The firm’s investment philosophy is based on the long-standing value-oriented investing principles originally taught by Benjamin Graham & David Dodd.
These principles are best described as viewing a security, such as a common stock, as a fractional ownership in the underlying business. The principles require developing a thorough fundamental analysis of each business and its financial condition as a prerequisite to establishing an appraised or estimated value of the enterprise. Investments are made only when a sufficient margin exists between a stock’s quoted price and the analyst’s estimated value. This important part of value-oriented investment principles is referred to as a Margin of Safety and accounts for the imprecision of market pricing and financial estimates.
The firm’s Associates strive to invest in companies, not trade stocks. We seek to initiate investments which we believe have fallen out of favor or become disliked by market participants, thus creating a temporarily undervalued investment opportunity. We seek to exploit inefficiencies we believe are inherent in the capital markets, not as a result of breadth or timing of information dissemination, but rather as a result of the misinterpretation of information. The increase in algorithmic trading and instantaneous decision making based on superficial news-flow has increased inefficiencies in our view.
We seek to arbitrage discrepancies between price and value when this occurs and creates wide gaps between our appraised value and the last quoted stock price. We are patient, long-term investors willing to hold investments for years in order to maximize returns.
The firm’s research Associates concentrate on fundamental financial statement analysis which allows us to avoid becoming swept-up in the market-hype that occasionally surrounds popular investments, and instead focus our efforts on understanding businesses and their intrinsic value.
The firm’s investment process emphasizes long-term return potential with each of the businesses in which we invest, and as such, we focus on developing a thorough understanding of each prospective investment before we commit capital. Our investment process includes reviewing historic financial statements as well as engaging company senior management in regular dialogue to more completely and repeatedly appraise vision and leadership.
We manage separate portfolios for each of our investment clients. The firm’s client portfolios only hold a few positions of size, typically 18-22 equity securities, and when clients request, 6-8 debt securities. This practice allows us to concentrate on our best investment ideas while closely monitoring all developments.
We invest in companies of all sizes, across industries, and geographies, seeking to understand the business fundamentals and those people responsible for creating and executing its strategy. We are well positioned for this, with research Associates in the United States and India, allowing nearly 24/7 analytical activity.
Once we have developed a thorough understanding of the business, processed all available data, and committed capital, our investment process does not stop. We update and reconfirm our reasoning for each of our investments on an ongoing basis. We also continue to communicate with senior management and other institutional investors that own the same security for as long as we hold an investment.
An important consequence of our thorough analysis and direct communication with senior management is that it creates opportunity for the firm to initiate “operational activist” strategies with portfolio companies. We have affected operational changes with companies in which we hold a meaningful equity stake. These activities include, but are not limited to, proposing new senior management, business strategies, mergers & acquisitions, as well as replacing company board directors if we believe these activities will positively impact long-term shareholder value.