The Business On: Jim Rogers, Investment manager
Wednesday 02 March 2011
Is he still going?
Very much so: Mr Rogers, an investment guru in the 1970s and 1980s, when he co-founded the hugely successful Quantum Fund with George Soros, has reinvented himself as a commodities expert in recent times.
And is he as outspoken as ever?
Indeed. He moved his entire family to Singapore a couple of years back, claiming that smart people were now relocating to Asia, just as the brightest people had gone to the US 100 years ago. And yesterday he basically accused Saudi Arabia of lying about its oil reserves.
What do you mean?
Mr Rogers thinks the Saudis' promises to raise oil production if the oil price gets out of hand on Middle East tension are worthless. They don't have the capacity to raise production, he says, and the world is running out of oil much more quickly than people realise.
That sounds scary.
Indeed. Bear in mind that Mr Rogers has an axe to grind – he's heavily invested in commodities and backs the super-cycle theory that these assets are going to go on rising in price over an extended period because demand will outstrip supply. Still, he's not alone in questioning whether the Saudis really have as much oil as they say.
Has he been proved right before?
Spectacularly so. Between 1970 and 1980, the Quantum Fund returned more than 4,000 per cent, compared to around 40 per cent from US equities. Mr Rogers made so much money that he was able to retire. He spent the next two decades giving lectures, making media appearances and going on extended trips around the world on his motorbike with his wife. In one record-breaking trip they clocked up 116 countries.
Any advice for those who would follow in his footsteps?
Yes – don't bother. In November he told students at Oxford University not to consider the City or Wall Street if they wanted to make money, or bother doing an MBA. He said this century's fortunes were to be made in mining and agriculture.
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