Monthly Commentaries

Monthly Commentaries / January 31, 2018

Measuring Quality

Made famous by Benjamin Graham back in the 1930s (who postulated that one’s loss would be greater buying a low quality business at a price that seems good value, than a high quality company at an excessively high price) and expounded upon by management consultants like Tom Peters (“In Search of Excellence”) and Michael Porter […]

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Monthly Commentaries / November 30, 2017

Why Capital Allocation Matters

As we noted in our last commentary, the intrinsic value of any investment rests on the free cash flow the business can generate over its remaining life, discounted back to present value at an appropriate rate. Obviously, one cannot actually know the precise timing and magnitude of cash flows even for the next few years let […]

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Monthly Commentaries / October 31, 2017

Buying a Castle

Over our past few monthly commentaries, we’ve discussed investments using Game of Thrones metaphors: castles (the company), moats (competitive advantage), and knights (strong management). This is our third and final piece – determining whether the investment is worthy of client capital. “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a […]

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Monthly Commentaries / August 15, 2017

In Management We Trust

In our commentary last month, we introduced the concept of moats and knights – companies with defendable, competitive moats and the “knights” whose sole purpose was to widen them. This month, we’ll further discuss these defenders of the realm; how to identify them and how to ensure quality and integrity is more important to them […]

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Monthly Commentaries / July 15, 2017

Moats and Knights

With the highly acclaimed television series “Game of Thrones” beginning their seventh season in July, we are reminded of the above lesser-known Buffett quote. While there are plenty of investment firms suggesting investment in “moats”, there has been little explanation on how a company establishes a moat or, more importantly, defends one. Perhaps there are […]

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Monthly Commentaries / May 15, 2017

Artificial Intelligence

It’s hard to fathom that Y2K was seventeen years ago. Remember the widespread fear that technology would collapse around us in the belief that everything that computers touched would be engaged in a catastrophic breakdown as the date changed from 1999 to 2000? Of course, with the exception of some minor software glitches the millennial […]

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Monthly Commentaries / April 15, 2017

Evidence-based Investing

The new issue of Research magazine is now available and its theme is evidence-based investing. The issue included a great article from Bob Seawright (CIO of a San Diego advisory firm). We can’t fit the entire article here and recommend you take a look at the magazine in its entirety. “I realized technical analysis didn’t […]

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Monthly Commentaries / February 15, 2017

Cash is King

If you were investing your own money, what type of investor would you be? Are you the conservative type – one who looks for an investment to generate cash flow while appreciating in asset value – or the aggressive type who looks for the “big win”? “Intrinsic value can be defined simply: It is the […]

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Monthly Commentaries / January 15, 2017

So Sayeth Charlie Ellis

I’ve always been a fan of Charley Ellis. He has constantly challenged our industry to be better, criticizing the inability of the investment management business (he prefers to call it a business rather than a profession) to beat the market. He, like many other investors, has a bias for passive investing. He contends that increasing […]

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Monthly Commentaries / October 15, 2016

Active vs. Passive Investing

A great deal has been written and discussed about the move toward passive investment. A recent Bloomberg article written by Barry Ritholtz quoted Bill Miller, legendary US stock picker, as saying the shift is not really from active management to passive but from expensive passive investment management to inexpensive passive management. Miller suggests about 70% […]

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Monthly Commentaries / August 15, 2016

High Quality Businesses

“In money management what sells is the illusion of certainty.” …John Hempton There has been a great deal of chatter recently on whether an investment process focused on acquiring “quality companies” (high future returns on capital through sustainable competitive advantage) is more marketing spin than reality. Much has been discussed about the sustainability of high […]

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Monthly Commentaries / July 15, 2016

The Dreamy Business

“In Ajit, we have an underwriter equipped with the intelligence to properly rate most risks; the realism to forget about those he can’t evaluate; the courage to write huge policies when the premium is appropriate; and the discipline to reject even the smallest risk when the premium is inadequate. It is rare to find a […]

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