Moez Kassam is the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Anson Funds, a $1.4 billion hedge fund group. Anson Funds was ranked by Bloomberg Magazine as a top 10 global performer and was named a top manager “bucking the trend” by Barron’s Magazine for its stellar performance over five years. Moez has more than two decades of experience as an entrepreneur, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist.
Through his foundation, the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation, he supports various nonprofits and charities that strengthen the health and vibrancy of vulnerable communities. Recently, the Foundation made a $1.0 million donation to Michael Garron Hospital which was commemorated by the state-of-the-art Moez and Marissa Kassam Food Court. Moez also sits on the board of various organizations, including the Toronto Public Library Foundation, Canadian Olympic Foundation, and Ryerson University’s Technology Innovation Circle.
Where did the idea for Anson Funds come from?
Anson Funds is a privately held alternative asset management company. I co-founded Anson Funds in 2003, to marry my passions for investing and entrepreneurship. We have grown our assets under management to $1.4 billion and have offices in Toronto and Dallas. Anson employs several investment strategies across multiple funds, the largest of which is our flagship Anson Investments Master Fund which operates a long/short strategy.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As cliché as it may sound, every day is different. Some days are concentrated on researching securities alongside Anson’s portfolio managers and analysts as part of a process to select and monitor investments. There are other times, however, where I spend more time in meetings and on calls related to my various philanthropic and leadership endeavors. To ensure each day is productive, I tap the diverse Anson team, as well as a variety of organization tools.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think idea execution boils down to having a competent and dependable team. It is important to have hard working people who are goal-oriented, but ensuring people are in the right role for their personality and skill set is also crucial. With the right team at Anson, we can bring all our best ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
With the introduction of the zero-commission trading platforms, retail participation in financial markets has accelerated. The introduction of a new class of investors is bringing interesting opportunities to the market and I believe it will be a key factor in the investing landscape for funds today and for some time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s very important to stay on top of the latest technologies that can help one improve as an entrepreneur and as an investor. At Anson, we are always researching and learning about new tools we can harness to improve our analysis and decision making.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind and not focus on the small stuff. Small setbacks occur but if you keep your goal in mind, and work hard, the rest will come.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think while the pandemic has changed our relationship with work, more people will return to the office than many of my peers believe. Or maybe, I just want to go back.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Checking my work. Over and over until I am 200 percent certain about my decision. We are stewards of our client’s capital at Anson, and so the importance of maintaining error-free work cannot be understated. This can be applied to all areas of business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being transparent with clients. Clients place immense trust in Anson Funds when they partner with us. It is very important we honor that trust. This strategy has helped us retain investors and even helped gain new investors through referrals from our trusting clients.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think there is huge potential within the data analytics market for institutional and enterprise clients. Businesses are always looking for an edge in our ever changing world. Creating something to aggregate, analyze and provide actionable insights to clients is going to be a very lucrative opportunity.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Probably on a nice meal with family or friends. Food is my passion and I love sharing unique cuisines with friends, new and old.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
As an investor, Bloomberg is probably the most important piece of software I use. It consolidates all functions I could need to be productive throughout the day
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the Ideamensch community reads “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. With so many emerging startups and so much opportunity, Thiel’s book provides some great insights. His definition of contrarian thinking which emphasizes thinking independently over blindly “going against the herd” has influenced me as an investor and entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” – Anthony Bourdain
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.