Biography of Ike Iossif
Ike Iossif, President & CIO
Aegean Capital Group, Inc. Executive Producer, MarketViews.tv
Expert Contributor to FSO & Co-host of Newshour's Ahead of the Trend
About Ike Iossif
Ike Iossif came to the United States at the age of 19 in order to attend university studies. As a high school student in Athens, he thought he wanted to be an engineer, thus he followed what is known in the European system of education as the "science" curriculum. By the time he had finished high school he had 4 years of algebra, 2 years of calculus, 2 years of Euclidean geometry, 2 years of analytical geometry, 4 years of physics and four years of chemistry! Within his first year as engineering major, he decided that engineering was just too boring for him, so he changed his major to Business. Never the less, his rich background in sciences and mathematics gave him a strong understanding in analytical process and scientific methodology from a very young age and has influenced the rest of his professional life.
While in college majoring in Business Administration, with a Marketing and Sales concentration, he started working as an intern for a German conglomerate and spent the next six years climbing up the corporate ladder in the area of his education.
In December of 1986, he was promoted to Divisional Marketing Director, a position that entailed significant end of the year bonuses. Throughout most of 1987 he was constantly advised by colleagues’ who had already been in the same position for over a year and had received those bonuses’ how he should invest his year-end bonuses in the stock market. So, he eagerly waited for those bonuses to invest them in the roaring market. Luckily for him, the market crashed before he had a chance to invest anything.
However, the crash of 1987 got him truly interested in becoming more familiar with the stock market and its inner workings. Within a few months, he decided that he wanted to make a career change. Ike decided that finance was just too exciting and rewarding to pass up. He went back to college to re-educate himself and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Finance Real Estate and Law with concentration in security analysis and portfolio management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. While still in college, he was recruited as a junior research Analyst by London/Athens based Aegean Capital Mgt, Ltd., an Investment firm specializing in offering research and asset management services to offshore institutional investors.
Within a couple of years he became convinced that fundamental analysis did not tell the entire picture. Iossif concluded that while fundamental analysis did reveal "what" to buy or sell, it did not reveal "when" to do it, which in his view compromised overall returns. Furthermore, he became convinced that in a "perfectly efficient market" the technical and fundamental characteristics of the market should confirm each other, at least on a long-term basis. It is illogical for a market to continue, for example, to display "technical strength" over a prolonged period of time; while over the same period, the fundamentals continue to deteriorate! A good example of this argument can be found in the dot.com demise in 2000. Internet related issues, for some time, displayed tremendous "upside momentum;" while at the same time they were confronted with an ever-increasing negative cash flow. At some point it became clear, that "good technicals" could not make up for poor fundamentals. In his view, periods of time in which technicals and fundamentals are moving in opposite direction are due to the fact that in reality, markets are not "perfectly efficient." Even developed markets tend to be at best "somewhat efficient" thus, allowing investors who can identify and exploit pockets of inefficiency to generate above average returns. Market timing allows investors to identify those points in time in which the market changes direction, so the technicals and fundamentals align themselves and the previous state of inefficiency ceases to exist. Thus, Ike's approach has been a blend of both fundamental and technical analysis, which he has employed in all the positions he has held within the firm. These positions include equities/options trader, market strategist and portfolio manager leading to his current position of President and Chief Investment Officer.
Ike approaches "market timing" from two different angles. The first angle is the widely-accepted practice of identifying points at which a trend change takes place. The second angle involves quantifying market risk through the quality of the trend. He believes that simply identifying the potential of a change in trend accomplishes only half of the goal. In his view, rational investors ought to be concerned both with the direction of trend, and the quality of the trend. The "quality" of the trend is a direct reflection of market risk.