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Program lets you pick winners like Warren

(This article appeared in The Australian, May 10, 2005)

By Peter Switzer

So many business ideas come out of left field and a Sydney based operation modelled on the world’s most respected money maker is no exception.

But the Oddness of this story deepens when you consider it hails from the halls of academia.
In fact, it was George Bernard Shaw and even George would have been impressed with the efforts of John Price to create his Conscious Investor business.

Based on the investment methods of the “Sage of Omaha” Warren Buffet, the business aims to cash in on the explosion of investors chasing shares nowadays.

Professor Price has developed a unique software program that follows a decade of dedicated research and testing of Buffets investment techniques.

But for those who do now know Buffet, think the high flying Gordon Gekko character from the movie Wall Street meets accountant.

Buffet’s money creating credentials were summed up by US magazine Business Week recently. If you had put $10,000 into Berkshire Hathaway, Buffet’s investment vehicle, when he bought control of it in 1965, you’d have $51 million now. If you had punted the money on the Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index, you would have pocketed only $497,431.

“Simply, I developed the Conscious Investor software to enable investors to succeed in the stock market,” Professor Price said.

“Conscious Investor uses financial hurdles to eliminate companies that may, for example, have risky levels of debt, a history of unstable earnings or consistently low returns to equity.”

The software filters company financial information from the Australian and American stock market and generates a selection of top quality companies that a Buffet-like investor would consider.

The goal was straightforward. “Not only are you left with a comprehensive list of quality stocks, the program also allows you to determine the right price to pay for them,” he said

Professor Price is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales, but has always had a penchant to combine teaching and researching with excursions into the real world. In the past, he has developed large-scale risk systems for Bankers Trust and a futures trading system for the Australian Wool Board.

Professor Price said that the Conscious Investor business was a natural consequence of him being a mathematician and a computer programmer. “I didn’t do it to create a business, but it was always in the back of my mind that we could.

He now employs six staff, has a Sydney CBD office, 2000 subscribers, and he exports to 25 countries.

Professor Price said that he had written to Mr Buffet to explain what he was doing but had not received a reply. “I was not surprised,” he said. “He is very secretive.”

John Price is CEO of Conscious Investing. Email


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