Some Highlights From The First Day of The Value Investing Congress

    bill ackmanThe Value Investing Congress was held May 4 and 5 before Charlie Munger’s Wesco shareholder meeting. The conference lasts for three days, and many of the speakers are some of the best value investors alive. The conference is run by Whitney Tilson who I recently conducted a lengthy interview with(click on the following link to see the the interview Whitney Tilson interview.

    Below is the full line up:

    he complete speaker lineup at the 5th Annual Value Investing Congress West includes:
    Bruce Berkowitz, Fairholme Fund
    J. Carlo Cannell, Cannell Capital LLC
    Patrick Degorce, Thélème Partners
    Lloyd Khaner, Khaner Capital
    David Nierenberg, D3 Family of Funds
    Mohnish Pabrai, Pabrai Investment Funds
    Thomas A. Russo, Gardner, Russo & Gardner
    Amitabh Singhi, Surefin Investments
    Paul Sonkin, Hummingbird Value Fund
    Guy Spier, Aquamarine Fund
    Eric Sprott, Sprott Asset Management
    Whitney Tilson, T2 Partners
    Glenn Tongue, T2 Partners
    Richard Vogel, Alatus SA
    Lei Zhang, Hillhouse Capital Management

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    Today is day two of the conference so I hope to do some more reporting on the conference tomorrow. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the conference but thanks to Market Folly I was able to get some information. MarketFolly provided a more in depth coverage of the conference, I recommend the readers to check it out.

    Here are some of the highlights from the first day:

    Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Fund spoke at length about his new position in Goldman Sachs. He also discussed his stake in General Growth Properties and AIG. It seems that Bruce Berkowitz is making changes in his strategy lately. Bruce Berkowitz likes companies that generate large amounts of free cash flow and lately many of his investments lack this criteria. I hope to discuss this more in another article.

    Mohnish Pabrai of Pabrai Investment Funds gave a presentation titled “Leveraging Checklists to Dramatically Improve Investing Results.” He has compiled a list of mistakes value investors make and so far he has made 80 mistakes. He does not expect every company to pass this checklist of 80, but he uses it to determine portfolio size. ( I will be interviewing Mohnish next week).

    Guy Spier of Aquamarine Capital is the man who recently had lunch with Warren Buffett. He talked about Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and notes it could be trading at 1x EBITDA “if the market starts to take a hit.” He also joked about China stating ‘go long what China is short.”

    Paul Sonkin of Hummingbird Value spoke about his favorite stock Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB). In my recent interview with Sonkin he also mentioned Steinway as his top pick. Sonkin likes the stock for it’s three assets: real estate, piano business, and band business. He also thinks the company has pricing power as the company has been raising prices 4% annually for many years.

    Videos from the previous value investing congress can be found on my website at the following link Value Investing Congress Videos