Value Invest London

January 2013

Hetty Green: The Witch of Wall Street
Hetty Green was perhaps Wall Street’s first value investor. She was born in 1834 when the financial world was entirely dominated by men. At the time of her death she had liquid assets of an estimated $100m. This article tells the story of how she did it and highlights her value investing principles and a relentless focus on price and value, which in the context of her own family, she definitely took too far.

Michael Price on Bloomberg
Michael Price is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the Value Investing world. He was also a friend of Peter Cundill and mentor to Seth Klarman (see below). He will be opening the London Value Investor Conference in May. In this interview, he discusses money moving out of bonds and into equities, and comments on Dell’s possible take-private (5 minutes 30 seconds in). We opened a position in Dell last Summer so we are watching this particular story with keen interest.

Another Warren Buffett interview with Charlie Rose
In this 55 minute interview, Warren Buffett gives his view on some of his own investments as well as talking in depth about wider political issues in the US related to taxation and the fiscal cliff.

An old extract from one of Seth Klarman’s investor letters – the challenge of cash.
This brief article written by Seth Klarman in 2004/5, sets out the issues for Fund Managers who hold cash. We are often challenged on our cash position, asked whether we are trying to time the market. Our response is that our cash position is simply a bi-product of our process. We only invest when we find assets offering a compelling margin of safety. As Klarman points out – this is the discipline we expect from the managers of the companies we invest in and in turn our investors should seek the same from us.

The importance of fund managers having “skin in the game”
This article in the FT argues for the importance of fund managers to have material amounts of their personal assets invested in the funds they manage. Whilst it is no panacea, there is no doubt that this is the best way of ensuring the closest partnership between investors and their managers.

The first word in Mangled Meanings – Lucy Kellaway
Departing from the normal value investing theme, we could not resist including this amusing piece by Lucy Kellaway, who explores some of the more outrageous hatchet jobs by corporate bosses on the English language. There are some horrible examples of attempts at word creation, e.g. “solutioneering” and “phygital” but a favourite was, as Kellaway puts it, one company’s heroic attempt to sweeten the blow of a big drop in profits by suggesting that “EBITDA de-grew by 23.3 percent”.

Sign-up for Value Investor Digest

* These fields are required. We will not share your contact details with anyone.

  • “It’s very much the Rolls-Royce of the investor conference market”
    Paul Scott, Stockopedia
  • “The people in that room were a more powerful cadre of the powerhouse of investment than has been gathered for a very long time”
    Jonathan Ruffer, Ruffer LLP
  • “It’s kind of like Glastonbury isn’t it, for the Value Investing community”
    Nick Train, Lindsell Train
  • “What I like about it is that it is a practitioners conference and it’s an opportunity to come and hear from your peers about the work that they are doing and how they see value investing”
    Hassan Elmasry, Independent Franchise Partners
  • “I think people really look forward to it and enjoy it. There’s a good bunch of people here who have travelled a reasonable way – the speaker after me was from Hong Kong and there’s a big Canadian crew and a big US crew – people come from around the world to see this”
    Nate Dalton, Affiliated Managers Group
  • “If somebody’s already been through that process of seeing what the conference is about and then is willing to pay their money for the effort of coming here, that’s a great filtering process.”
    Gary Channon, Phoenix Asset Management
  • “The conference has become a part of the furniture of the London scene. You can discover that is what lies inside you – that you are innately a value investor.”
    Richard Oldfield, Oldfield Partners
  • “I do speak at a fair number of conferences to investor bases, this one is really quite a good list – some very, very good investors present and some very interesting speakers”
    Jon Moulton, Better Capital
  • “Definitely worth it and I know a number of people who have ‘ummed and arred’ about coming along and I’m sure that they will be regretting that they didn’t come today – and it’s only going to get better as far as I can see”
    Tim Green, Private Investor
  • “Having sat through the whole day as I wanted to come and hear all of the speakers – I’ve been really impressed by the quality”
    Anthony Bolton, Fidelity
  • “I’ve got a bunch of business cards to add to my collection and some folks I’ve been looking forward to meeting, plus some firms I didn’t even know existed but sound really interesting and I’m looking forward to building on that relationship base”
    Mason Morfit, ValueAct Capital
  • “You couldn’t find that anywhere else really, where you’re speaking to the principals who have been voted on to the Board [of Microsoft] to effect change”
    David Shapiro, Willis Towers Watson
  • “What I was impressed with is, because the subject is very similar, value investing, they found a variety of ways of attacking the same subject. I was also very impressed, having done this in another location, of seeing them stay on target time-wise so that it moves along at a great pace and I think the audience is greatly rewarded by that discipline”
    Don Yacktman, Yacktman Asset Management
  • “Very well organised and it was a treat for investors like us to hear some great speakers”
    Roli Saxena, Drona Capital
  • “I came last year and I liked it so much that I have been looking forward to today ever since”
    Dominique Levy, Sonian Capital
  • “We’e got a very sophisticated audience who are used to value investing – I think this is a good audience”
    David Samra, Artisan Partners
  • “The profile of the speakers is one of the main reasons that I came”
    Niels Borgen, Private Investor
  • “When you look at the ideas speakers have put forward in previous years and how they have performed over the last few years, they’ve done very well – if that performance continues it would be quite remarkable. It does show that you can pick up some good ideas at a conference of this sort”
    Jonathan Mills, Metropolis Capital
  • “I came last year as well and I thought that it was the most outstanding event that I have been to”
    Leon Boros, Equity Strategies