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I'm a bottom-up value investor and invest in companies selling below their intrinsic value, often because they are out of favor, ignored or in a special situation. Searching for value leads to interesting companies that are out of favor for many possible reasons.
Studying successful value investors and learning from my own mistakes the merits of value investing, over the long term, became apparent. After becoming a value investor my results improved. Sure, I still make mistakes, but on average I’ve been fortunate in getting more right than wrong.
My investing approach is covered on my blog; www.ValuebyGeorge.com The share price of a company often have nothing to do with the underlying value of the company the shares represent. So, I look for investments that are priced low relative to their true or intrinsic value so they provide a margin of safety. Then we must patiently wait, as an owner of the company, until the share price catches up to reflect the underlying value.
Having always been a learning machine, I speak five languages, have worked as a sales agent, project manager, translator, computer consultant, software engineer, built a house with my own hands, published books and essays on literature, philosophy and art, have written for magazines of various kinds in different countries.
After retiring early in 2004, little by little, I have become a fund manager for some friends and myself, following the principles of value investing laid out by Benjamin Graham, Phil Fisher, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. You can read about my thoughts on a suitable portfolio structure for early retirees here.
My articles should not be considered to be any kind of investment advice. What suits me well is not necessarily good for others, as successful investing is somewhat like a marriage: If only one is perfect, the marriage won’t work. So please do your own research and remember Benjamin Graham's advice: “The investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”
I sincerely hope that my readers will ignore the Performance calculations provided by Seeking Alpha (although only to Pro subscribers, I believe). For reasons unknown to me, some of my European stock picks seem to be tracked inaccurately by Seeking Alpha's system. Spin-offs are not included in total return calculations and many of my correction requests didn't receive any answer at all. Moreover, my time frame almost never is as short as only 1 year (the maximum included in Seeking Alpha's table) and personally I consider the 1 year performance of my stock picks to be close to meaningless.
Geoffrey Lordi manages the Abitus Osprey & Raptor Funds, partnerships in operation since 2007.
His studies include a Master of Finance (Brandeis U), a Master of International Relations & Russian (U of South Carolina), and a BA from the U of Pennsylvania.
I was a publisher (both founder and owner) from 1964 through 2009. A passive investor until recently, now I need to preserve capital while simultaneously generating some income. I've learned a great deal from Seeking Alpha. Thank you one and all. However, I have a long ways to go to catch up to the many fine contributors. You can expect me to spend most of my Seeking Alpha time "reading the mail" and continuing my investing education.
I spend most of my time reading through annual reports looking for a small-cap stock to feature in my monthly edition of "The Conservative Investor Digest." That is where you can find my best work, and that is where I focus my research. You can become a subscriber here: https://gumroad.com/l/HmqJx
Time management is essential to monitoring a 47 position portfolio. My 1st comment concludes with "Rich-unck:xx hrs"; I uncheck from the article to avoid repetitive comments, nonsense, and (most) arguments. I extend another XX hrs when I respond to a question or comment...I also respond to all PMs.
BACKGROUND My journey as a self-directed investor (SDI) began in 1973, and resulted in financial independence at age 52, which also allowed me to retire from corporate life the following year (Feb 1995).
I have no special knowledge not attainable by others who also dedicate themselves to the study of the economy, market, and stocks...I could cease all portfolio management today, and place it with a professional manager; however, I enjoy the psychic and financial rewards. Alternatively, I could become a passive investor via mutual funds and/or index ETFs (those works too! ). With few exceptions, As a rule, Rich only discusses his IRA here--it is only a portion of his and Joyce’s investment assets.
INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY If you ‘lived for today’ over the past 5 or 6 decades, you better invest in lottery tickets. The most probable path to a financially secure retirement is the product of an investment program (either active or passive) started when relatively young; living on less than all your after-tax income (saving means delayed gratification); and either self-directed or via professional management, adopting a sensible strategy suitable to age and comfort zone. There is wisdom in flexibility, diversification, and not being life-long wed to any strategy. It is appropriate to take greater risk for greater rewards (sensible growth stocks) when younger, as those are our lowest earnings years combined with our highest expense years--in the years between early investment and retirement, investments in solid growth companies can double 8 times or more.
There is time to adjust allocations to a more conservative strategy when closer to retirement. Never assume you have an information edge over the professionals. Time-in-the-market is your principle advantage. When/if you become interested in dividend stocks, never forget both price return and dividends compound, and price more so.
Financial independence is achieved when one has sufficient confidence his/her lifestyle will not change significantly, regardless of the potential depth or breadth of decline suffered by their portfolio--including a prolonged series of bear markets such as 1929-37. True, the recent 18-month bear market ending mid-2009, was deep--but also too brief to consider its lack of widespread dividend cuts to be as proof a portfolio of dividend-payers won't suffer income losses in a more prolonged decline (i.e., no portfolio is "dividend bulletproof").
The balance of this profile is lengthy, and likely not helpful to passive investors who simply go along for the ride, their portfolios bobbing up and down like flotsam in the ocean; their course always subject to the whims of winds, waves, and trends...THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!
PORTFOLIO GOALS Now in my 70s, it’s no longer appropriate to engage in the growth strategies applied in wealth accumulation. As a more conservative investor, 100% of his portfolio consists of dividend-payers. 95% of positions have investment grade credit ratings (the lone exception is a REIT).This combination, along with having companies in 10 of the 11 S&P GICS sectors (none in Materials at this time) provide a measure of diversification. This IRA portfolio holds no bonds, though bonds and other investments are held elsewhere.
Maximizing total return and wealth preservation are mutually exclusive. A key observation: Having the capacity for risk is not the same as having the tolerance for it!
Rich’s objective is now a ‘smoother-ride’ that levels out the market’s peaks and valleys (limit losses, trim notable excess valuation). That smoother ride in an all-equity portfolio cannot be achieved without active management and continuous monitoring of positions--therefore TIME is an essential input to his portfolio management. Active management does not’ means frequent changes, as it is not unusual for a quarter or more to pass between a trimming or sale (nonetheless, when a company fundamentals change, or a mistake is made, corrective action is taken.)
STRATEGY SINCE 2008 Rich targets both legs of TOTAL RETURN (distributions + price change). His Growth & Income strategy often focuses on VALUE investing tactics applied to dividend-payers. Value investors seek out unpopular, companies most investors are avoiding (i.e., fundamentals have declined but credit rating is strong, BoD has implemented a rational recovery plan, and the dividend not in danger). Value investors seek to be paid to wait for other investors to recognize the stock’s value and assign it a greater share price. In any event, value stock or growth stock, Rich always seeks a ‘margin of safety’--no shares are bought at prices >FV, and his margin of safety is derived from dividends paid, price appreciation, and rising FV over time.
In all cases, value or growth, Rich selects well-established dividend-paying companies having a high-probability of growing earnings (growth of earnings is ESSENTIAL to growth of price and dividends). He tends to be flexible, forward looking, reactive to changing fundamentals, and willing to admit a mistake so action follows.
SDI is not easy, success is not assured, and in recent decades, advice from academics, and investment coaches, almost universally recommend index funds. Those NOT having the prerequisite time and interest are unlikely to develop the requisite skills for stock investing--thus the probability strongly suggests most newbies would be better served by indexing (Ben Graham wrote favorably of indexing). However, when done successfully, self-directed stock investing can offer rich psychic and financial rewards.
CORE PORTFOLIO Presently, +/-30 equities. Core holdings dominate at about 65% of total portfolio positions. Favored are traditional, large- and mid-cap, low-beta, best/near-best in class, institutional-owned, moaty, dividend-paying, value and growth stocks, having investment-grade debt ratings, and representing the consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, and telecom sectors.
OPPORTUNISTIC PORTFOLIO The remaining 15+ positions consist of equally well-known dividend-payers found among widely-owned cyclicals, such as financial, industrials, consumer discretionary, technology, real estate, and energy sectors are sensitive to the economy. In an expanding economy, cyclicals typically grow their earnings (and dividends) faster than do the typically slower-growing core companies. But because the reverse is also true, in a contracting economy, these positions are intended to be heavily trimmed to preserve gains as the economy peaks and shows evidence of decline. Some are susceptible to quite significant price declines when Mr. Market assumes their will suffer reduced earnings, and sometimes dividend-freezes/cuts, in anticipation of those events.
Rich is sometimes fully-invested, but unlike some, observes no such rule. Building a large cash cushion at the front-end of a correction/bear market (-20%) provides the dry powder required to both cushion the market's decline, and also creates the cash required to purchase excellent companies at below FV prices (without having to sell a position he wants to keep!).
TRIMMING POSITIONS When positions in either portfolio become significantly overvalued, they are trimmed by 5-10%, and the proceeds applied to fairly valued companies before the (almost always) temporary gift of over-valuation reverts to the price mean. If the position continues to advance, and absent other information, the position will be trimmed again. Added benefits to selective trimming include (1) serves as a more sensible method of rebalancing (as opposed to automatic--professionals do not use such a meat cleaver); (2) reduces the position's remaining Capital at Risk (which may suggest room for additional shares within an otherwise full position), and (3) provides the necessary dry powder to buy other shares at FV or below.
OTHER INTERESTS As we age, the importance of family grows. Rich has long volunteered in his community; over the years has served with distinction as member/chair of a number of advisory committees. Assisting others on SA is also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Finally, having been blessed by years of excellent investment performance, Joyce and Rich have long been avid world travelers, and have visited over 60 countries over a span of 30 years (his SA avatar reflects the Taj Mahal in his sun glasses). They reside in Michigan--for 9 months of beauty, bliss, and family, and thoroughly enjoy wintering in equally beautiful Naples FL--for 3 months of sunny warmth and relaxation.
Life is good--it's been an unbelievably awesome ride!
2nd Market Capital Advisory specializes in the analysis and trading of real estate securities. Through a selective process and consideration of market dynamics, we aim to construct portfolios for rising streams of dividend income and capital appreciation.
Ron Hiram currently manages investment portfolios and assists earlier stage companies in their capital raising efforts. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Cellnet Solutions, Ltd., a supplier of remotely managed networks of public wireless terminals providing voice as well as value-added data services in developing countries, from April 2008 until March 2010. From 2003 to May 2008, Mr. Hiram was a Managing Partner of Eurofund 2000 L.P., a venture capital fund focused on Israeli-related companies in the telecommunications, information technology and microelectronic spheres. Previously, from 2001-2002, Mr. Hiram co-headed TeleSoft Partners' investment activities in Israel. TeleSoft Partners is a Silicon Valley venture capital fund focusing on companies developing telecommunication-related technologies. Between1994-2000, Mr. Hiram served as Managing Director and Partner at Soros Fund Management LLC ("Soros"), an international hedge fund in New York, devoting the bulk of his time to private equity investments. Prior to joining Soros, Mr. Hiram worked at Lehman Brothers for thirteen years (also in New York), most recently serving as Managing Director of a workout and restructuring group. Mr. Hiram has served on the boards of directors of companies publicly listed in the U.S., including Ulticom, Inc. since January 2000 and Comverse Technology, Inc. from 1985-1986 and from 2001-2006 (including as chairman of the board from May 2006 to December 2006). Mr. Hiram also served on the board of TASE listed E. Wardinon Ltd. (2005-2007) and on the boards of numerous privately held companies. Mr. Hiram received an M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1981 and a B.Comm. from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, in 1979.
My goal is to bring exposure to business development companies (BDCs) that finance small to medium sized businesses, typically overlooked by banks. BDCs are an instrument for investors to earn healthy dividends by avoiding double taxation at the corporate level and allowing income to flow directly to each shareholder. Please see website link below for more information.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
Richard is the managing principal of QVM Group LLC, a fee-based investment advisor based in Connecticut, with clients across the country. . QVM manages portfolios uniquely designed for each client on a flat fee basis through the client’s own accounts at Schwab; and provides investment coaching to "do-it-yourself" investors on an hourly fee basis. The investment approach is based on value, asset allocation, expense control, risk management, customizing portfolios to each client's specific circumstances, and regular communication about strategy and absolute and benchmark performance. Richard's extensive experience includes serving having served as a Board Director of Phoenix Investment Counsel, a U.S. pension and mutual funds manager, now Virtus Investment Partners (New York Stock Exchange: VRTS http://www.virtus.com); as Managing Director of Phoenix American Investment in London; and as a Board Director Aberdeen Asset Management PLC in Aberdeen Scotland (London Stock Exchange: ADN http://www.aberdeen-asset.com). He has been a Trustee of a $500 million pension fund, and was a charter investor and member of the Board of Directors of several internet companies, including Lending Tree (NASDAQ: TREE http://www.lendingtree.com) prior to its IPO. He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College. QVM Group LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor. Visit the QVM Group website. (http://www.qvmgroup.com). Follow him on Twitter: @QVMinvest
Roger Nusbaum is the ETF Strategist for AdvisorShares. This Arizona-based professional has over 25 years of industry experience. He is also a well-known financial commentator covering ETFs, retirement planning and portfolio management for AlphaBaskets.com and at TheStreet.com. We think Roger is particularly insightful on exchange-traded funds, risk management and investing in international markets. Visit Roger's work at Random Roger (http://randomroger.blogspot.com) and AlphaBaskets (http://alphabaskets.com)
David Fry writes a subscription newsletter focused on technical analysis of exchange-traded funds, called ETF Digest (www.etfdigest.com). Dave founded the ETF Digest in 2001 and was among the very first to see the need for a publication that provided individual investors with information and actionable advice on global ETF investing.
We particularly like the overview of financial markets that his work provides. Even if you're not a fan of chart analysis, Dave provides insight and commentary into which global markets are "working" and why.
Specializing as a market strategist and tactician, Fry focuses on evaluating, creating and implementing a variety of ETF portfolios for individual investors and financial professionals. His philosophy and approach incorporates fundamental with technical analysis in pursuit of risk management and capital preservation especially during uncertain and volatile times.
His new eBook, The Best ETFs: U.S. Equities,is now available on Amazon Kindle. Written as a cheat sheet to only the best ETFs for you or your client’s portfolios. For those that don't have a Kindle, you can purchase the pdf here: The Best ETFs: US Equities [https://gumroad.com/l/The%20Best%20ETFs]