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25-year-old investor follows Buffett's advice

Andrew Skujins, 25


IT consultant

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The portfolio

Bank of Nova Scotia, Berkshire Hathaway, Cameco Corp., New Oriental Education, Google, ICICI Bank Ltd., ING Groep NV, Manulife Financial, New Gold, Paladin Energy, Royal Bank, Suncor Energy and Telus Corp.

His approach

Mr. Skujins has a truly long-term orientation, looking 50 years down the road to his eventual retirement. Some of his approach is built on the principles of Warren Buffett. "I don't care what others are doing. I'm not looking to play the market, I just want to invest in companies." He also blends in his own strategies. "I start with industries I like, and then pick out the best players, the ones with a decent competitive advantage that will do better over in the longer term." He also makes it a point to read widely, and credits leading lights such as mutual fund legend Peter Lynch for helping him have such a mature and big-picture outlook, despite his relative youth.

His favourite industries

Despite uranium's lacklustre recent path, Mr. Skujins likes the metal, which is why he owns both Cameco and Paladin Energy. "I see uranium as the only long-term solution to the demand for energy." Another favourite is telecommunications because "the future is going mobile." Here his pick is Telus, which he believes has the kind of customer service that can foster better long-term customer retention.

How he assesses companies

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He looks at a company's 10- or 15-year stock chart, comparing it to those of its competitors. He avoids companies where management has made a misstep or two. "If I'm not confident they'll make good decisions, I'll just avoid the company," he says. "I don't want a management team taking risks for me. If I want risk, I can choose the degree and type myself."

Best move

The best purchase of his life, says Mr. Skujins, came two years ago when he had enough money to buy his first class B share of Berkshire Hathaway for around $3,000.

Worst move

Abitibi was one of his first investments, as well as the worst, since the company soon went bankrupt. "I bought it purely on a stock tip from somebody who had made a lot of money," he says. "I learnt my lesson in terms of not taking advice from anybody, no matter how well they've done before"


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"It's difficult, but try to not get emotional if you're losing money. And as long as the long-term outlook is favourable, I don't worry. If it goes down 20 per cent, no problem, because in the future it will be worth 10 times its current price."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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