Market research: Handel was an investment genius

Market research: Handel was an investment genius


norman lebrecht

May 25, 2016

Fascinating article by the Telegraph’s deputy finance editor on how Georg Frideric Handel played the London markets during the boom years of the South Sea Bubble and after.

Apparently, Handel performed much better than Sir Isaac Newton, achieving a thousandfold return on his initial investment.

Handel’s investing career took a perhaps familiar course: after an initial, highly risky foray into the stock market, he decided to stick to safer assets that paid a steady income. In fact the shares he chose to buy in the early days were in the notorious South Sea Company, which ruined many investors, including Sir Isaac Newton.

The German-born composer, however, was luckier and appears to have liquidated his holding in the enterprise by 1719 – just a year before the share price suffered its notorious, spectacular collapse.

Read on here.

handel halle


  • Robert Holmén says:

    Sounds like more lucky dabbler than skilled genius.

    So those South Sea annuities were perpetual? I wonder if anyone is still collecting on those.

  • Sue says:

    This is a fascinating article, but why can’t the English get his name right?

    It takes more than luck to avoid financial collapses – it takes vigilance and skill. He seems to have picked some winners but it could be that, because of his position, he had friends who could advise and consult. But he obviously made a wise choice which produced dividends.

    What an interesting man!! I wish I could talk to him about “Alcina” and my own Self-Managed Superannuation Fund!!

  • Robert Holmén says:

    We might note that investing in the South Sea Company was investing in the kidnapping of Africans and their enslavement in the New World and that that would have been known to anyone buying shares.

    Slaving seems to have been the only actual commerce the South Seas Company managed to engage in.

    • Anon says:

      That and J.S.Bach used to beat his children.
      Then Beethoven had a degrading view on women.
      Schumann engaged in nationalistic chauvinism, degrading French and Italian style.
      Wagner…no comment.

      So, Lebrecht frohlocke, the whole German music history is not P.C. and needs to be put on the index.