Benjamin Graham, the father of “value investing” and a mentor to Warren Buffett, once posed the following question: “Ask yourself: If there was no market for these shares, would I be willing to have an investment in this company on these terms?”
If we genuinely believe in the long-term business prospects of a company that we own at a fair price, the day-to-day fluctuations of the company’s stock price should factor little in our investment decisions. The essence of investing is to know what you own and why you own it.
We consider the contrarian point of view in each investment decision that we make. When the stock market is gripped by fear and pessimism, we remain confident that stock prices will eventually reflect the long-term viability of the underlying companies. When the stock market experiences unjustified and excessive enthusiasm, we become cautious of overvalued stock prices.
We believe the most significant risk-reward decision in investing is the allocation to stocks versus bonds and that this simple determination overwhelmingly dictates portfolio volatility. We do not invest our clients in stocks unless we conclude that an allocation to stocks is appropriate, given each client’s risk tolerance and time horizon. Our discussions of risk tolerance include both (1) financial ability to absorb short-term investment losses and (2) psychological ability to handle market fluctuations. For client assets that are not suitable for the stock market, we invest in individual fixed income securities for safety of principal and a steady source of income.
Finally, we pride ourselves on our commitment to active and substantive communication during both bull and bear markets. As an independent firm, client satisfaction is the cornerstone of our business. We respond promptly to all client inquiries and proactively schedule meetings to help clients stay on track with their financial goals. Additionally, we provide regular commentary on the latest thinking in our profession.
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