Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"It's Not Easy" - Howard Marks

Howard Marks' investing style could not be more contrary to ours in terms of the underlying assets his strategies hold (distressed debt, high yield bonds, etc) however his quarterly letters are absolute must-reads for us because of their themes and lessons.

Marks serves as chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, LP and his newest commentary was published late last week.  It's simply 15 pages of pure knowledge and insight.  In it, he reminisces of conversations with Charlie Munger, touches on the topic of "second level thinking", the role of counterintuitiveness in investing, offers up potential misconceptions within several time-honored pieces of investment wisdom, comments on the recent volatility in the world's markets and introduces a few lessons worth noting and, lastly, a few thoughts on why it's so hard to be a superior investor.

We encourage you to read the letter.  And then maybe read it again.  Oaktree's website also offers a full archive of Howard's past letters that are just loaded with great lessons.

We'll leave off with one of our favorite thoughts from this current commentary:

"Confidence is one of the key emotions, and I attribute a lot of the market’s recent volatility to a swing from too much of it a short while ago to too little more recently. The swing may have resulted from disillusionment: it’s particularly painful when investors recognize that they know far less than they had thought about how the world works. In this case, when China’s growth slowed, its currency depreciated and its market corrected, I think a lot of investors realized they don’t know what the implications of these things are for the economies of the U.S. and the world. It’s important to remain moderate as to confidence, but instead it’s usually the case that confidence – like other emotions – swings radically."

Ryan Worch is the Managing Director of Worch Capital LLC. Worch Capital LLC is the general partner of a long/short equity strategy that operates with a directional bias and while emphasizing capital preservation at all times.

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