Irving Kahn

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Irving Kahn
Irving Kahn photo.jpg
Born(1905-12-19)December 19, 1905
DiedFebruary 24, 2015(2015-02-24) (aged 109)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater City College of New York
Columbia University
OccupationInvestor and philanthropist
Known forAdvising the Kahn Brothers Group

Irving Kahn (December 19, 1905 – February 24, 2015) was an American investor and philanthropist. He was the oldest living active investor. [1] He was an early disciple of Benjamin Graham who popularized the value investing methodology. Kahn began his career in 1928 and continued to work until his death. He was chairman of Kahn Brothers Group, Inc., the privately owned investment advisory and broker-dealer firm that he founded with his sons, Thomas and Alan, in 1978.

Benjamin Graham American investor

Benjamin Graham was a British-born American investor, economist, and professor. He is widely known as the "father of value investing," and wrote two of the founding texts in neoclassical investing: Security Analysis (1934) with David Dodd, and The Intelligent Investor (1949). His investment philosophy stressed investor psychology, minimal debt, buy-and-hold investing, fundamental analysis, concentrated diversification, buying within the margin of safety, activist investing, and contrarian mindsets.

Value investing is an investment paradigm that involves buying securities that appear underpriced by some form of fundamental analysis. The various forms of value investing derive from the investment philosophy first taught by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd at Columbia Business School in 1928, and subsequently developed in their 1934 text Security Analysis.

In financial services, a broker-dealer is a natural person, company or other organization that engages in the business of trading securities for its own account or on behalf of its customers. Broker-dealers are at the heart of the securities and derivatives trading process.


Kahn was the oldest active money manager on Wall Street. [2] He made his first trade—a short sale of a copper mining company—in the summer of 1929, months before the famous market crash in October of the same year. [3]

Wall Street Crash of 1929 stock Market crash of 1929

The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Stock Market Crash of 1929 or the Great Crash, is a major stock market crash that occurred in late October 1929. It started on October 24 and continued until October 29, 1929, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed.

Early life and education

Kahn was born on December 19, 1905, in New York City to Mamie (née Friedman; 1880–1946) and Saul Henry Kahn (1875–1964). He attended at the City College of New York and went on to serve as the second teaching assistant to Benjamin Graham at Columbia Business School. At the time, other notable students and/or teaching assistants to Graham included future Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett and future value investors William J. Ruane, Walter J. Schloss, Charles Brandes, among others. Graham had such an enormous influence on his students that both Kahn and Buffett named their sons after him. Kahn named his third son, born in 1942, Thomas Graham, and Buffett, his first son, born in 1954, Howard Graham.

City College of New York senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City

The City College of the City University of New York is a public senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City.

Columbia Business School business school

Columbia Business School (CBS) is the business school of Columbia University in the City of New York in Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1916, Columbia Business School is one of the oldest business schools in the world. It is one of six Ivy League business schools, and has been referred to as among the most selective of top business schools.

Berkshire Hathaway American multinational conglomerate holding company

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. The company wholly owns GEICO, Duracell, Dairy Queen, BNSF, Lubrizol, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, Long & Foster, FlightSafety International, Pampered Chef, and NetJets, and also owns 38.6% of Pilot Flying J; 26.7% of the Kraft Heinz Company, and significant minority holdings in American Express (17.6%), Wells Fargo (9.9%), The Coca-Cola Company (9.4%), Bank of America (6.8%), and Apple (5.22%). Since 2016, the company has acquired large holdings in the major US airline carriers, and is currently the largest shareholder in United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and a top three shareholder in Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. Berkshire Hathaway has averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.0% to its shareholders since 1965, while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.

Investment career

Kahn was a Chartered Financial Analyst and among the first round of applicants to take the CFA exam. He was a founding member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and the Financial Analysts' Journal. Kahn was also a former director of Teleregister Corp., Hugo Stinnes Co., Grand Union Stores, Kings County Lighting, West Chemical, and Willcox & Gibbs. He was the president of the New York City Job and Career Center and was a trustee emeritus of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute to investment and financial professionals. The program covers a broad range of topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, quantitative analysis, equities, fixed income and derivatives, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance.

CFA Institute is a global association of investment professionals.

Hugo Stinnes German politician

Hugo Dieter Stinnes was a German industrialist and politician.

In a magazine article in 2002, he was quoted as saying: "I'm at the stage in life where I get a lot of pleasure out of finding a cheap stock," adding that his research still pushed him to work evenings and weekends. His son Thomas, then and still currently President of Kahn Brothers Group, said, "My father continues to research ideas and talk to companies. One of the nice things about this business is that there's no mandatory retirement age, and you allegedly get wiser as you get older." [4]

Personal life

Kahn, his sisters, and his brother were, collectively, the world's oldest living quartet of siblings. [5] Kahn himself lived to 109. His sister, Helen Reichert (1901–2011), nicknamed "Happy", died seven weeks before her 110th birthday. The youngest sibling, Peter Keane (1910–2014), died at the age of 103. [6] Kahn's other sister, Lee (1903–2005), died at the age of 101. [7] Kahn outlived his son Donald, who died suddenly on January 16, 2015 at the age of 79. [8]

Helen Reichert was an American talk show personality, New York University professor, founder of The Round Table of Fashion Executives, and the oldest living alumnus of Cornell University at the time of her death at age 109, just seven weeks before she would have become a supercentenarian.

Irving Kahn died on February 24, 2015, aged 109. His death was reported through a brief paid obituary in the New York Times on February 26, 2015. No specific cause of death was given. [9]

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  1. Financial Times: "On Wall Street: Age old wisdom"
  2. The Financial Times : "On Wall Street: Age old wisdom"
  3. Barron's : "Still Going Strong"
  4. Bary, Andrew. 2005. "Living Legend," Barron's , December 12.
  5. The Week : "The last word: The secret to living past 100"
  6. Lomuscio, James (11 February 2014). "M. Peter Keane Obituary". Westport Now. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  7. Geni - Leonore Reichart (Kahn) (1903-2005)
  8. DONALD KAHN Obituary
  9. Irving Kahn, New York Times, February 26, 2015.