Value Investor Conference 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
  • “Very good event with excellent quality of speakers. Well done!” Andrew Hardy, Momentum GIM
  • “Please make this an annual event, thought it was brilliant, learnt lots and the topics were well diversified. Very interesting day. Thank you” Mary Allen, Rothschild
  • “Very well organised and it was a treat for investors like us to hear some great speakers” Roli Saxena, Drona Capital
  • “A fantastic conference with lots of superb speakers and interesting discussions- well done!” Paul McNulty, Setanta Asset Management
  • “Great conference overall. Hard to complain – good job” Travis Moss, JP Morgan

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