In episode 158, we welcome back our gest from episode #77, founder of the Acquirers Funds, Tobias Carlisle. Toby begins by providing some detail about his new fund, The Acquirers Fund, a long/short deep value U.S. equity fund. He then spends some time talking about the short side of the portfolio, getting into the thoughtful approach he takes in considering positions including sizing, valuation, balance sheet factors, and stock price factors. He explains that the broad opportunity set looks good for short positions right now.
Meb and Toby shift to talking about the long period of underperformance for value investing. Toby hits on the fact that French/Fama data shows value has had its worst 10 year period ever based on the price/book ratio, and notes value has underperformed for an extended period based on other valuation metrics as well.
Meb then asks Toby about his process. Toby gets into some detail about his valuation process, and why he favors it vs. other valuation approaches.
As the conversation winds down, Toby chats about his own podcast, The Acquirers Podcast, some interesting guests he’s hosted recently, and what’s on the horizon for him and Acquirers Funds.
All this and more in episode 158.
In episode 157, we welcome back our guest from episode 83, Randy Swan. Randy and Meb kick off the conversation by getting into Randy’s new book, and what motivated him to write. Randy talks about having an opportunity to go back and write about how and why Swan operates the Defined Risk Strategy.
In getting into the investing framework outlined in the book, Randy explains why he thinks investors face a “Dual dilemma,” forced to stick with conservative investments, or step out into riskier assets and sacrifice protection from their conservative investments. He goes on to state his thoughts on the evolution of democracy and the role debt has played in decision making in government and central banking.
He then goes deeper into this dilemma by explaining the rationale behind his thinking about this problem, and his expectations for low returns in both equity and fixed income markets going forward.
Meb asks Randy to discuss why it’s so important to focus on avoiding large losses and investor psychology. Randy follows up with thoughts on portfolio construction concepts he feels are important to add to the current thinking to seek return streams that are more in line with investor expectations.
The conversation then shifts into the genesis behind Swan’s flagship, Defined Risk Strategy, the idea that correlation of returns is unreliable, especially in times of crisis, and the difficulty in defining risk in an investment portfolio. He then walks through the portfolio management process and covers some examples of the mechanics during bear markets.
As the conversation begins to wind down, Meb asks in what periods this strategy is expected to shine vs. struggle. Randy walks through the desirable market conditions for Swan’s strategies.
All this and more in episode 157.
In Episode 156 we welcome back our guest from episode #115, Steve Glickman. To get listeners up to speed, Steve starts with an overview of what Opportunity Zones are, some specifics about the design of the program, and some concepts behind how investors can actually put money to work in Opportunity Zones.
Meb asks about additional insights since updated rules have been announced. Steve discusses clarity on items such as investing timelines on capital gains, and the length of time funds have to invest capital.
When Meb asks about what kind of investments are available, Steve goes on to clarify that just about any asset class is available, but commercial real estate funds, energy, and infrastructure are areas he’s seeing utilized, among others.
The conversation then gets deeper into what needs to happen with investments to qualify to meet the regulations, and what happens if companies no longer qualify under the rules. For real estate specifically, Steve describes the need for projects to fall under one of two categories, either 1) purchased for original use, or 2) must undergo substantial improvement. He then describes some of the rules surrounding other businesses, such as startups and existing businesses. Meb follows up with questions on qualifications of some specific examples from public stocks to REITs.
On the back of details about investments, the pair get into the fund landscape, with Steve mentioning how much of the fund market will consist of professional money managers running funds in their respective industries.
Steve then covers what he’s seen so far from the very early days of the program. He discusses much of what he’s seeing is in commercial real estate, but he’s seeing creative models of asset classes many people haven’t thought of yet. He then shares some thoughts about how some of the early rules may be revisited going forward, and some of the potential issues that could come up with the program.
As the conversation winds down, Steve discusses his firm, and the things he’s working on.
All this and more in episode 156.
For this special Friday episode, we welcome NYU professor and valuation expert, Aswath Damodaran. As it is Uber IPO day, Meb and Professor Damodaran start with a discussion about Uber and ride sharing valuations.
Next, the two get into Professor Damodaran’s work and his framework for thinking about valuation. He covers the craft of valuation, and how his framework evolves over time. Professor Damodaran then shares details on what he thinks about Amazon and Apple, how he thinks about valuation in the context of each company, what he’s learned, and how his process has changed over time.
Meb then asks Professor Damodaran about his thoughts on dividends and buybacks. Professor Damodaran starts with the corporate finance side of the discussion by describing buybacks and their role in the cash return to shareholders, the impacts buybacks have on corporations and investors, and the psychology behind the thinking about buybacks.
The conversation then shifts to a chat about Professor Damodaran’s work on valuations, and his current take on global valuations and equity risk premiums. He gets into the equity risk premium in the U.S. during 2008 and 2009 and the information that can be gleaned from studying the history of equity risk premiums.
As the conversation winds down, Meb asks professor Damodaran to talk about industries he feels are ripe for disruption. Professor Damodaran responds with some interesting insights into education, publishing, and banking.
All this and more in episode 155.
In episode 154 we welcome Frank Curzio.
Frank begins with his origin story, learning to conduct financial research from his dad, working for Jim Cramer and the incredible industry and company access he had, and eventually launching Curzio Research.
Meb jumps right into markets by asking Frank what opportunities he’s seeing right now. Frank mentions he’s not seeing a lot of opportunity but likes seeing the separation in company reporting right now, some stocks reporting poorly, some reporting well. Overall, with a decent economy, not much crazy bullishness, and with valuations where they are, he thinks a downturn of 10-15% might create a lot of opportunities.
Frank then gets into tech. He discusses the idea that the leaders can continue to grind higher, and his thesis on why IBM’s Red Hat deal will be a gamechanger. He transitions into biotech and discusses his thoughts as well as some of the difficulties of investing successfully in the industry.
Next, the conversation transitions into energy. Frank talks about natural resources, and some of the “on the ground” research he’s done, and the difference it makes in his understanding of the investments he’s making, as well as some specifics on energy, mining, and resources.
The two then shift to talk about tokenization, and how Frank is tapping this innovative idea to raise capital for Curzio Research.
All this and more in episode 154.
In episode 153 we welcome Kim Shannon. Kim begins with a discussion of human nature and her value investing framework. She covers the importance of using discipline, the characteristics she and her team look for, the question of value’s efficacy, and the opportunity going forward for value to show its might.
Meb then asks where she’s seeing value right now. Kim talks about Canada and it’s valuation relative to other markets, and that a number of investors are interested in the concept of concentrated investment portfolios. She then gets into potential overvaluation in pockets of the Canadian housing market.
The conversation then shifts with Meb asking about Kim’s event in Omaha this year around the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway meeting, the Variant Perspectives Value Investing Conference, to raise awareness about the gender bias gap in the investment sector.
All this and more in episode 153.