#75: The World According to a Maverick, Beach-Biding Stock Picker — John Hempton

John Hempton is a renowned short seller and the Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Australian-based hedge fund Bronte Capital.

Selected links

Topics discussed

  • Why Marc Cohodes is John’s model of how to pick stocks and how not to run a portfolio. 3:44
  • Why did John move from Sydney to Adelaide while he was at university? 7:22
  • How John met his mentor Ken Henry and became an expert on tax avoidance. 9:48
  • When and why did John first start trading stocks? 15:11
  • The intoxication of bull markets and the sobering powers of financial history books. 16:36
  • Leverage is for the young. 22:18
  • VoiceNet — the first fraud that John discovered. 26:13
  • The email that changed John’s life. 31:32
  • The sorry tale of Bre-X. 44:22
  • Portfolio management is key. 53:00
  • Why John would rather be Warren Buffett than the greatest of the short sellers — and some basic portfolio heuristics. 53:50
  • How many frauds does Bronte short on average and how many could it potentially short? 1:03:53
  • How does Bronte balance its longs and shorts? 1:05:51
  • The story of how John landed his first job in finance, at Platinum Asset Management. 1:09:00
  • How John finds short ideas through dodgy brokers’ notes. 1:17:52
  • How to get hired in finance. 1:19:07
  • Learning from books. 1:24:49 
  • What lessons and anti-lessons did John learn from Kerr Neilson? 1:29:39
  • John’s early retirement, quick comeback, and the birth of Bronte Capital. 1:40:53
  • What sort of characters does John look for when searching for frauds? 1:47:43
  • Bernie Madoff’s golf scores. 1:59:52
  • John’s tussles with Chinese frauds — and the techniques he used to uncover them. 2:01:56
  • How John used fake receivables to identify a dating company fraud in the UK. 2:11:23
  • Why did Chinese frauds suddenly become harder to knock-off? 2:21:20
  • The red flags that helped John identify Valeant Pharmaceuticals as a fraud. 2:25:23
  • The morality of short selling. 2:30:23
  • How does John structure his days to generate ideas? 2:41:54
  • What should young investors or non-finance people do to break into the industry? 2:49:15


July 9, 2019 11:36 am

Great stuff. Thanks for the effort!

July 10, 2019 3:53 am

Tiger spotting helicopter rides.
A must for geologists.
Interested to know more about Marc Cohodes!

July 11, 2019 10:07 pm

Just follow him on twitter! @AlderLaneeggs

July 13, 2019 5:08 am

Fantastic listen. Been through it twice already. Will likely listen a couple more times next week. My two cents: If you charged I would pay.


August 13, 2019 12:52 am

Coincidentally read The Money Miners over Christmas just gone. Completely agree a great book, and in fact anything by Sykes generally is. A copy is available from the Chatswood library in Sydney for those interested

Kivanc Alduran
November 19, 2020 7:35 pm

Thank you very much for the great podcast! Whats the name of the company at 30:14? The one that puts telescopes on top of the buildings. I tried to find it on Google but couldn’t catch the name. Is it not disclosed?

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