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October 9th 2009

Interview with Howard Lindzon: “I am Optimistic About Forex”

Today we bring you an interview with hedge fund manager Howard Lindzon, author of The WallSTRiP Edge and co-founder/CEO of StockTwits. Below, Howard discusses his interest in currency trading, as well as his general approach to investing.

Forex Blog: As a forex blogger, I am eager to hear how and why you developed a sudden interest in forex.

It is not a sudden interest in forex.  For years, I had money with trend following managers and slowly saw the way people traded currencies.  My new fascination comes from all the people on stocktwits talking currencies at odd hours 🙂

Forex Blog: Does your primary interest lie in currencies, themselves, or rather in the people that trade them? In other words, is it your intention to invest directly in currencies or instead to identify companies that successfully market services to currency traders? Perhaps a combination of both?

I own the Canadian Dollar right now and also gold so my fascination is in the way different things move different markets.  Currencies move from macro policies and they seem to trend better.  For me, It’s now a combination of both.  I am learning to get a feel for currencies as I hear individuals on stocktwits actually talk about them.

Forex Blog: While it’s true that forex remains off the radar screen of many retail investors, I must point out that it’s already by the far the largest market in the world, with an estimated $4 Trillion in daily turnover. In spite of this, it seems you’re still quite optimistic about its prospects for growth?

I am optimistic because of many trends.  The online brokers are way behind and must catch up.  The forex brokers are way behind and see the retail consumer as a growth market and there seems to be chaos so it should be interesting which new winners emerge.

The world has indeed flattened and shrunk and currencies should be a more exciting topic as governments collide more often.

Forex Blog: Are there specific currencies that you are interested in, and/or that you believe are currently undervalued?

It is really exciting to watch the action in the dollar.  I try to see the big picture.  We are printing money and our policies are not changing.  it seems the us government wants a cheaper dollar which would be fine, but they are also manufacturing it, so I don;t think it will work out well for it.  I just don’t have a timeframe.

Forex Blog: As some of your readers pointed out, the forex market is currently saturated with fraud. New regulation is expected to clamp down on unethical business practices, but could also lower the appeal of forex by cutting leverage from 200:1 to levels associated with trading stocks retail. How will changes in regulation factor into your investment approach?

The regulation on our little community comes from the community itself.  If I am learning, I think I can get others excited about learning…if not to trade, than to see how the currencies and government policies affect stock prices and other markets.  I try not to worry about regulation…my size also keeps me out of the stress of it as I am too small.

Forex Blog: Shifting gears a bit, why did you decide to found/back StockTwits, a self-described “community-powered idea and information service for investments?”

I founded stocktwits to help me better track my ideas from a trusted source of friends.  It’s about getting the info i want, when I want it, on any device, from the group I want it from.  All that has happened is that thousands of others want info the same way. With the new filters and discovery features of twitter and now stocktwits, the speed to knowledge is faster than ever and its fun.

Forex Blog: How would summarize the growing appeal of StockTwits to its users? In other words, how does StockTwits (intend to) distinguish itself from the hundreds of other popular forums and message boards dedicated to the art of investing?

Community is the real differentiator.  Every community is different.  Ours just has some pretty cool features in it and i love the context our ticker has and the breadth of knowledge.  I also believe in the ‘farm system’ of distributed talent and having an expert pop up out of nowhere and get rushed to the top.  It’s like…oh my god…we need a doctor…BOOM, thousands of people are asking around for a doctor and then you get one right away.  It’s social leverage at work.

Forex Blog: If StockTwits expanded to the point where user comments/activity influenced asset prices (as happens occasionally with RagingBull and Jim Cramer’s Mad Money), would you view this is as a positive or negative development?

If we move markets, that’s good;  it’s an evolution.  I doubt we will and if we do, I am hopeful it is for the right reasons and we will do everything within our power to nudge the community in the win/win, do the right thing way.  We are going to be wrong all the time too so moving the market is not something people should be worried about.

Forex Blog: Finally, what advice to you have for investors that want to beat the market (any market, really) during the credit crisis?

I have never routinely beat the market.  I invest heavily and with a long term time frame when I feel I have an edge.  I want to beat the market not daily, weekly or yearly, but over decades.  You need to pick the asset classes that jibe with your passion, thinking, energy, risk levels, liquidity needs and then passionately chase the returns.

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Interviews, News | 1 Comment »

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  1. Forex Links for the Weekend | Forex Crunch Says:

    […] Adam Kritzer brings an interview with Howard Lindzon, co founder of StockTwits, which declares that he’s optimistic about forex. […]

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