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Free Capital

How 12 private investors made millions in the stock market

By Guy Thomas

Paperback £18.99 / $29.95
eBook £16.99 / $22.45
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Free Capital

How 12 private investors made millions in the stock market

By Guy Thomas

Jacket text

Wouldn’t life be better if you were free of the daily grind – the conventional job and boss – and instead succeeded or failed purely on the merits of your own investment choices? Free Capital is a window into this world.

Based on a series of interviews, it outlines the investing strategies, wisdom and lifestyles of 12 highly successful private investors. Each of them has accumulated £1m or more – in most cases considerably more – mainly from stock market investment. Six are ‘ISA millionaires’ who have £1m or more in a tax-free ISA, a result which is arithmetically impossible without exceptional investment returns.

Some have several academic degrees or strong City backgrounds; others left school with few qualifications and are entirely self-taught as investors. Some invest most of their money in very few shares and hold them for years at a time; others make dozens of trades every day, and hold them for at most a few hours. Some are inveterate networkers, who spend their day talking to managers at companies in which they invest; for others a share is just a symbol on a screen, and a price chart shows most of what they need to know to make their trading decisions.

Free capital – money surplus to immediate living expenses – is the raw material with which these investors work. It can also be thought of as their psychological habitat, free from the petty tribulations of office politics. Lastly, free capital describes the footloose nature of their assets, which can be quickly redirected towards any type of investment anywhere in the world, without the constraints which institutional investors often face.

Although it presents many advanced insights and valuable investment hints, this is not an overly technical book. It offers practical ideas and inspiration, with revealing detail and minimal jargon, making it an indispensable read for novice and experienced investors alike.

About the author

Guy Thomas has been an independent investor since 1999. In his previous life as an employee, he was a research actuary with a firm of pension consultants, and then a university lecturer. He has published papers in academic journals covering insurance economics, actuarial mathematics, and taxation and investment. He is an honorary lecturer at the University of Kent.

www.guythomas.org.uk

Reviews

“A compelling read…You could learn a lot from this dazzling dozen and Guy Thomas (himself a private investor on a par with his subjects) sets out the lessons very clearly…This is definitely the best investment book that has crossed my desk for some time.”

– Alistair Blair, Investors Chronicle

“This elegantly composed volume brings the practice of investing to life.”

– Financial Times

“A compelling read…I heartily recommend the book… the value of discovering anew that you’re not alone in your thinking and your game plan is priceless.”

– Monevator

“Something of a future investment classic in my view…I heartily recommend it.”

– The Motley Fool

Media coverage

From The Globe and Mail:

Mr Thomas recently spoke with The Globe And Mail through e-mail about his investing,

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From ShareSoc:

How 12 Private Investors made Millions in the Stock Market.

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From Fidelity :

For most people, bin cleaner Craig Brazier?s recent £1.3million win on the horses after staking just £2 will fall in the same category as some of the more extreme lottery wins witnessed in recent years. However, like the investors in Guy Thomas? book Free Capital, he won?t see it like that. He?s been lucky, he… Read more »

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From Valueprax:

A methodical review of investors and their strategies The greatest strength of “Free Capital” is its organization and layout– it’s truly like visiting an expertly-designed website in that the author has organized his investor interviews by four major descriptive categories: -geographers; top-down investors who begin with a macro thesis then look for companies and financial… Read more »

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From The Motley Fool:

David Kuo chats with Guy Thomas, author of Free Capital, which is about 12 private investors who have accumulated £1m or more mainly from stock market investments. They investigate how two investors in particular have done so in a tax-free Individual Savings Account (ISA), which, Thomas claims, is arithmetically impossible without exceptional returns. A transcript… Read more »

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From El Confidencial :

(Translated from Spanish) Become a millionaire from the bottom is not impossible, just very difficult. While most of those who dream entrust this task to systems such as the pools or the lottery, which is comparable to the probability of being successful by a meteorite. Among those who still hope to get rich by their… Read more »

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From The Sunday Times:

MAKING £1m or more from the stock market is a dream for many private investors, but a reality for only a few. Isa millionaires, in particular, are a rare breed. Brewin Dolphin, the investment manager, has nine among its clients, with the largest pot valued at £4.4m. Killik & Co, the broker, and Barclays Stockbrokers… Read more »

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From Financial Times:

January was great for shares. Several of my holdings that had suffered declines have now almost or fully recovered. Mining stocks had a particularly good run ? and my recently purchased shares in Kazakhmys have risen 20 per cent in the past month alone. Another recent buy, broker Brewin Dolphin, has enjoyed a ten per… Read more »

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From The Actuary Magazine:

Andrew Howe is intrigued by Guy Thomas’s analysis of the investment approaches of 12 millionaires. Free Capital, written by actuary and investor Guy Thomas, describes the backgrounds and circumstances of 
12 relatively low profile full-time private investors. The 12 millionaire investors ? all of whom are male ? boast enviable investment track records. All but… Read more »

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From theactuary.com:

“Free Capital is excellent storytelling but, more importantly, covers material that you will struggle to find elsewhere. There are many deeper aspects that also make Free Capital noteworthy…My recommendation is that if this thought-provoking book is not worth £10 or so of your money, then I don?t know what is.” – The Actuary Magazine 24th… Read more »

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From Towards Financial Independence Blog:

What do self-made millionaires? Investment professionals and their strategies are written in a lot of books. Successful private investors say the books are a rarity, however. An exception to this investment books of the flock that Guy Thomas’s book Free Capital: How 12 Private Investors Made Millions In The Stock Market. Capital stock has been… Read more »

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From Pensions World:

Making Millions Free Capital by Guy Thomas, £18.99, ISBN 978 1906659745 (279 pages) www.harriman-house.com Would not life be better if you were free of the daily grind and instead succeeded or failed purely on the merits of your own investment choices? Free Capital by a former research actuary, Guy Thomas, shows the possibilities in a… Read more »

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From Media Review:

Making Millions – Pensions World 5th October 2011

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From Shares Magazine:

Astriking feature of some of the most successful private investors is their focus on smaller companies. Most of the ?Isa millionaires? I have inter- viewed during the course of my research ignore the top 90% of the stock market by market capitalisation. I agree with this approach and in my own investing, I seldom hold… Read more »

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From Mohammed Amin:

Overview of the book The book consists of profiles of 12 private investors, based upon interviews. Each of them has accumulated at least £1 million and in many cases much more from stock market investment. The profiles cover the investors’ backgrounds and how they first became interested in the stock market; how the interest progressed… Read more »

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From Financial World - IFS Learning:

Free capital, as Guy Thomas evokes it, is ?money surplus to immediate living expenses? ? the wealth accumulated as full-time private investors by the 12 people interviewed (10 under aliases) for this book. How they achieved and held on to their special blend of financial independence is fascinating. Most will read the book because they… Read more »

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From Pensions Management:

Unlike the vast majority of media material produced about those lucky few who have stuck a few quid away, this next book doesn?t extend emaciated arms in the hope of laying a hand on our modern day saints ? celebrities. Instead, it showcases a dozen highly suc-cessful private investors in case study form. Guy Thomas… Read more »

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From SelfTrade StockTakes:

Wouldn?t life be better if you were free of the daily grind ? the conventional job and boss ? and instead succeeded or failed purely on the merits of your own investment choices? Free Capital: How 12 Private Investors Made Millions in the Stock Market offers an insight into this life. Based on a series… Read more »

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From Investoo:

Free Capital (published by Harriman House) simply refers to the money surplus to immediate living expenses; it is the raw material that investors base their work on. The premise of ?Free Capital? is to profile 12 investors who have accumulated £1m or more from the stock market. Beyond profiling the investors, the book reveals their… Read more »

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From Traders Mag:

Wouldn’t life be better if you were free of the daily grind ? the conventional job and boss ? and instead succeeded or failed purely on the merits of your own investment choices? Personal investing can radically change your life. It is probably not reasonable to plan on the basis that it will, but it… Read more »

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From UK Shareholders Association:

he author profiles 12 successful private investors in the UK, teasing out their methodologies and their psychological makeup ? and its an interesting and encouraging book. Whilst he categorises the approaches into (in effect) top down, bottom up and activist, in practice he describes many different personalities and investment styles – ranging from individuals living… Read more »

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From UK Analyst:

It is every private investor\’s dream to live off the fruit of his own investments, and this is the story of those private investors who are living that dream. The book profiles twelve individuals, each of whom has accumulated 1 million pounds or more, in most cases considerably more, mainly from stock market investment. Six… Read more »

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From Interactive Investor:

I?ve spent two weeks in the company of twelve highly successful investors. The only thing that connects them is they?ve made a lot of money over a long period of time, enabling them to give up their jobs. And they?re the subjects of Free Capital, a book by Guy Thomas, an investor and former actuary.… Read more »

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From Stockopedia:

Fans of investing literature will know that, unfortunately, many of the best books are American. While a lot of what?s discussed in ?John Neff on Investing? or “How to Make Money in Stocks” is universal, those of us deploying our capital on this side of the pond can?t help hankering for something a bit more..… Read more »

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From Monevator:

Some great reading on money and investing. When you?re young, half the classic books you read seem to apply to you. For example, like many a nerdy teenage bookworm without a girlfriend, a driving licence, or even a favourite tipple, I managed to see myself in Jack Kerouac?s literary tale of drop-out debauchery, On The… Read more »

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From The Motley Fool:

Books that focus on UK investors are relatively rare, so Guy Thomas’s Free Capital should be well received. Indeed, he has comfortably exceeded his goal of writing a ‘journalistic profile of the working lives of a few full-time investors’ by including regular, well researched and presented sections to explain some of the more esoteric terms… Read more »

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From AimZine:

We do not normally review books in AimZine but felt that we should draw this recent publication to our readers? attention. We believe that anyone serious about managing their own stock market investments will want to read Guy Thomas?s ?Free Capital?. The book is based on interviews of 12 highly successful private investors. Guy outlines… Read more »

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From Investors Chronicle:

Small caps! It’s a privilege to write this page for you every week, but close on its heels in terms of stimulation was the job I had for five years writing a newsletter on small companies, including the pressing responsibility of setting out three new recommendations every month. The job of rifling through the 2,000… Read more »

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From investorschronicle.co.uk:

“A compelling read…You could learn a lot from this dazzling dozen and Guy Thomas (himself a private investor on a par with his subjects) sets out the lessons very clearly…This is definitely the best investment book that has crossed my desk for some time.” ? Alistair Blair, Investors Chronicle 3rd May 2011

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From Trading Diary:

Guy Thomas talks to tradingdiary about his new book Free Capital: How 12 private investors made millions in the stock market. Who are you? I am an actuary and investor. I qualified with a firm of consulting actuaries and then spent some years as a university lecturer. I left that job in 1999 in my… Read more »

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From Interactive Investor:

The story so far: Leeds Group shares are dirt cheap judging by conventional measures, but, although it has one main business importing fabrics to Germany, it?s an investment company run by two Swedish non-executive directors. I don?t like this arrangement because: The company says it?s looking to make new investments, and I like to pick… Read more »

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From blog.iii.co.uk:

The Peter Gyllenhammar story ? Richard Beddard, Interactive Investor 10th March 2011

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From pensions-management.co.uk:

“[Guy Thomas] has an easy style and is good at conveying complex information in short, pithy prose…an interesting insight.” ? Pensions Management 5th July 2011

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From taloudellinenriippumattomuus.com:

Free Capital – Self Made Millionaires – Towards Financial Independence Blog20th October 2011

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From bookfiles:

Little fish are sweet – Why private investors should focus mainly on smaller companies – Shares MagazineSeptember 2011

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From fw.ifslearning.ac.uk:

“Unusually compelling…This book answers its market extremely well.”- Financial World, IFS LearningSeptember 2011

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From mohammedamin.com:

“Everyone will learn something from this book, regardless of their previous level of investing experience…very well written and very interesting to read…I recommend it to everyone who is already an investor, and also to those who are not.”- Mohammed AminAugust 2011

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From selftrade.co.uk:

Want to give up the day job? Read how 12 people did just that in Free Capital, a new book profiling full-time private investors. Its author, Guy Thomas, explains. – SelfTrade StockTakeJune 2011

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From investoo.co.uk:

“Free Capital is a worthy read and is a special type of ?hybrid? investment book that manages to achieve a great balance between story and practical insight.”- Investoo13th June 2011

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From uksa.org.uk:

“An interesting and encouraging book.”- Jeremy Prescott, UK Shareholders Association7th June 2011

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From commoditywatch.podbean.com:

How 12 Private Investors Made Millions – Frisby’s Bulls and Bears5th June 2011

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From Media Review:

Traders Tools – Book Review: Free Capital – Traders Magazine7th June 2011

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From blog.iii.co.uk:

Thomas’ Twelve – Interactive Investor23rd May 2011

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From uk-analyst.com:

“The best thing investors will take away from this book is a sense of personal inspiration in light of what can be achieved with determination, careful planning and the odd spot of luck.”- UK Analyst23rd May 2011

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From stockopedia.co.uk:

Guy Thomas? Free Capital: At last, a true to life account of UK investing – Stockopedia6th May 2011

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From monevator.com:

“A compelling read…I heartily recommend the book… the value of discovering anew that you?re not alone in your thinking and your game plan is priceless.”- Monevator5th May 2011

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From aimzine.co.uk:

“Anyone serious about managing their own stock market investments will want to read Guy Thomas?s Free Capital…fascinating reading…we would commend Free Capital to anyone interested in stock market investing.”- Michael Crockett, AimZine4th May 2011

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From fool.co.uk:

“Something of a future investment classic in my view…I heartily recommend it.”- Kevin Godbold, The Motley Fool4th May 2011

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From tradingdiary.co.uk:

Guy Thomas – ‘Free Capital’ Interview – Trading Diary26th April 2011

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From moneyobserver.com:

Free Capital was featured in Money Observers’ e-update – Money Observer4th April 2011

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Contents

A Note on Names and Details
Preface

Introduction

I - Geographers

1. Luke: The Big Picture
2. Nigel: Catching the Swings

II - Surveyors

3. Bill: Just the Facts
4. John Lee: Defensive Value and Dividends
5. Sushil: The Apostate Economist
6. Taylor: The Autodidact
7. Vernon: Buying the Glitch

III - Activists

8. Eric: The Networker
9. Owen: Efficiency and Opportunism
10. Peter Gyllenhammar: The Corporate Engineer

IV - Eclectics

11. Khalid: The Day Trader
12. Vince: The Tax Exile

Conclusion

Characteristics of the Free Capitalists
Life choices and chances
Attitudes
Working Methods
Summary Table of Investor Characteristics

What Happened Next

A Note on Research Methods
Acknowledgements
Endnotes
Index



Published: 02/09/2013
Edition: 2nd
Pages: 290
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9781906659745
ebook - ISBN 9780857191243
Media enquiries

If you’d like to get in touch with the author for interview or comment, or you’d like a review copy of this book, please contact us at pr@harriman-house.com or call +44 (0)1730 233870.

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