March 2012     Issue 8

The London Value Investor Conference – 19th April 2012
Since Issue 7, progress and interest in the conference has been beyond all our expectations. In February, we selected the charity which will benefit from all profit on the event: The SMA Trust, a children’s charity which supports vital research into finding a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.   In March, we announced four illustrious new speakers from the US to add to the line-up: William Browne from Tweedy, Browne, Michael van Biema, Dan O’Keefe from Artisan and Ian Jacobs from 402 Fund.

Buffett article and annual letter to shareholders
Click here for the article
Click here for the video
Click here for his shareholder letter
This article was published in Fortune as an adaption / preview of his shareholder letter, published two weeks later. This would be an excellent one to give to a teenager or someone who is new to investment; it is typical of Buffett’s ability to set out the key tenets of his successful investment strategy in very straightforward language. We have also included a slightly out of date video which we missed including in the January edition. Here, amongst other comments on the US economy, Buffett discussed the Euro situation, which today may appear somewhat less risky than it did back then although we would argue that the fundamental risks have not really changed.

The best stock fund of the decade…but not necessarily for its investors
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This article, written for the Wall Street Journal in 2009, is a fascinating insight into how investors in funds are often their own worst enemies. Whilst this successful fund posted 18% annual returns, the average investor in the fund lost an incredible 11% over the same period, because they traded in and out of the fund at the wrong time. This example illustrates that being a disciplined long-term investor is just as important when you are investing in funds as it is when investing directly in equities

An interview with Anthony Bolton
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Anthony Bolton has been one of the UK’s most successful long-term investors – a shining example of the out performance that can be achieved from a disciplined long-term approach to investing. In this interview, he talks candidly about the challenges he has faced with applying his style of investment in China.

Howard Marks’ history lesson
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In his latest memo (March 2012), Howard Marks treats us to an enjoyable trip back through history to dissect an article entitled “The Death of Equities”, published in Business Week in 1979. This memo draws the parallel to the negativity surrounding equities as an asset class today. He sets out some of the signals that we should look for in determining that the crowd has got it wrong and we have entered the period of maximum pessimism or optimism.

The case for value investing
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Here, we provide access to a detailed white paper, which presents the statistical case for value investing outside the US. Whilst long, it is a good read because it also addresses some of the drivers for the long-term outperformance of value.