It was my birthday yesterday and I want to share a great information source with my readers: the Valor Intrínseco blog (translation: Intrinsic Value), which joins our blogroll. The blog posts are only in Portuguese, but its subject matter is Value Investing and the material they source is, 99% of the time, in English. I am more than glad to help this “competitor” out because great work always deserves praise – and because there is so much noise in the investment world, we need all the help we can get to hone in on the good stuff.
After a very public fraud issue with insurance licensing, Zenefits is taking steps to re-adequate its financing and shareholder base. Yes, it is in exchange for a promise of no legal action, and no, not everyone is happy – but it seems as interesting as it is unusual.
The meeting has been over for a few hours now. I wonder whether coming here was worth it, even though I have just reassumed coverage of Berkshire Hathaway for my company. It is still good fun and this year the Brazilian team here was pretty sizable. However, since the webcast appears to have worked well, the expense and […]
The Berkshire Hathaway 2016 annual meeting starts in 15 minutes. You can watch it LIVE, for the first time, through Yahoo Finance. Let us hope for good questions!
I have just finished reading Berkshire Hathaway’s 2015 10-K. The letter to shareholders by Warren Buffett (edited by Carol Loomis) is brilliant, as usual. I have written here about how these two “walk their talk” (Buffett and Munger), and this 51st letter to Berkshire shareholders is another fine example. The section on Productivity is mandatory reading, especially so for Brazilians.
I highlight an HBR article called The Overvaluation Trap, about behavioral issues that can emerge when a company’s price is so high that management cannot, “in the absence of amazingly good luck”, be able to perform to such lofty expectations. The resulting decisions can have catastrophic consequences for the companies involved – and for their investors.
My notes on Guy Spier’s book, The Education of a Value Investor. The book is much better for beginners, but there are very interesting tidbits for experienced investors. Some of what he shared about productivity and about finding a group of people you both admire and trust so you can debate ideas with them resonated a lot with things I had been thinking about, or doing, without necessarily having an idea of where it could lead to.
There isn’t one foreign friend of ours – from inside or outside the investment community – that hasn’t asked us “the Petrobras question(s)”. We are sorry to say that we don’t have an answer and probably never will. Call us superstitious, but state-owned companies have a knack for causing the occasional investment disaster. We put them in the “too conflicted” box and move on. In the meantime, we point to Prof. Aswath Damodaran’s musings on Petrobras.
McKinsey & Co’s new article on “Confronting corruption” seems tailor made for the current Brazilian news cycle. How about avoiding corruption? It is impossible for a huge company to control every worker everywhere and all the time, right? Yes, but any company can mitigate the risk by avoiding incentive systems and a corporate culture that favors “shortcuts”. I mention a Harvard Business School course I attended in December 2013 and link to various sources on this subject.
Back in March 2014 we published our 4Q13 management report containing a special section discussing Proxy Advisory Firms. It was motivated by further research following a June 2013 post on Buysiders.com called “Proxy Advisory firms: use with caution”. In the original post I highlighted “the dangers of “outsourcing research” – be it in Corporate Governance, people, financials, business models, competition, whatever – and the temptation of trying to systematize/quantify an investigation that is, by nature, subjective and case by case.” In the excerpt inside I addressed this part in detail but also mentioned “the fundamental choices we should make in terms of capital allocation (be it financial or human).” We can choose how we do our research, and we should choose wisely. For us the choice is clear.