The Harvest Interview Series provides exclusive access to financial business leaders including money managers, institutional allocators, research firm founders and other top investment professionals. Interview questions are crowd-sourced from thousands of professional managers, allocators, and investors. The most relevant and interesting questions are selected and then posed anonymously to the Interview Series subject.
Tobias Carlisle, Managing Director
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Eyquem Investment Management LLC
Harvest Interview Series: Deep Value Investor – Tobias Carlisle
Tobias Carlisle is the founder and managing director of Eyquem Investment Management LLC, and serves as portfolio manager of the Eyquem Fund LP and the separately managed accounts.
He is best known as the author of the well regarded website Greenbackd, the book Deep Value: Why Activists Investors and Other Contrarians Battle for Control of Losing Corporations (2014, Wiley Finance), and Quantitative Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Automating Intelligent Investment and Eliminating Behavioral Errors (2012, Wiley Finance).
He has extensive experience in investment management, business valuation, public company corporate governance, and corporate law.
Prior to founding Eyquem in 2010, Tobias was an analyst at an activist hedge fund, general counsel of a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, and a corporate advisory lawyer. As a lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions he has advised on transactions across a variety of industries in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Singapore, Bermuda, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Guam. He is a graduate of the University of Queensland in Australia with degrees in Law (2001) and Business (Management) (1999).
Khai Nguyen: Tobias, welcome and thank you for joining us.
Tobias Carlisle: Khai, thank you very much.
Khai Nguyen: You started Eyquem Investment Management in 2011, a fund rooted in deep value investing. Why did you decide to launch your own fund and why deep value?
Tobias Carlisle: I started Eyquem in Australia basically sitting at the desk that I had sat at previously at an activist hedge fund. The initial version of it was an Australian legal structure and it operated for 20 months until the end of 2011. I then moved to the U.S. because I had met my wife in San Francisco while working as an attorney. I decided to set up in California and the reason for setting up was to work for myself and establish my own track record so it’s been operating continuously since then.
My background was in corporate advisory law and in mergers and acquisitions. This was at a time when the market was right for that sort of transaction work and capital raising was also kind of bread and butter stuff. There were some more unusual things that occurred like activists harassing companies and I’d never encountered that before. I didn’t really know what it was before I started working as a lawyer but I had read Security Analysis and The Intelligent Investor when I was in college and law school. I would see these guys approaching these companies trying to extract some value and it was difficult to understand what value proposition they could see in the companies because they were all struggling and not particularly attractive looking businesses. I went back to Security Analysis and reread the chapters on liquidation value investing and net-nets. I then realized that what they were trying to do was more of a balance sheet approach and I just found it fascinating. The research that I did showed that the returns to it were very good possibly because it’s such an unusual style of investment. Through a lot of work and given the opportunity to employ legal skills and the transaction work that I had done, it just seemed like a better fit for me than the franchise style investing that a lot of other value investors try to employ.
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