Lessons from one of the greatest investors of all time
The investment skills of Hetty Green (1834-1916) earned her the sobriquet Queen of Wall Street in the decades before the First World War. With stocks currently off their highs and possibly headed for another downward tumble (if past bear markets are a guide), it might be a good time to take a look at her contrarian style.
What was Ms. Green’s track record? She turned an inheritance of US$6-million – received in 1865 when she was 31 years old – into a fortune of more than US$100-million by the time of her death in 1916. In current dollars, that was a net worth of more than US$2-billion.
If the average annual return is calculated, the performance may not seem hugely impressive to some. But considering the performance period had extremely volatile financial markets, a gold standard that brought many years of economic depression, and numerous obstacles for women, Ms. Green would seem to merit a place in the pantheon of the investing greats.