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Investment Insights

Calm investor making investment decisions

Staying Calm and Keeping Behavioral Biases Aside while Investing

By | Behavioral Finance, Investment Insights | No Comments

“The stock market is the story of cycles and of the human behavior that is responsible for overreactions in both directions.”

 – Seth Klarman.

When Warren Buffett famously stated that investing was simple but not easy, he meant that the rules we ought to use in order to make good investment decisions are easy to learn but actually adhering to them is difficult. Disregarding rules while investing cannot be attributed to open rebellion but can be ascribed to the basic human survival instincts that have been ingrained in us since time immemorial. Certain traits favored in the process of Natural Selection and helped our ancestors survive in the jungle actually do not help in the market.
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Companies and their Moats: Network Effects

By | Investment Insights | No Comments

When Warren Buffett stated “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price,” he was talking about companies with wide economic moats. The term Economic moat, famously coined by Warren Buffett, refers to the sustainable competitive advantages that immunize a business from competitors – similar to a moat protecting a castle. Mr. Buffett’s investing strategy is to invest in companies with strong economic moats as they are likely to remain successful over a long period of time.

Different types of Economic Moats offer different competitive advantages. Of all the competitive advantages a company can have, network effect is the rarest that is produced but once it occurs, it is likely to last for a long time.

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Mis-defining Investment Quality

(Mis)Defining Quality: Counting When It Cannot be Counted

By | Behavioral Finance, Global Equity, Investment Insights | No Comments

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives.

 “Ben felt that what I do now makes sense for my situation. It still has its founding in Graham, but it does have more of a qualitative dimension to it because, for one thing, we manage such large sums of money that you can’t go around and find these relatively small value-price discrepancies anymore. Instead, we have to place larger bets, and that involves looking at more criteria, not all of them quantitative. Ben would say that what I do now makes sense, but he would say that it’s much harder for most people to do.” – Warren Buffett 1 responding on apparent divergence from Graham, emphasis ours.

 “The number one idea is to view a stock as an ownership of the business and to judge the staying quality of the business in terms of its competitive advantage. Look for more value in terms of discounted future cash-flow than you are paying for. Move only when you have an advantage.” –Charlie Munger

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – William Bruce Cameron 2

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Notes:

  1. Joe Carlen, The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham, 244.
  2. The quote is frequently attributed to Albert Einstein. However, it is likely an incorrect attribution. Read more here.
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Cash Flows Don’t Lie (Or Do They?): Part II

By | Global Equity, Investment Insights | No Comments

While cash flows have been used as a guide to indicate the health of a company, just looking at cash flows is not enough. Multi-Act experts conduct an analysis of 3 companies,in the auto parts retailing industry, a highly favoured segment amongst investors and analysts. You’ll see why investing in auto part retailers may not be wise under certain circumstances. As we analyze 3 companies in the following areas, discover fundamental traits that should make investors skeptical:

  • Profitability: Margin Cycle
  • Cash Flow Generation: Working Capital
  • Cash Flow Utilization: Capital Allocation

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Sustainable Competitive Advantages

PERSPECTIVES: Consumer Preference – An Analytical Framework

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Sustainable Competitive Advantages: Consumer Preference
By Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant Trivedi, CFA with assistance from Ms. Siddhi Gujar
August 2, 2016

This article first appeared on Advisor Perspectives.

In this article:

Understanding how to analyze a moat is critical to evaluating the value of any business, and subsequently an important factor in knowing whether you should invest in a particular business. In this article, we explain why we believe terms like “brand moats” or “intangible assets-based moats” are misleading and will set up investors for behavioral errors.

It’s not enough to call a moat by its right name. We delve further to see whether this moat is a sustainable competitive advantage. Discover the two elements that need to be present and form the primary components of an analytical framework to identifying a consumer preference moat, along with ancillary factors such as pricing power and product differentiation. You’ll understand our rule of limit to the pricing power of the incumbent through examples of companies like Parle-G.  You’ll learn why investing in emerging markets and specifically consumer companies needs to be treated with caution.

To help you understand our framework better, we take you through a step-by-step analysis of Colgate

“Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it’s the lack of change that appeals to me.” – Warren Buffett (emphasis ours)

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Mutual Fund Investing: Simple but Not Easy?

By | India Equity, Investment Insights | No Comments

Dalbar, a Boston based analytics group has been studying the US markets for over 20 years and they have been publishing reports which compare the performance of an average Mutual Fund investor as compared to the Market Indices. Important point to note here is that the performance calculated was for the investor in the Mutual Fund and not the Mutual Fund itself which is more readily available.

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Economies of Scale: An Analytical Framework for Assessment of A Firm’s Competitive Advantage

By | Global Equity, Investment Insights | No Comments

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives.

“The moat in a business like our auto insurance business at GEICO is low cost. I mean people have to buy auto insurance, so everybody’s going to have one auto insurance policy per car basically, or per driver. And…I can’t sell them twenty…but they have to buy one. Read More

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The 6 Sources of a Firms Competitive Advantage

By | Investment Insights | No Comments

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives.

As we have discussed previously, sustainable competitive advantages (SCAs) are a key characteristic of high-quality businesses. While SCAs are good indicators of business quality, not all competitive advantages are created equal.  The strength of the competitive advantage and the risks that the business needs to protect itself against are largely dictated by the type of competitive advantage that the business possesses. Read More