Curtis Larson – Temperament




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On this episode:

My guest for this episode is Curtis Larson, a private investor and portfolio manager for Norse Capital.

Curtis is extremely generous with his time, making this episode amongst the easiest and relaxed conversations of the series thus far. But don’t let that fool you, this chat is filled with nuggets of timeless wisdom gained over a career spanning more than two decades.

Curtis grew up in Asia, trained as a computer engineer in Canada, worked for companies based in London, Paris and Tokyo. Now he resides in Sydney.

A graduate of the prestigious Yale University, Curtis and I discuss his time growing up in a family that didn’t talk about money, his various jobs, successes and failures, and investment strategy.

Curtis spent time in investment banking designing quant models and trading options. As with some prior episodes, we try to keep the ideas as informative as possible. But if you find yourself a little lost, I encourage you to listen again or take our free video courses on the Rask Finance website. Alternatively, reach out to me with any questions you may have.

Although we didn’t capture this discussion directly in the show, Curtis believes it is vital for self-directed investors to ask themselves if they have the temperamentinclination and time to invest on their own accord.

Please enjoy this superb discussion with Curtis Larson of Norse Capital.

Timestamps:

  • 2:30 – Early life, Hong Kong
  • 4:30 – Curtis goes to Yale and starts learning about finance
  • 6:40 – (Owen breaks the flow of the conversation to talk about options)
  • 7:30 – Leaving Yale to join Germany’s Dresdner Bank, in Sydney, Paris and takes a job at Credit Suisse (moving between Australia and London)
  • 9:42 – Curtis’ first trading with US Dollar-Japanese Yen and makes a lot of money
  • 11:00 – Another job in precious metals and trading, moving between
  • 12:10 – Is finance a good job
  • 13:10 – Being at the coalface during the GFC, buying (and selling Qantas) and margin loans
  • 15:10 – How Curtis “hacks” himself and being prepared for sell-offs – and important lessons from buying Apple shares below $10 per share (it has since risen 20-times)
  • 17:30 – Curtis takes a job where he tries to combine his precious metals experience and ‘hedge out’ the commodity price risk when an investor buys ASX resource and mining shares
  • 20:45 – Norse Capital starts
  • 22:20 – How Curtis finds long-term “growth compounders” and why he’s moved away from relying on numbers to dictate his investing, “let your winners keep winning”, Apple is a winner
  • 24:50 – The real key to investing is adding to your winners
  • 27:00 – Why Curtis invests in Australian small cap technology companies and overseas tech shares
  • 29:00 – Compelling reasons to invest overseas
  • 30:35 – How Curtis finds new ideas. Greenblatt’s Magic Formula (see below), a network and reading/listening.
  • 32:20 – Management & Tailwinds
  • 35:10 – How to value growth stocks
  • 37:20 – Deciding to sell multi-bagger holdings
  • 40:30 – Shorting to protect the portfolio via US ETFs
  • 43:30 – What would Curtis tell a younger him about money or investing? Start early!

Further Reading:

Learn more about Curtis: 

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