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2007-12-27 17:18:44 - By

Who Are the Best Investor and Best Trader of all Time?

photo of best investor - warrent buffet When it comes to the stock market, there are two people that I admire more than anyone else. Sure, there are quite a number of famous investors and famous traders who have netted billions of dollars for themselves and their clients.

In order to narrow down my list of most admired traders and investors EVER down to two names, I had to ask myself: who would I most want to sit down and have dinner with? Who would I want to have managing my money? If I had to recommend two people to family and friends so that I could best sleep at night, who would it be?

I went through many different names. George Soros. Eddie Lampert. Daniel Loeb, aka "Mr. Pink." Peter Lynch. Jesse Livermore. John Templeton. John Neff. Benjamin Graham. Just to name a few.

However, there are two names that stand out to me. Both have had a major impact in terms of both how I view the stock market in general, and also how I trade my own money. One is the greatest investor of all time, and one is one of the greatest traders of all time (in my humble opinion.)

The greatest investor of all time? That's easy. Warren Buffett, and it's not even close. Has taken Berkshire Hathaway from a failing textiles company and turned it into an international powerhouse that contains many different businesses and a cash hoard that other companies could only dream about. From 1962 until now, an average share of Berkshire Hathaway has risen from $3-$4 up to a current price of $137,800, after recently breaking the $150k mark. Berkshire Hathaway consistently outperforms the S + 500; BRKA has gained an average of 21.4% since 1965, compared to an annual gain of 10.4% for the S + P 500.

One dollar invested in Berkshire Hathaway is worth almost $4000 now.

The S + P 500 has only outperformed Berkshire Hathaway FIVE TIMES since 1965. That's five times in almost 45 years. To me, this is completely ridiculous and no one else can even come close to matching this record.

And he's done it consistently while the world around him has changed dramatically. He's performed through the Vietnam War, the oil crisis of the early 80's, the first Iraq war, the second Iraq War, the dot com boom and the dot com bust. He's outperformed the markets with Nixon as president, with Carter as president, with Clinton as president and with both Bushes as president. He has refused to waver when it comes to his investing strategy, even when he was facing a lot of pressure to do so (late 90's at the height at the dot com boom.)

He speaks his mind and he is a man of convictions. He is what all investors should aspire to be. Without a doubt, Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all time. He's worth billions and billions of dollars, and he has made thousands of people millionaires and billionaires. If you try to compare him to any other investor on the face of the earth, they will just end up looking weak in comparision.

Now, who is the greatest trader of all time?

This one is certainly not as clear-cut. This trader has had a major impact on my life, as my trading philosophy closely followed his. He is massively successful and provides lucrative returns for his clients even while taking a much larger than normal performance fee.

Greatest trader ever? Steven Cohen.

steven cohen - traderEven his enemies will admit that Cohen is the best trader on Wall Street. It's hard to argue. Started SAC Capital with $25 million dollars in 1992; now, the firm controls about $12 billion in equity, and Mr. Cohen himself is worth about $7 billion dollars. His fund returns 36% per year AFTER fees. Not bad for a multi-billion dollar fund. Maintained its hot streak in 2006, returning 34% to its clients, after fees.

There are many reasons why I think that Cohen is a great trader. He is an events and news-based trader for the most part, which is the way that I trade. He is secretive and operates under the radar. He has made himself and the people around him very rich. He continues to deliver sizable returns to his clients on a yearly basis, even after fees. He has been consistently outperforming the market by a long shot since 1992. He continues to outperform the markets even with billions under management. He is smart enough to hire the right people and allow them to trade their own mini-accounts.

It is hard to find a trader with a better track record than Steven Cohen. He is one of the richest men in America for a reason; he's just that good.

In my opinion, Warren Buffett is the top investor of all time, and Steven Cohen is the top trader of all time. How does your list look in comparison?

Filed under: Trader Profiles | General Knowledge

17 COMMENTS - What Say You?

Comment by Dave7007 on October 21, 2008 @ 3:45 am



Comment by Mustafa on March 09, 2009 @ 9:02 am

I wonder...Do you still think Mr. Buffet is the greatest of all time? In my opinion, to call a man "the best trader", you need to observe him in a real crisis, like one we are having right know, and see how he is doing. I mean in bull markets you can find many candidates for the best trader, but what about in bear markets. Well, at least I know that Mr. Buffet is not doing good nowadays. Not good at all.. My best tarder would be Jesse Livermore since he did much better in bear markets than those of bulls.


Comment by Chris on April 02, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

Jesse Livermore is still the best trader ever lived. The money he made back in 1900s is worth more than what either Buffett or Cohen accomplished in modern day. Remember there are no computers back in those days.


Comment by Mustafayousuck on April 20, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

I cant believe what I read from Mustafa.

How much are you worth Mustafa? How many years of experience do you have?

You say "Mr. Buffet is not doing good nowadays"

And your doing better? your being offered Bonds at 15% ?

Dude, your so stupid. You place value on the CHEAPEST things in life I CAN TELL...


Comment by Hey on April 20, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

You say "Mr. Buffet is not doing good nowadays"

Honestly, Short-term, Your absolutely right.... but your also DELUSIONAL.

His Track record UNTIL today is still at least 18% per year? Can you beat that over 40 years?

Answer that and you need to re-assess your comment. (no offense, I am trying to be civil).

And your doing better? your being offered Bonds at 15% ?

Dude, your so stupid. You place value on the CHEAPEST things in life I CAN TELL...


Comment by slore on January 12, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

livermore committed suicide. he was worth 5million (only because it was in a trust that he couldnt speculate and lose) after making over 100mil shorting the 29 crash.


Comment by tunde nigeria on September 16, 2010 @ 2:21 am

warren iis my mentor any day or time.hes a strategist.


Comment by romi ntt indonesia on October 29, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

Jesse Livermore ,Nicholas Darvas and W.D. Gann is the world stock trader legend. Cohen and the others just learn from the legend. There are no new techniques. just repeat the legend techniques.


Comment by theboyplunger on December 23, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

jesse livermore was by far the best trader, started with nothing and expanded it to tadys equivalent of 2 billion dollars......he lost it agreed, but partly due to family issues which broke his spirit
jesse is the best trader to have lived and will be for many years....


Comment by michael redman on January 23, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

#1 - soros
#2 - livermore

perhaps these could be reversed. but these two individuals because:

soros - (1) has a constitution of survival like Rambo (of the big 2008 crash, he said "I came out of retirement to preserve my capital"); and (2) trades successfully on unrivaled macroeconomic insight, manifested in wins on both sides of the market and across asset classes (e.g. big pound trade in '92, recent years' bet on gold - by contrast many successful traders/investors are mostly long-side "stock collectors")

livermore - parlayed fortunes up out of almost nothing over and over again. had an intuitive, natural feel for price movement and how to take advantage of it unrivaled in any other trader i've ever known of.


Comment by Fire on March 12, 2011 @ 2:37 am

nobody talks about John paulson???


Comment by Bestrader on April 04, 2011 @ 9:08 am

The best trader who can make huge profit and keep it.


Comment by Andrew Nuthall on May 17, 2011 @ 11:30 am

Edward Arees - He trades oil spreads and bobl (outright!) He is my hero.


Comment by James Worthington on May 17, 2011 @ 11:32 am

My favourite trader in the whole world is Robert Raymond Rees.
He trades the ted and is extremely dedicated, even if there is a bomb going off across the road, he will still only look at the price of the ted.


Comment by Anoop on June 26, 2011 @ 5:01 am

I think Jesse Livermore and Nicolas Darvas were the best traders we ever have. Both were highly successful and taught their success to other traders.


Comment by Trader M on September 16, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

Best trader Trader Vic, Victor Sperandeo.
Best investor Jim Rogers.


Comment by d on October 15, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

Buffett is terrible as a stock investor. Cohen is
much better than he, and he has the numbers to prove it.
But by far the best stock investor/trader is
Bruce Kovner. From $3,000 borrowed on his credit
card, to over 4.5 billion in 27 years!
That is a compounded yearly rate of 69% per year!
But much of that wealth comes from the fees that
are charged. A NET of 69% per year would be a gross
of about 115% per year!


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