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Opinion

Guide to masters of (stock market) universe

 Millennial hopes passion project -- a book on nation's top investors -- will spur new generation of savvy investors

Robin Speziale</p>

Robin Speziale

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2016 (1172 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Most do-it-yourself investors read books on investing in their spare time. And certainly 28-year-old Robin Speziale has done his fair share of that.

He estimates he’s read more than 200 books on the subject over the last decade since opening his first brokerage account just as he was entering university.

But for much of last year, Speziale — a business consultant by day — has moonlighted as an author working on what could easily be one of the most comprehensive investor guides written specifically for the Canadian stock market.

Certainly its title leaves little doubt about its ambition and scope: Market Masters: Interviews with Canada’s Top Investors — Proven Investing Strategies You Can Apply.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2016 (1172 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Most do-it-yourself investors read books on investing in their spare time. And certainly 28-year-old Robin Speziale has done his fair share of that.

He estimates he’s read more than 200 books on the subject over the last decade since opening his first brokerage account just as he was entering university.

But for much of last year, Speziale — a business consultant by day — has moonlighted as an author working on what could easily be one of the most comprehensive investor guides written specifically for the Canadian stock market.

Certainly its title leaves little doubt about its ambition and scope: Market Masters: Interviews with Canada’s Top InvestorsProven Investing Strategies You Can Apply.

Moreover, it is encyclopedic in size at more than 600 pages. But that’s beside the point. What Speziale has done is bring together 27 of Canada’s (and one of America’s) leading investors in one book — perfect for the stock market-curious reader to thumb through at leisure.

In other words, all Speziale’s after-hours blood, sweat and tears have been crystallized into an every-investors’ DIY bible.

"I wanted readers to know how these ‘market masters’ invest in a bear market or a bull market; what stocks they buy; how they buy them; and then when they decide to sell," says the Toronto-based writer who previously penned a book on his experiences titled Lessons from the Successful Investor.

"But it had to be easily consumable so anybody — a novice, intermediate or expert — could pick it up and derive value," he says.

So far so good, it seems: since its mid-February launch, it has been among the top-selling books — fiction and non-fiction — on Amazon.ca.

And Speziale hopes its popularity is the result of interest from a new generation of DIY investors.

"I really aimed the book to help millennials so they will find the confidence to get started," he says.

His book also has gained big-name backers — including Toronto Star personal-finance columnist and financial-literacy advocate Ellen Roseman. In writing the forward, she states Market Masters is a first for the Canadian marketplace in bringing together so many investment gurus and their philosophies in one book.

Equally noteworthy is how Speziale accomplished the task.

"That was a challenge in itself," he says. "In this day and age of email, I didn’t want to start there, so I typed up tailored letters to each of the market masters."

A little less than half replied and agreed initially. He then engaged in an email and phone campaign until most were on board.

For his efforts, he got to interview a who’s who of Canadian investing: value investor Barry Schwartz, activist investor Bill Ackman (the American with a penchant for the TSX), Winnipeg-born Kiki Delaney (a female trailblazer in a male-dominated industry) and exchange traded fund (ETF) innovator Som Seif, who helped found pioneering Claymore Investments, which was eventually sold to ETF giant Blackrock.

Each chapter focuses on a single investor. In addition to a Q&A, Speziale writes a short introduction for each market master that includes interesting personal tidbits offering insight into their investment approaches.

He also provides a brief overview of financial terms readers might encounter in each chapter so they don’t get lost.

And this is crucial, Speziale says. He wants newcomers to pick up Market Masters and learn easily.

That they will, and they will also get a lay of the land regarding the major investment styles: value, growth, top-down, fundamental and technical (chart reading).

Equally important, readers will come to understand many of the tried-and-true principles of stock market investing.

"There are some key rules that really don’t change," Speziale says. "Invest in good-quality companies, buy during hard times, stick to your strategy, diversify and manage risk."

Speziale says it took him the better part of a decade to learn these — often via the school of hard knocks. By reading the book, he hopes others can avoid these pitfalls.

So while Market Masters is a weighty if not intimidating book at 600 pages, it’s likely time well-spent.

"This is a book that may involve a lot of investment of time, but you can also expect a lot of return on that investment," Speziale says.

joelschles@gmail.com

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History

Updated on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 9:31 AM CDT: Photo added.

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