Christopher Rees was born in England in 1950. When he was ten years old his school began teaching him how to shovel horse manure onto loganberry plants. He thinks they were trying to tell him something about his future prospects. By the time he was twelve he was plotting his escape down to the finest detail. He never went to university. He has no degrees or diplomas.
He left England on foot when he was nineteen carrying a heavy rucksack. It contained years of carefully considered items. After a week of walking through France and nearing the hot Spanish border, he walked off the road into a wood. There he left the rucksack and all the ‘definitely needed’ items. He walked out a free, liberated and instantly lighter and happier man. Now it was just him, the clothes he was wearing, and a rolled up sleeping bag, a passport, and a whole world to discover.
In the following years he traveled to over 30 countries doing different jobs to get by. He worked as a tailor in Afghanistan and as a cook in India. He did construction and carpentry in Switzerland, played professional poker in California and ran a graphic design shop in Tampa. He has also been an eco-tourist guide, sailing instructor and charter boat captain in Belize and Guatemala. Chris has waited tables, worked in kitchens and washed his share of dishes.
Somewhere in between he returned to England to run a catering business. It didn’t take long for rain cold and taxation to drive him out again. He decided to move to the States.
Not long after his first arrival in Florida, he suffered a bone-crushing toothache that sent him to the nearest dentist. It was to be a life-changing moment. He was put into the waiting room where he waited and waited. After some time he went looking for the dentist. He found him in an office hunched over a computer screen full of flashing numbers and colorful charts. If this dentist would rather be doing this than looking after his patients, then Chris wanted to know what he was doing. Thus began over 25 years (and counting) of learning about the markets and investing.
He’s been managing his own money since about 1985 but never managed to compound it. He’d always eat down his portfolio in order to finance his adventure and freedom. Then he’d work, save, re-invest and travel again.
After sailing around the Caribbean and Central America on a thirty-three foot sloop for fourteen years (much of it single-handed), he decided it was time to get serious about his life (within reason) and to slay, once and for all, the troublesome financial dragon.
He sailed to Marathon, in the Florida Keys, and got a job working nights as a waiter in a local restaurant. He spent the days in his beloved Marathon Library doing research, learning how to use computers and the internet and formulating his plan. He decided, if he did things right, he could retire to the Dominican Republic (a favorite from his travels) and live off his investment portfolio. His investment strategy was going to change from passive (1985 to 1999) to active management. He concluded he could produce 15% per year if averaged over a five year timeframe. He waited tables, studied and fine-tuned his portfolio management tool kit. When he had saved the amount he thought was needed to make it work at 15%, he sold his sailboat, flew to the Dominican Republic, and set about being a reclusive retired bum in paradise managing his own investment portfolio.
In October, 2000, he began managing a separate model portfolio at Marketocracy, a company whose quest is to find the world’s best portfolio managers and investors. Over the following years he slowly rose through the ranks of their 100,000 tracked portfolios into their top 100 and then into their top 10.
In February, 2007, Marketocracy Capital Management began offering a managed account based on his work. In May, 2010, Covestor also offered a managed account based on his work.
Articles about Chris Rees have appeared in Forbes, Dow Jones Marketwatch, The Times, Sunday Express and The Globe and Mail.
He is featured in the book ‘The Warren Buffetts Next Door: The World's Greatest Investors You've Never Heard Of And What You Can Learn From Them' by Matthew Schifrin.
Chris now lives (without dragons) in the Dominican Republic with his girlfriend and his two kids.