I remember being on the floor of the Stock Exchange in Melbourne in October 1987 during the market crash and wondering what I had gotten myself into, I remember being up late and watching live on television the horror of 11 September and thinking to myself that the end of the world must surely be upon us. At the time, my father was in hospital recovering from an illness and I remember when he woke up he asked me what had been happening in the world.

Where to start, I thought. We continually ask ourselves the question, where will growth come from in the new economic environment? What companies do we invest in to achieve our goals of income and growth? What is our appetite for risk?

Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves is – what sort of investors are we really? How much risk can we tolerate in our daily lives? Should we be focusing on spending more time investing in our families, our businesses and ourselves rather than watching the daily gyrations of the stock markets day in and day out?

Australia has fared particularly well during this crisis – in technical terms, we are not even in recession. I recall doing a program on Sky Business with Peter Switzer during the dark days and being asked the question, would the Australian economy go into recession?

My answer to this was that we would skirt the edges and fly very close to the term “technical recession” but that we would just manage to avoid one thanks to China and Australia’s position in the world. I said that not because I knew more than anybody else, but because I am an optimist and I have a strong belief in Australian’s ability to weather adversity and come through a crisis stronger than when we went in.

There was such a universal atmosphere of doom and gloom, yet what we were seeing was people just getting on with their lives and trying to keep their heads above water.

I also feel that over the past year we have learnt a great deal about ourselves and our abilities as citizens.

What is it that allows people to become great achievers? Is it drive? Is it ability? Is it knowing, almost at once, what you do best? Is it finding an original solution to an age-old problem? Is it classic thinking outside the box? Is it unparalleled discipline focus and concentration?

In our industry we read a lot, and I mean a real lot. On any given day, the amount of research and publications we get through is enormous, we are like a human browser trying to filter out what is important and relevant to clients and investors.

This brings me back to the original question – what type of investor are you?

The real answer may come back to what sort of person you are. I was going back through some notes that I had written over the past 12 months and came across the following piece that I penned almost exactly one year ago in the midst of the doom and gloom.

I really hope it helps with your investment philosophy and I thank you all for reading it. Remember, one year ago:

For those investors who have a long-term horizon and who are focused on the quality end of the market, and have available funds this is a wonderful opportunity to ‘back up the truck’ in order to acquire stocks that offer long-term earnings growth and reliable dividend flow.

There have been many days over the past few months when we have spent a considerable amount of time trying to explain to people that what is happening at the moment is the result of many factors outside of their control and that, yes, in time the volatility that currently washes over us on seemingly a daily basis will pass.

I got into this business mostly due to the influence of my father Bruce Bond whom many of you will remember from his radio, TV and other media commitments. Bruce died last week (August 2008) after a long illness and it would be unforgivable on my part if I did not mention this to you.

Bruce was an educator of investors and I am what I am due to his influence and also due to the support of so many of you who continually back me and do business with us.

I am fortunate that so many people saw so much goodness in Bruce and continually encouraged my own family to follow his path of honesty, integrity and family values.

Those are words that roll off the tongue without any hesitation to describe the man that Bruce always was.

Our children – Tim, Sam and Ben – often commented to me regularly that they never saw Bruce get angry, they never heard a profound word or a negative comment regarding anyone.

Bruce never spoke ill of people; if he didn’t have anything good to say about someone he would just say nothing about them at all.

Bruce was one of the world’s greatest survivors; he seemed to continually recover from ailments that would have seen others fall by the wayside. He had more than nine lives.

Bruce saw the world clearly and did not harbour resentments.

It seemed that some sort of instinct always prevented him from compromising himself in any way, shape or form, his conversation was always natural as was his good faith in all his endeavours and dealing with people.

He was neither vain nor conceited and he simply believed that by holding out long enough his views would prevail, he was always prepared to put himself in a position where he could choose between two alternatives.

I think we all tend to ask ourselves how we would like to be remembered and what people will recall about us, and what we gave to society in general as we went through life.

Bruce was never interested in becoming rich on the back of selling himself out and, for that matter, any compromise to his integrity was not acceptable, wealth to him represented giving, not receiving. Those of you who have done work for the ABC will know you don’t get rich as one of their broadcasters.

He lived by three rules: never steal, never cheat and never lie.

He dealt with adversity by saying the following: don’t whine, don’t complain and don’t make excuses.

Bruce was always true to himself and felt that if we are not true to ourselves, we cannot be true to others, our wife, our family, our profession or our colleagues.

Bruce and Rose were married for 52 years. Perhaps his greatest joy was in helping others and he felt that he could not have the perfect day without helping others and had no expectation of getting something in return.

One can say he lived a very successful life when you think about it, he lived in a beautiful place in a wonderful country, he was always true to his family and was proud of their achievements, he had a wife who loved him and stood by him until the end.

Towards the end, it became increasingly harder for Bruce and for someone who was always full of energy I know it was frustrating. One day when I went to see him, I asked him how he was feeling and he told me that he was tired, he said I’m tired of all this and it was then that I knew that things would go downhill more rapidly.

Bruce would like to say that character is what you really are, your reputation is what PEOPLE SAY YOU ARE and Bruce can move on knowing his reputation is intact.

If I can achieve a sliver of what he was, I will be a better man.


Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.