Katsenelson family

I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Murmansk, Russia, a city located above the Arctic Circle in the northwestern corner of Russia. My family emigrated to the US in 1991. I received my formal education (both my graduate and undergraduate degrees) at the University of Colorado at Denver. While I was getting my master’s degree I also studied for CFA exams and received my CFA charter in 2000.

2004 was probably the most important year in shaping the direction of the rest of my life – I started writing. First I wrote for TheStreet.com, but I couldn’t sit still, and so I wrote for almost every major financial publication you can imagine, from The Financial Times to The Christian Science Monitor and Barron’s. Writing forced me to think exponentially more than I had thought before and accelerated my growth as an investor and human being. 

I must have been addicted to driving to the University of Colorado campus, because when I stopped going there as a student I started teaching there. In 2001 I taught my first investing class to undergraduates, and later I taught grad students. I did this dutifully until 2007, when my first book, Active Value Investing, came out. In 2010, the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, asked me if I could turn Active Value Investing into one of their “Little Books,” and that’s how The Little Book of Sideways Markets was born. 

In 2022 I published my third book, and my first non-investing one, Soul in the Game. What originated as a simple collection of past essays on topics outside of investing turned into something more when I discovered Stoic philosophy and dedicated a third of the book to it.

In 1997 I joined Investment Management Associates, Inc. (IMA), at first as an analyst. Then I became portfolio manager, CIO, and today I’m IMA’s CEO and its biggest cheerleader. I helped build IMA into a firm that I’d want to be a client of (which I am – all my liquid net worth is managed by the firm). Clients come to IMA (many of them nearing retirement), turn over the bulk of their net worth for us to build them an “all-terrain portfolio”, and basically say, “Vitaliy, don’t screw it up, please.” I take that responsibility seriously.

Most importantly, I am married to a wonderful wife, Rachel, and we have three incredible kids, Jonah, Hannah, and Mia Sarah.

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