15 September 2019
Imagine if Tony Measor were to call the A-share market which is held 90 percent by retail investors. He would have a field day. Photo: Apple Daily
Imagine if Tony Measor were to call the A-share market which is held 90 percent by retail investors. He would have a field day. Photo: Apple Daily

Legendary stock picker Tony Measor will be missed

Tony Measor, a popular financial columnist who spent 50 years in investment research, fund management and column writing, passed away this morning. He was 82.

The HSBC diehard offered investment advice to retail investors for most of the past 15 years, earning the nickname “Warren Buffett of the East”.

Measor had been at it long before tycoon Lee Shau-kee got into the act.

I got a sense of the Briton’s popularity when one of his local fans called to tell me about his death.

Measor had not been writing for at least five years in either Next magazine or his famous investment newsletter Quamnet (since sold to a Chinese party), which charged subscribers HK$3,600 a year.  

He should be glad he had that many followers even if many of them did not understand a word of his financial advice.

I remember meeting him nine years ago during the launch of his first book, Invest To Last: 10 Timeless Principles, and managed to understand at most 20 per cent of what he said.

There is perhaps something special about Tony that comes from his long years doing many things.

The accounting-trained Briton went to Singapore to work as a stockbroker in the 1950s before coming to Hong Kong.

He joined the Hong Kong Standard in the 1980s and later became a research head and fund manager.

In 1987-88, he managed a Hong Kong fund which ranked first for two consecutive years.

But it was not until 1999 that he started a column in Next Magazine and ran a model US$1 million portfolio.

The column became a hit and his stock picks — especially HSBC — caught fire. His portfolio was up more than five times in seven years.

That’s when comparisons to Warren Buffett emerged.

Tony’s favorites included Swire Pacific B, Manulife and, PetroChina — all star performers from 2001-2010 but probably a bunch of non-performing, boring stocks by today’s standard.

To sum up his investment style, Tony liked growth stocks more than cyclical or speculative stocks with decent dividends, which he believed would ensure investment success and a happy retirement.

Because of his failing health, he stopped writing in 2010 after a stroke significantly diminished his motor and cognitive abilities and confined his activities to home.

Back then, his four children wrote in an open letter: “Our father is not immune to the inescapable clutches of age, and most people would agree that he has lived a full and colorful life. He has always been pleasantly surprised by the number of readers he has and has loved meeting them in his day-to-day activities. We look forward to the day when he will be able to meet and address them once more.”

Imagine if Tony were to call the roller-coaster A-share market, which is held 90 percent by retail investors, many of whom have been biting off more than they can chew.

He would have a field day. This is exactly the reason he is being missed already.

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EJ Insight writer