AJ: I would like to welcome my first guest, Herma Koornwinder. Once a full time mother, she became a stock market analyst through self-tuition. Some call her mockingly the Seer of the financial world, but her stock market analyses are razor-sharp and her predictions often come true. Let me show you: six out of the seven portfolios she put together outperformed the market. Those are the dark blue rectangles in the histogram. They did better than the rest.
Mrs Koornwinder, welcome. How is that possible? You don’t have a degree, you didn’t study economics and loads of people all over the world in the stock market business work in a certain way, but you, on your own, work in a different way and you’re beating them. It’s unbelievable.
HK: I know. Which is why I wanted to obtain a certificate from an accountants firm, because it really is hard to believe.
AJ: What are you like? Are you so such a persistent know-it-all that you have to do it in your own, different, way?
HK: I’m certainly no know-it-all, although I like to know everything. When I’m not sure about something I won’t stop until I find out exactly how it works, which was also the case with the stock market developments. I started out studying one share, one company and tried really hard to come to a good assessment by means of annual reports and analysis. I worked my way through newspapers, attended shareholders meetings, I even contacted suppliers and clients to find out how the company was doing and yet, despite all this effort, I didn’t succeed in making a good assessment; because it would always just veer in another direction than I suspected.
At a certain moment my daughter went to the US for a year and I took the opportunity to get the basis right and obtain a credit in economics. Well, that went very quickly.
AJ: Was that pre-university education? Grammar school?
HK: Pre-university education. The basis. The first year was fantastic. It was two years put into one year to save time. During the second year – which consisted of the third and fourth year – a lady taught us.
AJ: A lady?
HK: Yes. A woman. Young mother. We had to write everything down. From the beginning until the end of the lesson. And afterwards I’d often ask myself what I actually had done. I then decided to study the books from the year before that I hadn’t yet read because of the lack of time and I never picked up my study since. While reading one gets referred to other literature, which is why I spent years in my study. I created, as it were, my own study.
AJ: Never went back to class?
HK: Never went back to class. I went to the library. I read American books, etc. I think that the fact that I have created my own study, has led me in a different direction than a normal study in economics would have. And I found myself, without realising it, on the super high way. Everybody is talking about the information era. Well, I was right in the middle of it. And I have thus, aided by the opportunities the present time provides, gradually constructed my analysis.
AJ: Constructed it differently than the rest of the world.
HK: Constructed it. And also tested it.
HK: Whenever I had a certain vision I would write it down and put in the lower drawer of my desk. Three months later I would take it out and check whether or not it was right.
AJ: It’s quite a passion, Mrs Koornwinder. Where does that come from? What did you have to prove?
HK: I didn’t have anything to prove. I simply couldn’t accept the fact that whenever I tried to analyse a market or share by means of the traditional analysis methods, I was unsuccessful. Eventually I was able to create an analysis that was more reliable.
AJ: But why did you decide, if you yourself knew exactly what you were doing, to hire an accountants firm – and not the least for that matter – to verify your performance over the last five years, in such a way that it resulted in a report that has been published and presented to the chairman of the stock exchange in Amsterdam. You have earned some recognition.
AJ: I bet that feels good.
HK: Yes, that feels very good. It’s a nice feeling. And the good news is that the corporate finance of the accountants firm that tested the report is going to market the product all over the world.
AJ: You could become a global stock market guru, don’t you think?
HK: Well, that may be a little too much. My main objective is: if my alternative approach enables the pension funds to yield a mere 1% extra in returns, it would be a very interesting product for them. Because the Netherlands is trying to find a way to be able to continue to finance its care system. Well, this is possible if the pension funds change their approach: to not invest solely in the Netherlands, but start investing globally.
AJ: Do you actually mean to say that if the pension funds would make better investments our pensions would be better?
HK: I think it would improve our lives. We’d simply have more money.
AJ: Did you already speak with them?
HK: That goes without saying.
HK: Well, I am able to show them my report now, which makes it easier to prove my point and that is what corporate finance will do.
AJ: Right. You are an amazing, self-created, economical lady and I wish you all the best.
HK: Thank you very much.