Posted October 22nd, 2013. Filed under Uncategorized

This will be my last post on Value Uncovered for the foreseeable future, but this decision is for a good reason. As of August 1st, I am the newest member of the investment team at Yacktman Asset Management, a $28 billion firm known for its value-oriented mutual funds (YAFFX / YACKX). I have followed the firm’s track record for many years, and count myself lucky to be associated with such a successful group. It’s still hard to believe that I get to do what I love full-time, and I am very excited for this new chapter.

While the rules and regulations in the industry may not easily lend themselves to an online blog, I hope to keep the historical posts on Value Uncovered available as a sort of post-mortem on my journey as an investor.

After 100+ posts over the last several years, here are a few final reflections:

  • Even though my belief in value investing never wavered, my approach to investing has improved dramatically over the last 5+ years. Investing requires continuous learning, even though the underlying concepts (buy-low-sell-high, margin of safety, etc.) never change.
  • Investment write-ups were critical to my development, even though I cringe at some of the initial posts (What was I thinking?!). Narrowing down hundreds of pages of research into several concise bullet points forces clarity of thought. Committing to the reasons behind an investment also mitigates the potential for ‘thesis creep,’ while also serving as a time machine for analyzing past investment mistakes.
  • Business school was worth it, but not from the perspective of ‘learning how to invest.’ School focuses on academic finance (CAPM, efficient frontier, Black-Scholes) and while these concepts are nice to understand, they do not help much in analyzing businesses or picking stocks. The relationships and networking opportunities were far more valuable, as was the built-in pathway – via stock pitch competitions and a summer internship – to gaining real-world investing experience.
  • I’ve talked to many current and potential students who are interested in a similar career transition. My advice? The investing industry is ultra-competitive – everyone reads the Wall Street Journal and has an opinion on Apple. Passion for investing cannot be faked. Be different. Think originally.
  • While I now have access to fancy tools and sell-side research, nothing compares to reading annual reports and thinking about business models. Primary source material is essential to the investment process.
  • There is an incredible online community of investors around the world who are doing outstanding and thoughtful work. It is a valuable resource, and they have contributed heavily to my evolution as an investor – cheers to all of you!

If you would like to stay in touch, feel free to email me and I’ll pass along my updated contact information.

Finally, the Yacktman team discovered my work via Value Uncovered, and the website proved to be a far superior resume than any traditional paper copy. Although it’s too early to be sure, I think the decision to write here could end up as the best investment of my career.