Christian Putz Interview with Die Presse

29/04/2020

Christian Putz, founder and portfolio manager of ARR Investment Partners, was invited on a one-to-one interview by Austrian newspaper Die Presse. Christian discussed his early life and his experience making a fortune with shares as a teenager. Later on this experience motivated him to start a path towards setting up his own investment business and generating significant returns for his investors. Read full article here.

For those who do not speak German, below is a summary of the interview in English.

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I grew up in a middle-class household in a small village in alpine Austria. Our family ran a small farm part-time - my father being a bus driver and my mother a homemaker. At the age of 16, I attended the extracurricular ‘Plus’ course on the stock market under a program for gifted students. This was my introduction to the world of public markets and investing. I had saved 70,000 shillings (approximately 5k EUR) by the age of 17, partly due to tutoring. During summer 2017, I had a holiday job at a local warehouse but also began investing in the stock market.

In those two months, I made more money from investing than from my job in the warehouse. I was hooked. Having invested 70,000 shillings in Qualcomm, I made 1500 percent return in two years, and as the headline in German suggests, I became a Schilling millionaire (75,000+ EUR) by the age of 19. I also advised my IT teacher on investments, and he earned more than 100,000 Shillings in profits on a small investment amount and paid me a success fee.

Upon graduation, I joined MAN Group in Switzerland, one of the largest hedge funds in the world. There I had exposure to the best investment strategies and risk management practices in the world. The core principle of my investment strategy crystallized there, a focus on asymmetric risk reward. I look for investments which have limited downside, but at the same time, offer significant upside if I am correct in my investment thesis. The reality is that some of the best investors are only right 50% of the time but limit their losses and maximize their profits.

When my department at MAN Group shut down during the 2009 global financial crisis, I quite spontaneously decided to move to Donetsk in Ukraine to learn Russian. Some months later I moved to Russia despite not really speaking the language or having a network of friends there. After further studies of the language, I became an analyst and then a portfolio manager for an American investment boutique in Moscow. During this time in Russia, I experienced a multiyear bear market from 2011 till 2016 where the Russian stock market index RTS lost over 75% of its value. Experiencing such a prolonged bear market had a significant impact on my investment philosophy and risk management. It was a very painful experience but taught me how to generate profits by short selling - which became my biggest strength as proven by our performance in March 2020 (or in fact this year).

Money and wealth have a different meaning for everyone. In my case, it has a positive connotation as it has allowed me to do what I enjoy - traveling the world after my studies or setting up the investment business ARR Investment Partners in London for example.

While I would not label the work we do at ARR Investment Partners as ‘specializing in short selling’, I do believe that many investors underestimate capital preservation, especially since we were previously in one of the longest bull markets ever. After all, if you lose 50%, you have to earn 100% in order to break even.
 

Disclaimer: Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of the investment strategy will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance, or be suitable for your portfolio. ARR Investment Partners is an appointed representative of Eschler Asset Management LLP which is authorised and regulated by the FCA (#510079).