don’t be afraid to test, fail, test, fail, try again, repeat, improve, test, fail again, and keep improving. The way to keep improving? Keep coming up with ideas for your business and for other new businesses. How true are these statements about when it comes to trading!

This piece is ended with a quote from Michael Steinhardt:

"One dollar invested with me in 1967 would have been worth $481 on the day I closed the firm in 1995, versus $19 if it had been invested in a Standard & Poor's index fund."

What Super Traders Don’t Want You To Know: Super Traders

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