Monthly Commentaries

Monthly Commentaries / May 15, 2016

Luck vs. Skill

“Most of the annual variation in [investment] performance is due to luck, not skill.” …Bradford Cornell, California Institute of Technology As we’ve written in the past, in investing we generally underestimate luck. Even more interesting is the human tendency to attribute poor results to bad luck and good results to skill. Understanding the relative contributions […]

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Monthly Commentaries / April 15, 2016

“Chicks Dig the Long Ball”

“Chicks dig the long ball” …Greg Maddux, 1998 Nike commercial In a recent call with investors, Byron Wien, chief strategist of Blackstone, was asked why active managers don’t outperform their index benchmarks. He provided three explanations — two well‐worn, the third more novel. First, he said, a clients’ tendency to dwell on short‐term results penalizes […]

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Monthly Commentaries / March 15, 2016

Price Stability

“A turkey is fed for a thousand days by a butcher; every day confirms to its staff of analysts that butchers love turkeys “with increased statistical confidence.” The butcher will keep feeding the turkey until a few days before Thanksgiving. Then comes that day when it is really not a very good idea to be […]

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Monthly Commentaries / February 15, 2016

The Fishing Lure

“Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.” …Will Rogers I recently read an article that compared investment marketing to the manufacture of fishing lures. The comparison, so the article goes, is that the […]

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Monthly Commentaries / January 15, 2016

Bias Blindness

“The investor’s chief problem and even his worst enemy is likely to be himself.” …Benjamin Graham There’s an old saw about two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim […]

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Monthly Commentaries / November 15, 2015

Fundamental Investment

“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe.” …Friedrich Nietzsche Laurus prefers to describe our investments as “emerging blue chip companies” as opposed to the traditional industry term “small cap”. Our deep fundamental investment process uncovers businesses that create long‐term wealth for […]

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Monthly Commentaries / October 15, 2015

Re-thinking Home Country Bias

“The thing I find most interesting about investing is how paradoxical it is: how often the things that seem most obvious—on which everyone agrees—turn out not to be true.” …Howard Marks One of the most misunderstood investment allocations in Canada is Canadian equity. Over the past few years, institutional investors have been reducing their Canadian […]

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Monthly Commentaries / August 15, 2015

Taking the Long View

“Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.” — Peter Lynch A recent blog post by Sam Altman, CEO of Y Combinator, turned the phrase “the days are long but the decades are short”. Now, being admittedly sardonic, Sam is […]

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Monthly Commentaries / July 15, 2015

Investor vs. Speculator

“The speculator’s primary interest lies in anticipating and profiting from market fluctuations. The investor’s primary interest lies in acquiring and holding suitable securities at suitable prices.” — Benjamin Graham While we seldom like to make specific market comments, the recent deterioration in stock prices merits a brief observation. At mid‐year, the SP500 Index was 75 […]

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Monthly Commentaries / May 15, 2015

Porter’s Five Forces

“In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” — Warren Buffett Webster’s dictionary defines a moat as “a deep, wide ditch that is usually filled with water and that goes around the walls of a place (such as a castle) to protect it from being attacked” (emphasis added). Obviously, the wider and […]

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Monthly Commentaries / April 15, 2015

Evaluating Outcomes

“[…] more thoughtful decision-making will lead to better overall results, and more thoughtful decision-making can be encouraged by evaluating decisions on how well they were made rather than on outcome.” — Robert Rubin, Former US Treasury Secretary We were recently sent a comment from a mutual fund company discussing returns for their small cap product. […]

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Monthly Commentaries / February 15, 2015

Thinking Short Term

We couldn’t help smiling at the recent Dilbert cartoon, especially given this past month’s 7.2% return. Scott Adams’ sardonic humour has always provided a regular source of chuckles. Being somewhat technologically challenged, I was a particular fan of the strip where the pointy‐haired boss announces the new password policy for the company: “Starting today, all […]

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