Mariusz Skonieczny is the founder and president of Classic Value Investors, LLC. Classic Value Investors, LLC, is a private money management firm committed to delivering superior long-term investment performance to its clients.Mr. Skonieczny is responsible for portfolio management for the company’s clients. He is also the author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market. The purpose of this book is to help readers understand the basics of stock market investing. Material covered includes the difference between stocks and businesses, what constitutes a good business, when to buy and sell stocks, and how to value individual stocks. The book also includes a chapter covering four case studies as well as a supplemental chapter on the pros and cons of real estate versus stock market investing.
He has been a guest on numerous radio shows across the country such as The American Entrepreneur, Sound Retirement Radio, and The Commercial Real Estate Hour.
Below is our interview:
It can also be found on Mariusz’s website classicvalueinvestors.com
Interview with Jacob Wolinsky of Value Walk
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: On your website, you say that for years you were a typical clueless investor following advice from so-called stock “experts” and as a result, you were constantly losing money. What was the determining factor that made you make the transition to value investing?
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: I was always interested in investing since I was a child. I made some big money during the tech bubble specifically in AOL stock. Now in hindsight I realize it was entirely due to luck. After that it was all downhill, I lost money in the tech bubble crash and even in the bull market that started in 2003.
One day I was browsing a website, as far as I recall it was not even a financial website. I found an ad advertising a free copy of a book that Warren Buffett described as the “best book ever written on investing” if you sign up for a for a free trial for some product. I did not sign up for the free trial but I found out the book was called The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. I took out a copy from the library and realized right away that the mistakes Graham described were the exact mistakes I made. I went on to re-read the book several times and knew right away that value investing was the way to go. I went on to re-read from the other greats Buffett, Dreman, Lynch, Neff, Greenblatt, Klarman etc. and since then I have been hooked.
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: What types of investors are likely to benefit from your blog, Value Walk, the most?
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: I thought my site would attract mostly new to intermediate investors. However, I am pleasantly surprised that my site is also attracting some really experienced value investors. After posting one of my few first articles on Guru Focus I got an email from Alice Schroeder (author of bestselling The Snowball) telling me much she loved my article about Buffett. I use statcounter and see that I get daily hits from the big Wall Street firms, and occasionally get hits from top value firms like Baupost Group, Pershing Capital, Royce Funds and more.
In fact one of my early emails was from a hedge fund manager in Europe. He manages several billion in his value hedge fund and has crushed the European index for about ten years. He loved one of my articles so much that he asked it to reprint it on his site.
So to answer your question in a roundabout way I would think my site is more geared towards beginning and intermediate investor. However, it seems I attract investors who are probably a lot smarter than me!
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: Recently, you started another website, Value Investing Forum, in order to exchange investing ideas. Tell us more about it
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: I realized that there is no real value investing website page like a SeekingAlpha type of website but value oriented. I would have ideally liked to start a website like SeekingAlpha that was devoted to value investing with a forum as part of the website. The only problem is that it would require lots of time and I simply do not have the time for it.
Therefore I opted to just focus on the forum for now.
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: Why did you start it? There are other websites such as Value Investing Club or SumZero that exchange investment ideas. How is your website different from what is already available to investors?
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: Value Investing Club is very elite and only accepts 250 members. Sum Zero is exclusive but less so than Value Investing Club. In addition both sites require members to post articles several times a year which I know many members find inconvenient.
On the other hand you have message boards like Yahoo where anyone could post. People post about tech analysis, their “brilliant” market forecasts, pump and dump schemes etc.
My goal with Value Investing Forum is to create a forum where there is a level of competency and where there are no posting requirements. I also like the forum because I knew everyone who I invited to the forum, and I know these are people I could trust. Of course I hope the forum gets big enough that I won’t know many of the members.
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: Is Value Investing Forum open to everyone or do members have to be approved? What kind of qualifications does one have to have in order to be part of the forum?
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: The forum is not open to everyone. Initially I invited people that I knew personally, who were competent value investors. In fact, probably almost every single person I invited knows more than me! I just figured someone had to start the forum even if they were not the best in the forum. We have a nice crowd; some hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, analysts, bloggers, and some non finance people who have been value investing for several years.
The forum is very new so in the future we will have to determine eligibility. I co-manage the forum with a colleague Alex Garcia so it will be a joint decision. The criteria will likely be someone who runs a value site with rich content, works for a value firm, or can send a write up they did on a stock. Not requirements that are too high, but preventing people who know little about value investing from being accepted.
Mariusz Skonieczny, Classic Value Investors: Can nonmembers view investing ideas?
Jacob Wolinksy, Value Walk: Right now non-members can view. However, this policy might change in the future. Right now we are trying to attract people to the forum and we are very new. However, in