Value Invest London

January 2014

Howard Marks’ Latest Memo
This latest memo discusses the role of luck, both in life and in investing. Howard discusses numerous examples of where favourable circumstances in conjunction with hard work have led to success. He uses examples of Buffett and others, as well as considering the circumstances of his own life. Howard reflected that sometimes “bad luck” can be for the better in the long run. In his own words: “Of all the jobs I applied for when leaving Chicago [University] in 1969, I wanted one much more than the rest but didn’t get it. A few years ago, the company’s campus recruiter told me I had been chosen, but on the relevant morning the partner in charge came in hungover and failed to call me with the positive message he was supposed to deliver. Just think: but for that bit of “bad luck” I could have spent the next 39 years at Lehman Brothers!

Sources of Competitive Moats
This is a substantial report of over 60 pages by Credit Suisse, the authors have created a good primer for understanding the sources of Competitive Moats. There is nothing new in the report, but it is a comprehensive look at a variety of sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Real world examples and a “value creation checklist” on page 52 are also useful.

The Secret to Value Investing – Joel Greenblatt
Time horizons have been shrinking in investing for the past 30 years according to Joel Greenblatt, and patience is in short supply. In this video he discusses why this deep seated bias towards short-termism in today’s investment world creates an advantage for value investors.

Warren Buffett’s Meeting with University of Maryland MBA Students
In November of last year Warren Buffett met with some MBA students in Maryland. As usual this took the form of a Q&A session. A variety of topics are covered in the transcript and there are some good one-liners from Buffett.

Vitaliy Katsenelson’s Investor Holiday Reading List
The holiday’s may be long gone but there are some great books and articles detailed in Vitaliy’s three installments of this reading list.

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  • “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