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Virginia Value Investor Conference


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I attended the Virginia Value Investor Conference at the Darden School of Business on October 28 & 29.  From my perspective, they had a very nice collection of presenters.



In Presentation Order:

Marc Faber (Gloom, Doom, & Boom Report)

James Grant (Grant’s Interest Rate Observer)

J. Kyle Bass (Hyman Advisors)

Richard Baker (Managed Funds Association)

Stephen Roach (Morgan Stanley Asia)

Christopher Whalen (Institutional Risk Analytics)

Witney Tilson ( T2 Partners)

Brian Rogers (Chairman T. Rowe Price)


A few notes, in very brief form, as the presentations will most likely be out in time.


Faber –

With any debasing currency, if it gets bad, stock equities represent some opportunity.

If Yen starts to depreciate, JGBs may become less popular and money moves into equities.

Some parts of Southeast Asia look good.


Grant –

Very small thrifts are starting to demutualize.

Office of Thrift is closing and new IPOs are coming.


Bass –

Of course very negative on JGBs.

Pension funds in Japan are not rolling over and decreasing JGBs.

Watch for the first industrialized country to default (maybe Ireland or Greece).

With the strong Yen, trade surplus will start to decrease.


Roach –

Bullish on China but with caution as bumps will occur.

Watch for the new 5 year plan as the government will be attempting to spur domestic consumption.


Whalen –

Institutional Risk Analytics is in the bank rating business.

Bank business model is broken on risk-adjusted basis in low interest environment even with current spreads.

Cautious on BAC and WFC.

Mortgage insurance business is currently a ponzi scheme and all are in essence broke.


Tilson –

Still pushing BP.

Shorting OpenTable, Netflix, Lululemon


Rogers –

Buying quality large caps with nice dividends.

Likes Mattel, Vulcan Minerals, and Beckman Coulter






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Thanks alot - for some reason I am drawn to Faber and Bass. They tend to keep me centered when I get a bit overexcited. Tilson has also been very impressive over the last year and appears to be coming into his own a bit more vs. being the guy who follows around Munger and Buffett. I like his bold bet on BP and he was right, at least in the short term.


Whalen's thought on housing has me salivating about what may become available here in Houston over the next few years.

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Grant –

Very small thrifts are starting to demutualize.

Office of Thrift is closing and new IPOs are coming.




can you recall any of Grant's other comments on thrift conversions (or the significance of the closing of the Office of Thrift)?


Thank you


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The Office of Thrift Supervision is scheduled to close its doors in July 2011, but become part of a larger/different organization of the Frank/Dodd bill.  As such, many want to demutualize before new management comes in :)




This is the same idea as back in the '90s when thrifts started to demutalize.  This also plays into Christopher Whalen's numbers that large bank business models are dead or dying.  These thrifts will be small and possible very low liquidity for the potential small investor take advantage of.  So keep an eye in your community or get a service like SNL to help spot them.







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