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1987 profile of Lou Simpson


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https://oddlotinvest.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/lou-simpson-1987-profile.pdf

 

"One of the things I have learned over the years is how important management is in building or subtracting from value," Simpson said. "We will try to see a senior person and prefer to visit a company at their office, almost like kicking the tires. You can have all the written information in the world, but I think it is important to figure out how senior people in a company think." [...]

 

According to Simpson, his investment principles are as follows:

 

(a) Think Independently. "We try to be skeptical of conventional wisdom and try to avoid the waves of irrational behaviour and emotion that periodically engulf Wall Street. We don't ignore unpopular companies. On the contrary, such situations often present the greatest opportunities."

 

(b) Invest in High-Return Businesses Run for the Shareholders. "Over the long run appreciation in share prices is most directly related to the return the company earns on its shareholders' investment. Cash flow, which is more difficult to manipulate than reported earnings, is a useful additional yardstick.

 

"We ask the following questions in evaluating management: Does management have a substantial stake in the stock of the company? Is management straightforward in dealings with the owners? Is management willing to divest unprofitable operations? Does management use excess cash to repurchase shares? The last may be the most important. Managers who run a profitable business often use excess cash to expand into less profitable endeavors. Repurchase of shares is in many cases a much more advantageous use of surplus resources." Pay only a reasonable price, even for an excellent business. "We try to be disciplined in the price we pay for ownership even in a demonstrably superior business. Even the world's greatest business is not a good investment if the price is too high." Pay only a reasonable price, even for an excellent business. "We try to be disciplined in the price we pay for ownership even in a demonstrably superior business. Even the world's greatest business is not a good investment if the price is too high."

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  • 3 years later...

A Q&A with renowned investor Lou Simpson

 

https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/investment-great-lou-simpson-explains-portfolio-strategy

 

One thing a lot of investors do is they cut their flowers and water their weeds. They sell their winners and keep their losers, hoping the losers will come back even. Generally, it’s more effective to cut your weeds and water your flowers. Sell the things that didn't work out, and let the things that are working out run. Lou Simpson

 

 

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  • 6 months later...

And then he took 10% of his portfolio and put it into Valeant.

 

And then he realized the mistake, sold, did a post-mortem and moved on.

Not many can show such a favorable long term track record.

 

Unlike the Madoff scheme and other too good to be true stories (to which Valeant can now be assimilated), Mr. Simpson is a living example showing that you don't have to be perfect to be great. The stock market can be a humbling place.

 

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Thanks for posting guys!

 

 

Can I get $1 every time someone mentions flowers and weeds?

 

Or just the weed...

 

::)

 

If you follow the advice you'll get more than a dollar:-)).  This has been the hardest thing to wrap my head around with value investing.  Holding onto the winners is hard when they become fairly valued or somewhat over valued.  But there is hope.  Becoming more disciplined in my purchasing reduces the need to make decisions on the buy side or on the sell side. 

 

In other words "Keep it simple". 

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By far the hardest thing for me to do as well.

 

Value investors are typically so he’ll bent on buying cheap that many will stay in a bad deal or average down. Many also want to stay invested for the “long term”. Both have hurt me.

 

I don’t think I’ll average down much again unless it is an extreme no brainer. Won’t do it on a commodity or potentially disrupted industry.

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