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Chou America Funds!


Parsad
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I might go back to university in January and will likely not have any time for managing my portfolio. Chou is one of the few prospects that I consider to give my money to, like all canadian funds the management fees are quite high tough.

 

BeerBaron

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Does Chou invest similarly to Hamblin-Watsa? Do they keep in communication? Is this as close as we can get to having HW run our money? :)

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Does Chou invest similarly to Hamblin-Watsa? Do they keep in communication? Is this as close as we can get to having HW run our money?

 

Yes to all!  Your only other option is through Fairfax shares directly, especially now that Northbridge and Odyssey are no longer public companies. 

 

There's a reason why Francis is included in our panel of investment managers at our annual Fairfax Financial Shareholders Dinner, and it ain't because he's cute and cuddly.  Although most of the women at Fairfax would probably say he is!  ;D  It's because he was an integral part of the HW team for many years, and he probably knows how Prem thinks as well as anyone. 

 

I would put Roger Lace, Brian Bradstreet, Chandran Ratnaswami, Francis Burke and Tony Hamblin in there as well.  That crew has all worked together since well before day one.  I think Paul Rivett and Sam Mitchell are right in there too now in such a short period of time...both have alot of responsibilities at Fairfax...and are absolutely integral.  It's one hell of team!  Cheers!

 

 

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That's good to hear.

 

This appears to be a good addition to the "possible investments" list. The prospectus allows him great leeway to invest how he pleases, including fixed income, distressed entities, foreign shares, shorting, etc.

 

FYI--there are only CUSIP numbers now, no symbols, an e-mail address that doesn't work(as of last night--I did inform them today), and no idea when available through the discount broker fund-marts.

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Definitely a concern and I will ask about it once someone is available that actually knows something! Waived fees can be indefinite. or not.

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Is anyone concerned about the "Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses" of 5.22%?

 

I know it's capped now at 1.75%, but even 1.75% is pretty high.  When it becomes uncapped, 5.22% is a huge hurdle.

 

Thoughts?

 

Seems likely a matter of the new fund's size.  i.e. high fixed costs (legal, etc) compared to very low starting assets under management.  As the assets grow from a very low base, the % should decline dramatically. 

 

I very much doubt that the fee would become uncapped in the near term.  The fund would more likely be closed should it fail to attract enough assets to make it worthwhile in the next few years.  Also, the fees on Chou's other small funds didn't rocket higher.  So, I think history should provide more than a little comfort in this case.

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  • 2 months later...

I wish they would get their butts in gear and make this fund available at the discount brokerages. It opened July 1st. They don't even have a symbol yet! Come on guys.

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Looks like the fee waiver is good until July 2011. What's up with the 12b1 fee, though? Seems like the best value funds don't have the 12b1 fee, like Sequioa and Fairholme. It seems to me that the best value recognize that the 12b1 fee doesn't add much value to shareholders.

 

I looked through the SAI but I couldn't find any of the management team owns shares. Is that right?

 

Sanjeev, since you know Chou, do you think he'll eliminate this once assets are larger?

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Looks like the fee waiver is good until July 2011. What's up with the 12b1 fee, though? Seems like the best value funds don't have the 12b1 fee, like Sequioa and Fairholme. It seems to me that the best value recognize that the 12b1 fee doesn't add much value to shareholders.

 

I looked through the SAI but I couldn't find any of the management team owns shares. Is that right?

 

Sanjeev, since you know Chou, do you think he'll eliminate this once assets are larger?

 

I had emailed them (to a couple different addresses) to ask about the fees but never heard back.

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Is anyone concerned about the "Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses" of 5.22%?

 

I know it's capped now at 1.75%, but even 1.75% is pretty high.  When it becomes uncapped, 5.22% is a huge hurdle.

 

Thoughts?

 

Seems likely a matter of the new fund's size.  i.e. high fixed costs (legal, etc) compared to very low starting assets under management.  As the assets grow from a very low base, the % should decline dramatically. 

 

I very much doubt that the fee would become uncapped in the near term.  The fund would more likely be closed should it fail to attract enough assets to make it worthwhile in the next few years.  Also, the fees on Chou's other small funds didn't rocket higher.  So, I think history should provide more than a little comfort in this case.

 

Agreed Norm, and one should also consider how many managers have choose to reimburse fees in year's of poorer performance too! I can only think of one.

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Sanjeev, since you know Chou, do you think he'll eliminate this once assets are larger?

 

I can't comment on Francis' funds.  You'll have to contact him directly with that question. 

 

All I know is that Francis is one of the only fund managers in Canada, who has on several occasions refunded a portion of the management expense ratio to his unitholders because he wasn't satisfied with his results.  He will be fair to his unitholders.  Cheers!

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According to Francis...

 

----------------------------

1) The unit value of the two funds, Chou Equity Opportunity Fund and Chou Income Opportunity Fund, will be on Bloomberg by the end of this week.

2) We are trying to put it on the Schwab or Fidelity platform.

3) Investors can buy direct with no upfront fees. There is a link on ChouAmerica.com website for buying direct.

4) We are looking at the 12b-1 fees. Haven't reached any conclusion yet.

5) The Chou Equity Opportunity Fund is up about 21% from July 1, 2010 and Chou Income Opportunity Fund is up about 9% from July 1. This is as of today.

----------------------------

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According to Francis...

 

----------------------------

1) The unit value of the two funds, Chou Equity Opportunity Fund and Chou Income Opportunity Fund, will be on Bloomberg by the end of this week.

2) We are trying to put it on the Schwab or Fidelity platform.

3) Investors can buy direct with no upfront fees. There is a link on ChouAmerica.com website for buying direct.

4) We are looking at the 12b-1 fees. Haven't reached any conclusion yet.

5) The Chou Equity Opportunity Fund is up about 21% from July 1, 2010 and Chou Income Opportunity Fund is up about 9% from July 1. This is as of today.

----------------------------

 

Wow! Excellent information. Thanks so much for that!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'd love to put my clients into these funds, but Chou is not making it easy for investment advisors. I called the fund management company here in the US, and they really have no clue about what is going on. No symbol. No idea when they might be available at any brokerages. They suggested I call my brokerage so they can initiate the process. My brokerage had never heard of it, couldn't find any information on it, and wasn't adding any new fund families. Sooooo, even though I would like to add millions to the Chou America funds, I can't. I can send some of my own money directly to them, but not clients.

 

According to Francis...

 

----------------------------

1) The unit value of the two funds, Chou Equity Opportunity Fund and Chou Income Opportunity Fund, will be on Bloomberg by the end of this week.

2) We are trying to put it on the Schwab or Fidelity platform.

3) Investors can buy direct with no upfront fees. There is a link on ChouAmerica.com website for buying direct.

4) We are looking at the 12b-1 fees. Haven't reached any conclusion yet.

5) The Chou Equity Opportunity Fund is up about 21% from July 1, 2010 and Chou Income Opportunity Fund is up about 9% from July 1. This is as of today.

----------------------------

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Misterstockwell,

 

On the symbol,

 

"...the Funds will be able to obtain a Ticker symbol once they meet the following criteria:

1 – If a Fund reaches 25 million in net assets or 1,000 shareholder accounts, it can apply for the Ticker immediately. (Fund level only)

2 – If the Trust reaches 10 million in total assets in both Funds by March 1 (which is 1 year from the date of the Trust filing), then both Funds can obtain a ticker...."

 

Will post if there is any feedback on the rest..

 

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Some more info...

 

You can go here for a quote http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CHOEQOP:US

There are some progress on Schwab and the like to get it onto their platforms, but the due diligence process usually run for several months. Email me on the board if you are serious and I can look to get you in touch with F.

I can understand that some of you are frustrated by the slow progress on ironing out all the details, but to be honest it is also quite typical of the man. Things will develop and grow in its own good time. There is no particular rush....

 

Anyway, as I said drop me a line and I will help where I can to move things along a bit. No promises though. 

 

Bloomberg screenshot below

http://baobabglobalfund.com/Images/BB.gif

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Sanjeev...just paying down my debt..

Misterstockwell...some feedback for you "...also thank Misterstockwell for letting us know that the call center response was not the right response. We have corrected that."

 

Also found the Chou Income Opportunity Fund link http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CHOINOP:US

 

Lastly, my personal comment on the fees are that I would not be concerned. I think FC has proven on several occasions that the collection of fees is the last thing on his mind and once again in my personal opinion he will go to great lengths to avoid so much as a hint to the contrary. You will recall the last occasion where he returned the fees for his European Fund while the fund was doing relatively well. However, because it was not satisfactory to him the fees were returned. According to my knowledge that was instigated by himself. He was not acting on anybody's suggestion or reacting to a complaint. Yet, it does say something about the way that he views the world, so in light of that the fees will not be a concern to me.

 

Anyway, that's my two cents...

Happy investing and watch that Muni market...it's getting interesting....

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just went to the Chou America website to see if there were any more details on the funds, and found a 9/30/10 portfolio for the Equity Opportunity Fund.  Looks interesting in that the amount of concentration is unlike any mutual fund I'm aware of:

(sorry for the formatting)

 

Common Stock - 60.5%

Communications - 14.9%

40,000 UTStarcom, Inc. (a) $ 86,800

 

Consumer Discretionary - 16.2%

4,800 Office Depot, Inc. (a) 22,080

1,000 Sears Holdings Corp. (a) 72,140

 

Consumer Staples - 22.0%

10,000 King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a) 99,600

4,200 MannKind Corp. (a)(b) 28,392

 

Energy - 3.9%

4,000 SandRidge Energy, Inc. (a) 22,720

 

Information Technology - 3.5%

1,600 Dell, Inc. (a) 20,736

 

Total Common Stock

(Cost $298,074)  352,468

 

Warrants - 6.7%

3,000 Bank of America Corp. (a) 19,470

2,500 Wells Fargo & Co. (a) 19,725

Total Warrants

(Cost $41,810)  39,195

 

Total Investments in Securities - 67.2%

(Cost $339,884)* 391,663

 

Call Options Written - (0.9)%

(42) MannKind Corp.

(Premiums

Received

$(4,873)) 10.00 02/11 (5,502)

 

(Premiums Received $(4,873))* $ (5,502)

Other Assets & Liabilities, Net – 33.7%  196,277

Net Assets – 100.0% $ 582,438

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