Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mark Sellers, Intelligent Investor

I recently chatted with Mark Sellers, founder of Sellers Capital. The hedge fund boasts roughly $115 million in assets and annualized returns of 35% (before fees) since inception, including a 45% year-to-date return.

In the hour or so I spent on the phone, I learned a great deal about topics like measuring downside risk, evaluating management, and dealing with volatility:

Emil Lee: How does your firm go about researching an investment idea?

Mark Sellers: The first thing we do is figure out what the problem is. Ninety percent of making money in stocks is not losing money, which has to do with knowing what the problem is and how it can be solved. Every company we buy has a problem with it, otherwise it wouldn't be cheap.

We read sell-side reports, SEC filings, and talk to management. Within one or two days, we decide if we're comfortable that the company can solve the problem. Then we do another week or so of further research.

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