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Value Investing Community Loses a Legend: Irving Kahn (1905 – 2015)

February 26, 2015 By: webmaster Category: Benjamin Graham, Irving Kahn, SuperInvestors

Irving Kahn, co-founder of Kahn Brothers Group and one-time teaching assistant to Benjamin Graham at Columbia Business School, has died at the age of 109.  I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Kahn in 2012.  I’ll never forget Mr. Kahn’s first words…. a profuse apology for not standing to greet me.  He had fallen on a step and hurt his back.  Irving Kahn, a successful investor who was 106 at the time and still worked in the office 3 – 4 days a week was apologizing for not giving me a proper greeting?!

We had a wonderful lunch.  If I am half as lucid at 80 as he was at 106, I will be a happy man.  More than once during our meeting Mr. Kahn urged me to read Storage and Stability by Benjamin Graham.  Embarrassingly, I never got around to it.  I think Mr. Kahn would happy to know that I just placed an order on Amazon and the book is next in my queue.  We may not all be blessed with as many years as Irving Kahn, but at least we have something and someone to aspire to.

See:  Irving Kahn, Investor Who Profited in ’29 Crash, Dies at 109 (Bloomberg)

See:  Irving Kahn, the world’s oldest investor, dies at 109 (The Telegraph)

See:  Irving Kahn, Wall Street’s oldest stockbroker, dies at 109 (The Washington Post)

See:  The oldest money manager on Wall Street has died at age 109 (Business Insider)

See:  Irving and Tom Kahn Guest Lecture (The Ben Graham Center for Value Investing)

See:  Interview of Irving Kahn (The Ben Graham Center for Value Investing)

See:  Storage and Stability: The Original 1937 Edition by Benjamin Graham with a Forward by Irving Kahn (Amazon)

Winter 2015 Issue of Graham & Doddsville

February 02, 2015 By: webmaster Category: Bill Ackman, Columbia Business School, Graham And Doddsville Newsletter, The Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing

The students of Columbia Business School just released the Winter 2015 Issue of Graham & Doddsville.

The new issue features Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, Jay Petschek and Steve Major (’94) of Corsair Capital Management and Andrew Wellington of Lyrical Asset Management. Additionally, you will find pictures from the 2014 Graham & Dodd Breakfast and seven investment ideas from Columbia Business School students.

Thanks to the students at CBS for another insightful issue.

Check out the latest issue of Graham & Doddsville here.

Read past issues of Graham & Doddsville here.

Fall 2014 Issue of Graham & Doddsville

October 27, 2014 By: webmaster Category: Columbia Business School, Graham And Doddsville Newsletter, The Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing

The students of Columbia Business School just released the Fall 2014 Issue of Graham & Doddsville.

The new issue features Wally Weitz of Weitz Investment Management, Guy Gottfried of Rational Investment Group and the team at Development Capital Partners.  Additionally, you will find pictures from the 2014 “From Graham to Buffett and Beyond” Dinner in Omaha, news about the recently launched 5x5x5 Student Value Investing Fund and two investment ideas from CBS students.

Congratulations to the students at CBS on another outstanding issue.

Check out the latest issue of Graham & Doddsville here.

Read past issues of Graham & Doddsville here.

Learn more about the Columbia Student Investment Management Association (CSIMA) or The Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing.

An Honor, A Dilemma, and A Reboot

October 26, 2014 By: webmaster Category: Behavioral Biases, Behavioral Finance, Jason Zweig, Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, I noticed a sudden increase in the number of people who follow me on Twitter.  The reason, I soon discovered, was an article titled “Read ‘Em and Reap” by Jason Zweig that was posted on the Wall Street Journal’s Total Return Blog.  For those of you who have never heard of Jason Zweig (I doubt that includes most readers of this blog), he is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and writes the weekly “Intelligent Investor” column.  In fact, Jason Zweig edited one of the most widely read editions of “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham.   Jason’s post was a follow-up to another article he wrote, “Can Peers Burn Holes In Your Portfolio?”

My “Intelligent Investor” column this weekend discusses new research on what psychologists call “shared attention”—the state of paying heed to an object or event at the same time your peers are also focusing on it. Believing that other people like you are paying attention to the same thing you are can make you more likely to remember it, to take action on it and to experience more intense emotions about it, the research finds.

In my column, I encouraged investors to socialize “only with investors who are calm and methodical.” Here’s a small selection of websites, blogs and Twitter feeds that I think pass that test.  It is far from complete; there are other sites I like for other reasons, but the sources I’ve listed here all encourage investors to ignore the markets’ momentary twitches and spasms and, instead, to focus on the long term.

GrahamAndDoddsville.net was one of the websites on Jason’s list.  To say it is an honor to appear on Jason’s list, alongside some of my favorite websites, would be a major understatement.

When the proverbial apple fell on my head and I discovered value investing (a term I now believe to be a proxy for all intelligent investing), I wanted to read and learn as much as I could.  There were several websites and blogs that helped me navigate the vast number of available resources.  While many of the websites that were helpful to me no longer exist, these resources were invaluable to my own investing journey.  Over time, however, I realized that many aspiring analysts / investors, including myself, fell into the pitfall of spending too much time reading about investors and not enough time investing.  Once you have covered the basics (and it is my opinion that studying The Intelligent Investor, Warren Buffett’s Letters to Berkshire Shareholders, and Joel Greenblatt’s You Can Be a Stock Market Genius will get you 99.9% of the way there), there is no better way to learn how to invest than by taking your hard earned money and investing it.  I have often heard people reply, “I don’t have enough money to invest in stocks on my own.”  Hogwash!  I may have accepted that reply prior to the turn of the century, but in 2014, anyone can open an online brokerage account with almost no minimum account balance.  In most cases, this ease of access proves to be very bad for investors.  But if you are truly learning how to be an intelligent investor, it is wonderful!

This brings me to the dilemma.  At a certain point, my recommendation to aspiring analysts and investors is to spend their non-investing time delving into case studies and hunting for undervalued securities.  Some of my favorite places to do both are on your left – right there in the margin – or on the Valuable Investing Resources page.

I am amazed how many visitors the GrahamAndDoddsville blog receives, especially in light of how infrequently it is updated.  I am humbled by number of analysts and investors who have told me that they used this site as a lunching point for their own journey to become an intelligent investor.  My original motive for starting the site was to have a place where I could store all of the resources I have found.

With all of this in mind, I plan for the site to become a bit more active.  A reboot, if you will.  The number of posts may not dramatically increase, but in the coming days, weeks and months, you will start to see fixed links, updates to the hunting grounds, research essentials and top blogs, and additions to the SuperInvestor Resources.  Hopefully this will serve as a compromise.  By not dramatically increasing the number of posts, my hope is that I will not draw aspiring analysts / intelligent investors away from the sites where they should be spending most of their non-investing time – websites and blogs filled with case studies and discussions of current investment ideas.  At the same time, GrahamAndDoddsville.net will hopefully become an even better tool for those who continue to use the site as either a starting point or as an ongoing resource in the never-ending journey to become a more intelligent investor.

I receive many e-mails want to sincerely apologize to those who have received a reply.  I do enjoy hearing from likeminded investors and can be reached at admin@grahamanddoddsville.net.  I will do my best to respond.

See: “Read ‘Em and Reap: Smart People for Investors to Follow” (WSJ Total Return Blog, 9/6/2014)

Spring 2014 Issue of Graham & Doddsville

May 05, 2014 By: webmaster Category: Arnold Van Den Berg, Columbia Business School, Graham And Doddsville Newsletter, Uncategorized

The students of Columbia Business School just released the Spring 2014 Issue of Graham & Doddsville.

The new issue features Arnold Van Den Berg and Jim Brilliant of Century Management, Philippe Jabre of Jabre Capital, Eric Rosenfeld of Crescendo Partners, and CBS Alum H. Kevin Byun of Denali Investors. This issue also covers the 17th Annual CSIMA Conference and includes ideas from the 2014 Pershing Square Challenge.

Congratulations to the 2013 – 2014 second-year graduating editors Chris Brigham, Jackson Thies and Jason Yang on an outstanding job.

Keep up the great work CBS!

Check out the latest issue of Graham & Doddsville here.

Read past issues of Graham & Doddsville here.

The Heresy That Made Them Rich – Throwback Thursday #TT

April 03, 2014 By: webmaster Category: Bruce Greenwald, CBS Faculty, Columbia Business School, Jason Zweig, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Mario Gabelli, Paul Sonkin, Roger Murray, SuperInvestors, The Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing

On October 29, 2005 Joe Nocera penned an article for The New York Times called The Heresy That Made Them Rich.

A FEW weeks ago, Columbia Business School held its 15th Annual Graham & Dodd Breakfast. The guest speaker was Jean-Marie Eveillard, a successful (and now retired) mutual fund manager, who used to beat the market regularly by adhering to the ”value investing” principles first articulated by the great investor Benjamin Graham and his co-author, the Columbia professor David L. Dodd, in their 1934 classic, ”Security Analysis.”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same way.”

Still, the Columbia program — and value investing in general — feels a little like a cult. Despite the obvious success of people like Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gabelli — and the studies that seem to bear out that success as something more than luck — it is not yet fully accepted by either mainstream Wall Street or mainstream academia. In his remarks at the breakfast, Mr. Eveillard said he thought that maybe 5 percent of professional money managers are true value investors.

See:  “The Heresy That Made Them Rich” (New York Times, 10/29/05)