Gasper Sopi has more than eight years of trading experience. An Elite Popular Investor on eToro, he has more than 1,700 copiers and almost 10,000 followers. He has important advice for those contemplating copying a Popular Investor: Make sure your investment goals align with the Popular Investor and stick with him for at least a year. Gasper’s diverse background can be an inspiration for anyone new to investing. It is an example that you need not be an investor from birth to be successful in the field. We spoke with Gasper about his background, his investment strategy and his favourite trades over the past year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Ever since I was a child, I was always curious about the world, and so I loved reading illustrated encyclopedias, watching the news and political debates – you know, all the stuff that nerdy kids do. This passion for learning seems to be a core part of my nature and so I tend to read about a variety of things – from technology & design to psychology & philosophy, from political & economic theories to finance and futurism.
Professionally, I’m an award winning UX/UI designer with a Bachelor’s degree in IT and a Master’s degree in Cognitive Systems & Interactive media. I’ve also published poetry, played in concerts, dabbled in science, exhibited artwork in contemporary art galleries, lectured on UX design, lectured at tech conferences and mentored at startup events. In 2016, I stepped away from my CEO position in a software development company I co-founded in order to focus on my investment activities, travel and philanthropy. Nowadays, the majority of my energy and focus goes to actively managing the portfolio on eToro. I also serve as a board member in an NGO dealing with social development, and I’m an active member of a Korean Zen School where I study and practise meditation.
Tell us about your financial background
I began developing a deeper interest in finance in late 2010, when I quit my fancy and well-paid Art Director job to start my own design shop that eventually grew to a full-service software development consultancy. I started investing in the stock market soon after and this led me to enroll in various finance-related courses. I’ve earned course certificates in “Capital Markets” and “Company Valuations” organised by the Zagreb Stock Exchange and a course certificate in “Understanding Financial Reports” organised by a leading financial education institution in Croatia. Learning about finance and investing is one of my biggest passions in life, and I feel grateful for all the learning opportunities that eToro so readily offers to its investment community.
What is your strategy and have you changed it recently to adapt to the volatile markets?
My overarching strategy is based on the time-tested wisdom of fundamental investing and I try to keep it as consistent as possible in all circumstances. I’m here for the long haul and am willing to hold on my key convictions, with a healthy dose of adjustments, even through the rough waters of volatility. I am bullish on growing disruptive companies that create products and services that people love, are well capitalised, have a competitive advantage in a growing market, are led by ethical management who’s in it for a bigger cause, and do it in a way that is aligned with the interests of the planet as a whole.
As for the recent volatility in the markets, I’ve responded to it by increasing the exposure in beaten-down blue chips that stand to gain from the economic restart, such as Berkshire Hathaway, Volkswagen, various banks and financial institutions, healthcare providers as well as a basket of hotels, airlines, cinemas and transportation. This has softened the volatility and protected the downside during the tech sell-off (ended March with +1.5% while many struggled) while at the same time capturing the upside of the growth components.
Where do you do your research?
I prefer to read research reports from various strategic consultancies like McKinsey, BCG and many others, as well as a select number of people and services on Twitter. When it comes to deep diving into the financial details of a certain company, I would use a number of online services such as SimplyWallSt, Koyfin, FinViz, Wallmine & Finbox, and I’d usually check the current sentiments on the eToro feed, StockTwits and Twitter. Occasionally, I skim through the coverage on TipRanks and SeekingAlpha to get a feel for what the consensus might be, but I try to stay as little exposed to other people’s opinions as I possibly can.
How has eToro changed the way you trade?
eToro taught me to be slightly more risk-averse than I would usually be if I were managing just my own money. I’m personally comfortable with having a more concentrated portfolio, but on eToro I try to de-risk my positions through a broader diversification.
Because I am in almost daily contact with my copiers, either on the feed or on my Discord server, I’ve been developing an increased appreciation for the whole eToro community and all the individual investors. It feels that we’re all working to better our lives together, and it’s often touching when my copiers share their individual stories as well as their gratitude for their gains.
Which assets or industries do you have your eye on now?
At any given time, approximately 90% of my money is invested, with about 10% of cash that I set aside for an unexpected momentum trade or taking advantage of sudden market irrationalities. Of the money I invest, about 95% is in equities and the other 5% is in Crypto.
As for the industries I like, the key issue for me is how well I can understand them. I try to stay in my own circle of knowledge which is tech, innovation, finance & payments, consumer brands, leisure & entertainment, particularly gaming. I think the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some major shifts in the way humans do work, socialise, learn, shop and care about their wellbeing, so I expect that companies who are able to adapt to these changes in these 5 areas are positioned to perform really well.
What was your favourite trade over the past 12 months?
This is a tough question. As you know, the last 12 months have been incredibly rewarding for many investors, and I am no exception. Between Tesla, Nio, Ethereum and GameStop, all of which have given me more than 10x a piece in 2020, I’d have to pick GME. The success of GME was, at least in part, a result of people coming together to indicate that the tides are shifting and that the little guy can no longer be ignored. Additionally, because GameStop’s success was partially a result of a retail investor uprising rather than driven by company fundamentals, I didn’t want to take credit for this trade, so I donated all my GME gains to a dozen charities across the world.
Do you invest in any asset classes outside of stocks, commodities and crypto?
Does investing in oneself count as an asset class? I generally try to keep things as simple and focused as possible. We live in incredibly fast-changing times and it becomes almost impossible to stay on top of all the investment opportunities that are available nowadays, so I mostly stay with equities and crypto-related investments. I occasionally invest in startups through crowdfunding sites and have been looking into tokenised property but haven’t done any investments there yet. I’m waiting for someone to come up with a way to tokenise human potential, that would definitely be an interesting asset class.
What is your long-term trading goal?
My long-term trading goal would hardly be regarded as trading. I prefer to look at it as investing. I’m a huge fan of the power of compounding and am committed to helping generate consistent, above-average returns for both my copiers and myself. I invest for growth and capital appreciation and personally, as a zen practitioner, I lead a very unassuming and frugal life. I’m interested to see how far I can accumulate my capital and then eventually, 10 years from now, use it to support and empower initiatives and causes that I’m passionate about, such as education, entrepreneurship, investing and mindfulness.
Any message to copiers or potential copiers?
When you invest in a PI, you are not investing in one stock that you can just exchange for another. Rather, you are investing in a portfolio that has been strategically designed to meet a certain objective – so it’s very important that your own objective aligns with the objective of the portfolio you are copying. Take some time before deciding on a Popular Investor to copy, but once you reach a decision, then you need to stick with them for at least a year, otherwise things might not work out.
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