Investors Like Me: Ahmad Namini

Investors Like Me: Ahmad Namini

Ahmad Namini is a professor of the Practice of Business Analytics at Brandeis University’s International Business School.

He teaches courses in computer programming, quantitative analysis, machine learning, and sports analytics. He has served as a quantitative analyst/developer, desk strategist, analytics head, and CTO in the fixed income and credit derivative spaces for various investment banks and hedge funds. He has a Ph.D. in Computational Mechanics from the University of Maryland and has written numerous refereed journal articles, presented at prestigious conferences, and consulted with start-ups and established companies.

How many years of investing experience do you have? 20+ years

What is your investing risk tolerance? Medium

What is your portfolio size? 10-20 stocks

What are your favorite investing sectors? Financials and Information Technology

What makes those sectors so interesting to you? I only invest in sectors that I believe I have some knowledge of. As a client, observer, or worker in a particular sector, I will only truly garner an informed opinion about a sector’s major players, products and services, and future. When did you get started in investing and why?

During my days as a graduate student, I started to have extra money, which I began investing into a 401(k) . Eventually I opened a brokerage account and became more informed about investment options, opportunities, and, above all, learning about my own risk tolerance , tendencies, etc. Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with money at an early age?

My family never had much money, and if I got any money from odd jobs or whatever, I would usually just spend It. As I got older, I started to better understand the role of money in my life from budgets to setting financial goals. What has your journey been like as an investor? What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

My journey has always been to somehow make the investment capital grow. During rough times, it can be difficult to not redeem investment funds. With retirement funds, one pays a huge penalty in withdrawing, so that was always a deterrent. In addition, with life and family commitments, sometimes other issues will supersede investment portfolio growth. These are always challenging decisions that must be made, i.e., how to best accommodate present needs with future financial goals. In what ways has your social or cultural identity and lived experiences positively impacted your investing journey?

With my own cultural and personal experiences, I have always been strongly committed to the family unit. It is a non-negotiable mandate that the family be provided for. Any decision on my investments has always been somewhat conservative so as to achieve long-term steady growth while maintaining a comfortable life for the family. With so many new or younger investors dipping their toes into investing, what’s the best advice you have for someone who may be looking to start investing or who may be newer to the industry?

By far the most important advice is to never invest money one cannot afford to lose. Anything can happen, and although it would be rare to lose everything while investing in established firms, it is prudent to understand downside risk and to build reasonable expectations of positive and negative returns.

Also, set a reasonable investment horizon. If one’s goal is to save for retirement, a young investor has years to achieve their goals, however, those young investors expecting high returns in a short period of time are awaiting an unexpected and disappointing result. Do you have any advice for investors on how to diversify their portfolios? Why do you think diversification is important?

In the parlance of the common investor, never put all of your eggs in one basket. Whether by sectors in the equity markets or different investment vehicles such as bonds, real estate, etc., growth should be achieved by combined, diversified investment decisions. Historically, the U.S. investment market is steadily growing, with some markets doing better than others during different periods of time. An investor should not be greedy and always invest in one stock or one sector, but rather take a diversified approach . What advice would you give to a newer investor who may be experiencing market volatility for the first time?

Look at your investment horizon. Market volatility can be great if the investment is trending up; however, it can be disturbing when the overall trend is going down. A stop-loss is an investment trade that makes the investor state when to stop the bleeding […]

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