Exclusive Howard Marks Meeting Notes

inoculatedinvestor's picture

(A version of the following piece was previously posted in
the Inoculated Investor's website:
http://inoculatedinvestor.blogspot.com/)

Zero Hedgians,

 

One
of the perks of being in school again is that I get access to a number of great
investors who take time out of their busy schedules to speak to the UCLA
Anderson Student Investment Fund. As a group, we are very fortunate that our
advisor has a relationship with the President of Oaktree Capital, Howard Marks.
Mr. Marks was gracious enough to spend close to 90 minutes with me and my
classmates this past Monday.

 

I
first became aware of Oaktree in March of 2008 when a copy of the latest memo
from Howard Marks came across my desk. The memo was entitled "The Tide
Goes Out" and after reading it I decided to email the contact person
listed on the Oaktree website, begging her to allow the investment community to
have access to all of previous memos. While she was reluctant at first, all of
them are now available at
http://www.oaktreecapital.com/memo.aspx.

 

At
the time, I was living in New York and was working for an equity-focused hedge
fund. Consequently, I had no idea how prominent a firm Oaktree was in the fixed
income world. However, since moving out to LA and meeting investors who live
and work in the area, I have learned just how well-respected Oaktree is. Not
surprisingly, I have read every memo released since March of 2008.

 

Further,
my first opportunity to hear Mr. Marks speak was at a Wharton Hedge Fund event
in New York. I have been lucky enough in my young career to have met and
listened to a good number of very savvy investors discuss their investment
philosophies. However, to this day one particular comment from Mr. Marks has
stuck with me. He said that his main job is to manage risk and to protect
capital. As a value investor, that mandate really resonated with me. I think it
fits in perfectly with the margin of safety concept that I try to incorporate
in all of my stock analysis.

 

Fortunately,
Mr. Marks' wisdom will soon be available for all of us to consume. He has
written a book called The Most Important Thing that can
be pre-ordered on Amazon now and will be available on May 1st.
I have already put it on my Amazon wish list and humbly suggest that you do as
well. However, if you cannot wait that long, check out the interview on
the Financial Times' website with Howard Marks from last November. (
http://video.ft.com/v/686798698001/Howard-Marks-of-Oaktree-Capital-full-...)

 

Finally,
Mr. Marks has graciously allowed me to post the notes from the event last
Monday. Given the length (no, the notes are not quite as long as those from the
Berkshire Annual Meeting), I have put the notes into a Scribd format. The
settings should allow you to download a PDF copy. But, if you have any trouble,
feel free to email me and I will send you a copy.

 

I
have to say that even after following Mr. Marks for the last few years, in
person, his temperament and the way he articulates his investment philosophy
far exceeded my expectations. I hope you enjoy the notes.

 

Sincerely,

 

The
Inoculated Investor

 

 

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Gigliola Cinquetti's picture

Just read the whole PDf . I think he's right to point out the difficulty of pricing an asset that does not produce a chash flow. But he also includes oil in that category . Each barrel of oil gets converted into a myriad of other  products like fertilizer , plastics , fuel ... . All of these have a certain market price and generate a cash flow for those who produce it and sell it . Thus at least indirectly oil produces a cash flow .

apberusdisvet's picture

Marks may be perfectly straight or he could be just another agent of disinformation.  All of the world's central banks have gold as an item on their balance sheets since it has always been a store of wealth.  Gold bears always, disingenuously, omit this fact.

Ted K's picture

Interesting stuff.  Hope you got a few more like this in the future. (cue overly polite golf applause)

Blistering Barnacles's picture

Thoughtful article at Oaktree on all that glitters

http://www.oaktreecapital.com/MemoTree/All%20That%20Glitters%2012_17_10.pdf

 

Thanks for good steer

amanfromMars's picture

The Inoculated Investor, Hi,

Can you send me a pair of those rose tinted glasses please, for that was an interview with a man who waffles admirably ..... ie says nothing of value, eloquently, in order to appear sagacious, rather than be uncovered and discovered a fraudulent bubble-head?

BeerGoggles's picture

I guess Howard Marks is still smoking dope ;)