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Opportunities and Risks in the World Economies and Stock Markets: A Conversation with Prem Watsa

April 10, 2019: Kiril Sokoloff, Founder and Chairman of 13D Global Strategy & Research, was the Keynote Speaker at the Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing's 2019 Value Investing Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mr. Sokoloff sat down for a conversation with Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., to discuss the topic “Opportunities and Risks in the World Economies and Stock Markets”.

Kiril Sokoloff

Chairman & Founder of 13D Global Strategy & Research

For decades, Kiril Sokoloff has been an active yet very low-profile global investment strategist, thought leader and visionary.  He founded 13D Global Strategy & Research in 1983.  Howard Marks, Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital wrote that “Many professional investors include What I Learned This Week from 13D Research among their highest-priority reading.  Kiril Sokoloff seems more likely than most to cover the big market-movers of tomorrow.”  Barton Biggs said “Kiril Sokoloff is a breath of pure, fresh investment oxygen.  He is invaluable because he is an original thinker and is not afraid to take extreme views.”

Kiril Sokoloff

Chairman & Founder of 13D Global Strategy & Research

Kiril Sokoloff is the Chairman and founder of 13D Global Strategy & Research. Barton Biggs once observed: “Kiril Sokoloff is a breath of pure, fresh investment oxygen. He is invaluable because he is an original thinker and is not afraid to take extreme views.”

A life-long learner, Kiril is devoted to the pursuit of truth—in investments, in health, life and the living of it, wisdom of the ages, lessons of history as applied to the present, eternal truths and the way forward for humanity and the planet. He considers peace of mind and humility among his most important personal goals.

Kiril has studied history and the lessons of history for most of his life. Kiril also believes that trust is a vital component of relationships and the best way to establish it is a passionate, totally-committed desire to serve the needs of others. This can only come from the heart.

Kiril began to lose his hearing as a teenager, ultimately going entirely deaf by the early 1990s, but he resolved to never avoid a business or social event due to deafness. He committed to turning this weakness into strength, and developed a highly-attuned intuition. In 1996, Kiril received a cochlear implant, which restored much of his ability to hear conversation. These experiences reinforced Kiril’s dedication, resilience, and commitment to looking beyond the surface for deeper understanding of herd mentality, hidden assumptions, and how things could change.

13D's major client base includes large-scale money managers, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, large private and public corporations, family offices, private equity and distressed funds, high-net-worth individuals, hedge funds and business leaders all over the world. Kiril has been an advisor to many of the largest pools of global capital for over 30 years.

Kiril co-founded the first pure Asian hedge fund in early 1992 just as the huge bull market in Hong Kong stocks got underway and retired before the Asian financial crisis. In 1994, he co-founded one of the earliest pure technology funds, just before the Internet stock boom began, then retired a few years before the IT bust.

Starting in 2001, Kiril and his team began to write What I Learned This Week, later adding What Are The Markets Telling Us?. These publications are the agnostic interpreters of what the markets are telling us. They are dedicated to detecting change and disruption before others. Kiril and his team are cutting-edge contrarians, original thinkers and always on the lookout for the “next big thing”. What I Learned This Week has gained a worldwide audience. Kiril is also the author of five investment books.

In 1977, he was one of the first to join Jack Kemp’s “supply-side” revolution, which advocated cutting tax rates to restore economic growth. This became a core principle of Reaganomics, which launched the subsequent 30-year bull market in financial assets. Kiril also co-authored Is Inflation Ending? Are you Ready? (McGraw-Hill, 1982), which correctly predicted disinflation and the long boom in financial assets.

In 1983, Kiril founded 13D, which began analyzing stocks selling well below break-up value and evolved into a theme-driven investment research firm. Throughout the 1980s, Kiril wrote and lectured widely to investment groups, arguing for a long secular period of disinflation. His mantra: “The highest interest rates in capitalism will eventually be followed by the lowest interest rates.” Beginning in May 1984, Kiril recommended purchasing 30-year U.S. Treasuries, which at the time were yielding 14% and which Kiril called “The investment opportunity of a lifetime”. In 2002, with oil at $20 after a 20-year bear market in commodities, Kiril launched his “commodity boom” theme.

Kiril spends much of the year travelling in key global markets, and typically devotes 12-14 hours a day to reading, thinking, learning, researching and meditating.

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