Remembering Legendary Investor Sir John Templeton

The brief video below is in appreciation of Sir John’s life and the influence he still has on Franklin Templeton Investments’ perspective and our employees.  Enjoy!

 The 29th of November marks the anniversary of what would have been Sir John Templeton’s 100th birthday, someone who helped shape my career as a portfolio manager, and who I admire greatly as a human being.  I first met the late Sir John more than three decades ago when I was working as an analyst for a broker based in Hong Kong. I traveled a few times to Nassau to make presentations to the Templeton portfolio teams, which is how he and I first became acquainted.

One day Sir John approached me to manage a new emerging markets group that he was starting and was very excited about. I jumped at the opportunity. This was a great chance to do things globally rather than just focus on Taiwan (where I was head of the country’s first investment management company at the time), and there weren’t many—if any—other portfolio managers focusing on global emerging markets. So, it was quite an opportunity!  This year is the 25th anniversary of what’s now the Templeton Emerging Markets Group. The markets certainly have changed a lot since then, but our core investment philosophy remains true to Sir John’s timeless approach. (more…)

Hedge Fund Job Titles Defined

Hedge Fund AnalystA person who spends their day tracking the activities of people whose job they would have liked.
Quantitative ResearcherA person who can attach probabilities to future events by looking backwards.
Portfolio ManagerA person who has an enormous breadth of knowledge across a range of industries and is an expert in none of them.
StrategistA person who spends their day looking down at global events from 25,000ft but never has to land to take an active decision themselves (see “ Journalist” and “Consultant”).
Head of Quantitative SolutionsA person qualified to Ph.D level who used to earn an annual bonus at a CTA.
Head of RiskThe person who stops portfolio managers earning a bonus.
In-House MarketerA person who can ascribe someone else’s success in the firm to their own activities.
Chief Operating OfficerThe person who is thought to keep hedge funds running as businesses.
Deputy Chief Operating OfficerThe person who actually keeps hedge funds running as businesses.
Chief Investment OfficerThe guy whose name is on everyone’s business card.
Head TraderChief Algo Selector
Compliance OfficerFulfills the statutory requirement to have a fifth column in every firm in the financial sector.
Head of ComplianceChief Snitch
Head of TechnologyThe only person in the firm authorised to have self-defined mission-critical costs no-one else understands.
Head of Investor RelationsThe person that works with the most important existing clients to tidy up the s*** created by the CIO.
Chief Executive OfficerThe person individually chosen by the founder and Chief Investment Officer to buy the paperclips and liaise with the auditors.


Here’s the link to this year’s letter.  Feel free to point out anything you might like to discuss or anything you think might be worthy of a post.

Here are the key points:

  • For just the 9th time, Berkshire’s book value rose less than the S&P 500. Buffett calls the year subpar.
  • Berkshire pursued a couple of “elephants” but mostly came up empty, until the recent big Heinz deal.
  • Buffett explains his five guidelines for increasing shareholder value: “In summary, Charlie and I hope to build per-share intrinsic value by (1) improving the earning power of our many subsidiaries; (2) further increasing their earnings through bolt-on acquisitions; (3) participating in the growth of our investees; (4) repurchasing Berkshire shares when they are available at a meaningful discount from intrinsic value; and (5) making an occasional large acquisition. We will also try to maximize results for you by rarely, if ever, issuing Berkshire shares.”
  • Berkshire’s five biggest non-insurance companies (BNSF, Iscar, Lubrizol, Marmon Group and MidAmerican Energy) broke the goal of having over $10 billion in income this year.
  • Berkshire’s new portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler both had portfolios that beat the S&P 500 in 2012.
  • Both Combs and Weschler now have portfolios of $5 billion to invest.
  • Buffett expects Berkshire to buy more Coca-Cola, American Express, Wells Fargo and IBM in the future.
  • CEOs who whine about “uncertainty” are silly (see more here)
  • Contrary to Buffett’s expectations, the “float” from Berkshire’s insurance businesses continues to grow. He doesn’t expect it to continue, but it grew another $2.5 billion last year. (more…)

The Stock Market is like a Beautiful Woman

The stock market is like a beautiful woman, always 

Appealing     The stock market appeals to everyone – the ignorant and illiterate, barbers and bartenders, brokers and bankers, best and brightest, professionals and people from all walks of life.

Generally, the stock market is perceived as a marketplace to get-rich-quick, make a fast buck, make a killing and turn rags to riches.

Challenging     The stock market challenges all kinds of players – gamblers, speculators and investors. In the game of sports, amateurs play against amateurs, professionals challenge professionals, and olympians compete with olympians on different level playing fields; whereas in the stock market, novices, amateurs and professionals challenge each other on the same level field. (more…)

Go to top