Tuesday, 08 February 2011 00:00

Howard Marks - Memos and Book

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If you have visited this site before you certainly know which investors that I respect. The list of living investors would include Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Seth Klarman, and James Montier. I added another investors to that list several years ago but I think this is the first time I have mentioned him here on the site. Now is the time to bring him to your attention as I recently discovered he will have his first widely available book published in May of this year.

He is well known to institutional managers and distressed debt investors for his investing memos that he publishes when he feels he has something relevant to say. As an individual investor you may not have heard of him as his firm doesn't market itself to retail investor (they don't invest in public equity markets) and he does seem to stay out of the limelight.

His writing strike a cord with me for several reasons. He is a big believer in behavioral investing and his firm is one of the few on wall street (Seth Klarman coming immediately in mind as another) that has a sharp focus on only investing in areas of the market that are currently experiencing inefficient pricing. Many firms say they follow this manta but few practice it religiously. The firm does not have funds for every investment category that one could possibly dream up which again confirms that they practice what they preach.

After reading his memos available on the Oaktree Capital internet site (there is also a hard cover book titled Memo to Oaktree Clients from Howard Marks printed by Wave Publishing but it is hard to locate) it was immediately apparent that he deserved to be compared to the best writers in the industry and someone it would pay dividends to follow closely in the future.

A reading of the memos provides a wealth of valuable investment knowledge and they're comparable to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway letter to shareholders in terms of quality and wisdom shared.. I can safely predict that this book will be a must read for investors. Don't just take my word for it as Warren Buffett and Seth Klarman both provided blurbs for it. I have asked the publisher for a review copy of the book and if I do obtain one I will provide a detailed review as soon as possible.

Amazon Link (We earn a small commission if you order the book via this link):
The Most Important Thing

Kindle:
The Most Important Thing

Here is his background from the Oaktree Capital internet site:

"Since the formation of Oaktree in 1995, Mr. Marks has been responsible for ensuring the firm's adherence to its core investment philosophy, communicating closely with clients concerning products and strategies, and managing the firm. From 1985 until 1995, Mr. Marks led the groups at The TCW Group, Inc. that were responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. He was also Chief Investment Officer for Domestic Fixed Income at TCW. Previously, Mr. Marks was with Citicorp Investment Management for 16 years, where from 1978 to 1985 he was Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Between 1969 and 1978, he was an equity research analyst and, subsequently, Citicorp's Director of Research. Mr. Marks holds a B.S.Ec. degree cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Finance and an M.B.A. in Accounting and Marketing from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago, where he received the George Hay Brown Prize."

Howard Mark's Links:
Past and Current Memo from our Chairmen issues:
http://www.oaktreecapital.com/memo.aspx

Financial Times Video Interview:
http://video.ft.com/v/686798698001/Howard-Marks-of-Oaktree-Capital-full-interview

Interviews & Articles:
http://www.gurufocus.com/news.php?id=109166
http://www.rationalwalk.com/?p=11091
http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/students/organizations/cima/newsletter/G&D_Newsletter-Fall2009.pdf

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