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The Meb Faber Show

Ready to grow your wealth through smarter investing decisions? With The Meb Faber Show, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and investment fund manager, Meb Faber, brings you insights on today’s markets and the art of investing.Featuring some of the top investment professionals in the world as his guests, Meb will help you interpret global equity, bond, and commodity markets just like the pros. Whether it’s smart beta, trend following, value investing, or any other timely market topic, each week you’ll hear real market wisdom from the smartest minds in investing today. Better investing starts here.For more information on Meb, please visit MebFaber.com. For more on Cambria Investment Management, visit CambriaInvestments.com.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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#104 - Ken Fisher - “If You’re Worried About What Things Are Going to Be Worth Next Week…You’re Going to Make Yourself Way Poorer 20 Years from Now"

In Episode 104, we welcome the legendary, Ken Fisher. Meb starts with a quick word of congratulations to Ken, as his firm just passed $100B in assets under management. The guys then discuss Ken’s interest in fishing with a bow and arrow, which eventually morphs into a conversation about a millionaire who allegedly hid a million dollars somewhere in the Rockies, leaving clues to treasure-hunters searching for it. The guys then jump into investing, discussing Ken’s early days in launching Fisher Investments. They touch upon one of Ken’s early claims to fame, championing the price-to-sales ratio. This leads to a conversation about being factor agnostic, which includes some interesting takeaways from Ken on capital pricing. Soon, Meb brings up Ken’s book, Debunkery, and asks about one of its points: namely, the misbelief by so many investors that bonds are safer than stocks. What follows is a great commentary by Ken about short-term volatility risk versus opportunity cost risk. When you look at longer, rolling time periods, it becomes clear that stocks are far less risky than bonds. And in the long term, stocks are less risky than cash. Ken tells us that in his business, it’s his job to focus his clients on the longer-term. Next, the conversation takes an interesting turn, touching upon the explosion of tech science, and how it’s affecting our lives, as well as the capital markets. It bleeds into Meb suggesting that older investors tend to become more conservative or pessimistic, and so they tilt away from equities, and whether that’s a behavioral challenge Ken has to address with his clients. Ken gives us his thoughts, concluding with that idea that people need to be relatively comfortable in capital markets with things that are generally uncomfortable. The conversation then veers into politics and the effects on the market. Ken tell us that when you look at presidents and market history, our system gives presidents much less power to affect markets than most people believe. Meb jumps to Twitter questions, bringing up one that wonders how to position yourself in the end of a bull market. Ken gives us a fascinating answer which I’m going to make you listen to in order to hear, but it tends to focus on large cap and quality. There’s way more in this great episode: capital preservation and growth… volatility (a great quote from Ken “volatility is your friend, it’s not your enemy, if you use it correctly”)… the media’s impact on investor perception… the Fed and sovereign balance sheets… the senate bill trying to eliminate the ability of public companies buying back their own stock in the marketplace… housing (and the need to account for the full housing costs when calculating returns)… and of course, Ken’s most memorable trade. What are the details? Find out in Episode 104.

1hr 6mins

2 May 2018

Rank #1

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#206 - Meb’s take on Investment Plans, Building and Maintaining Wealth, How Meb Invests, and Investing in the time of Corona

Episode 206 is a Mebisode. Meb reads a few of his recently penned pieces. He covers the importance of being prepared for market turbulence with an investment plan. He then walks through some core ideas for building and maintaining wealth. He ties these ideas together with a chat on how he invests his own money. He concludes with some thoughts on investing in the time of the Coronavirus. If the markets have you concerned, make sure you don’t miss what Meb has to share to help you stay on track in episode 206.

1hr 27mins

18 Mar 2020

Rank #2

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#190 - Radio Show: Buying Stocks At All Time Highs…Fund Manager Sentiment…Year End Questions for Advisors and Brokers

Episode 190 has a radio show format. We cover a variety of topics, including: Buying stocks at all-time highs 2010 Fund Manager of the Decade Jim Simons Year-end questions for advisors and brokers There’s this and plenty more in episode 190.

42mins

2 Dec 2019

Rank #3

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#196 - Minnie Ingersoll, TenOneTen - I Do Believe That Innovation In Our Country Is The Huge Bright Spot

In episode 196 we welcome our guest, Minnie Ingersoll. Minnie and Meb start the conversation by getting into venture capital investing and the nature of investing in early startup companies focused on software and data. They get into Minnie’s firm, TenOneTen Ventures and some of what goes into the process of evaluating potential investments. Minnie covers some companies she and her team are particularly excited about. The conversation then shifts to discussing the VC presence and growth in LA. Minnie then moves on to discussing more about the investing process, covering some of the criteria the TenOneTen team think is important to see in founders they are working with, including, the entrepreneur being aligned with the belief that there’s a billion-dollar outcome. All this and more in episode 196, including Minnie’s experience as a co-founder and her most memorable investment.

1hr 18mins

8 Jan 2020

Rank #4

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#189 - John Parise - 70% Of Wealth Is Lost In The 3rd Generation

In Episode 189 we welcome our guest, John Parise. John and Meb kick off the conversation with the idea of the family CFO and wealth planning. As John gained experience in financial planning, he investigated the family office model, and he consistently saw a lack of planning. That eventually led him to the foundations that helped him eventually form his firm, Copper Beech. Meb and John then cover to the process of what planning looks like at Copper Beech. John describes the interview, discovery process, and the types of conversations the firm has with families. They then get into some examples of the mechanics of what the planning process really looks like, and some methods to pay zero estate tax. The pair then shift to talking about teaching young generations to handle wealth. As the conversation winds down, John covers some of the major items people can consider to improve their planning outcomes. All this and more, in episode 189 including John’s most memorable investment.

1hr 7mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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#115 - Steve Glickman - Opportunity Zones: Ultimately, If You Hold for…10 Years or More…You Don’t Pay Any New Capital Gains – Ever

In Episode 115, we welcome entrepreneur and opportunity zone expert, Steve Glickman. Meb jumps right in, asking “what is an opportunity zone?” Steve tells us about this brand-new program that was created this past December. Most people don’t know about it yet. It was the only bipartisan piece of the Investing in Opportunity Act, which was legislation packed into the tax reform bill. Opportunity zones were designed to combine scaled investment capital with lower-income communities that haven’t seen investment in decades. You can essentially roll-over capital gains into opportunity funds – special investment vehicles that have to deploy their capital in these pre-determined opportunity zones. It could be a real estate play, a business venture play, virtually anything as long as the investment is in the opportunity zone and meets the appointed criteria. And the benefit of doing this? Steve tells us “ultimately, if you hold for…10 years or more in these opportunity zones…you don’t pay any new capital gains – ever.” Meb hones in on the benefits, clarifying they are: a tax deferral, a step-up in basis, and any gains on the investment are free of capital gains taxes. He then asks where these zones exist now, how one finds them, and how they were created. Steve tell us the zones exist in every US state and territory, including Puerto Rico – in fact, the entire island of Puerto Rico is now an opportunity zone. Steve goes on to give us more details. Soon, the conversation turns toward the problem these opportunity zones are trying to solve – the growing inequality in America. As part of this discussion, Steve tells us about his group, EIG. He created it to work on bipartisan problems that had private sector-oriented solutions. He wanted to address the unevenness of economic growth in the US – why are some areas getting all the capital, while others are getting left behind? Meb points the guys back to opportunity zones and how an investor can take part. He asks what’s the next step after selling all my investments for capital gains. What then? Steve tells us all the capital has to flow through an opportunity fund. It can be a corporation or partnership, include just one investor or many, can be focused on multiple investments or just one…. Most people have identified a project in which they want to invest, but some groups are now creating funds to raise capital, then will find a deal. Steve provides more details on all this.  There’s way more in this special episode: the two industries that the government won’t allow to be included in opportunity zone investments… The three different tests for how a business qualifies as an opportunity zone investment… What regulatory clarity is currently missing from the IRS… The most common naysayer pushback they’re hearing… The slippery issue of gentrification… And far more. Opportunity zones have the potential to be a game-changer for many investors. Get all the details in Episode 115.

51mins

1 Aug 2018

Rank #6

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#187 - Kevin Carter - The Thing That’s Emerging Are The People, It’s All About The Consumer

In episode 187 we welcome our guest, Kevin Carter. Meb and Kevin start the conversation with some background on Kevin’s career, getting to know Burton Malkiel, and launching EMQQ.  Kevin offers some of his thoughts on investing in China, including his initial thoughts about the prominence of state owned enterprises. Kevin mentions that a key component to investing in emerging markets is that it’s about the consumer. He notes that emerging and frontier markets are 85% of the world’s people and almost 90% of the people under the age of 30, the GDP of those people are still growing twice as fast as the rest of the world, and their incomes are growing.  Kevin discusses that once he figured out that the indexes that were available to invest in these markets were allocated relatively heavily to the legacy, inefficient, state owned enterprise portion of economies, he got to work on building indexes that were more targeted to capture emerging market growth.  Meb and Kevin then discuss the reality of emerging market allocations for most investors today, and talk about the current weights of emerging market indexes and the implications for investors.  Kevin gets into launching and running EMQQ, and how the index is constructed. He follows with a discussion on emerging market internet company valuations and the current pace of revenue growth.  Meb then poses what he thinks is some of the most common “pushback” he hears about why people can’t invest in China. Kevin addresses some of the arguments he hears for not investing in China, including made up numbers and communism and explains why he doesn’t think there is a lot of merit to those arguments.  As the conversation winds down, Kevin covers his thoughts on India, which he thinks is a particularly interesting opportunity from the standpoint of population size and growth.  All this and more in episode 187, including Kevin’s most memorable investment.

1hr 12mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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#150 - Bill Smead - The United States Economy is Highly Likely To Be The Strongest The Next 10 Years It's Been Since The Baby Boomers Went Through The 30-45 Year-Old Age Range

In episode 150 we welcome Bill Smead. Bill begins with how he came to be a value investor, describing himself as someone who came from a family of educated gamblers, and as a boy, going to greyhound races, learning to put probabilities in his favor, and even developing a criteria system for selecting greyhounds. Next, Bill talks about his beginnings in the investment business, starting out in an era of high interest rates, and reading about Buffett, Lynch, and some of investing’s great minds. He describes his 8 criteria for selecting investments: 1) Does it meet an economic need 2) Does it have a long history of profitability 3) Does it have a wide moat 4) Does it generate high and consistent cash flow 5) Can the company be purchased at a discount 6) Business must be shareholder friendly 7) The company must have a strong balance sheet 8) The company must have strong insider ownership. Meb then asks Bill to elaborate on the investment landscape, and what he’s seeing in a specific pocket of the market. Bill discusses the parabolic move in e-commerce companies, and issues he sees in the strategies and valuations of companies like Amazon. As the conversation winds down, Bill lays out the thesis that the Millennials are in position to drive the economy in the future. All this and more in episode 150, including Bill’s most memorable investment.

1hr 2mins

10 Apr 2019

Rank #8

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#197 - Rick Rule, Global Resource Investments - In Resources You Are Either A Contrarian Or You Are Going To Be A Victim

In episode 197 we welcome our guest, Rick Rule. Rick and Meb start with Rick’s background in natural resource investing and Rick getting into his outlook for resources and precious metals. Meb and Rick dive into some of the forces that he sees influencing gold and precious metals prices including negative yielding sovereign bonds, US budget deficits, and potential reversion to the mean for precious metals investing market share. Rick then covers some interesting statistics Sprott has observed in investor interest in natural resource investing. The conversation then shifts to commodities and natural resources more broadly. Rick talks oil and uranium followed by some practical thoughts on portfolio implementation. All this and more in episode 197, including Rick’s most memorable investment.

57mins

15 Jan 2020

Rank #9

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#49 - Steve Sjuggerud - “This is Not What the Peak of a Bull Market Looks Like"

In Episode 49, we welcome Dr. Steve Sjuggerud. The conversation begins with Meb and Steve reminiscing about the origin of their friendship, which dates back some 10 years. This leads the guys into Steve’s background, and how he transitioned from being a broker into being the highly-popular investment newsletter writer he is today. Meb asks Steve to describe his investing framework. Similar to Meb, Steve likes both value and trend. Specifically, he looks for 3 things: assets that are “cheap,” “hated,” and “in an uptrend.” This methodology applies to all sorts of asset classes. The guys dig deeper into value and trend, leading to Steve ultimately to say, “If I had to choose between one or the other, I would actually choose momentum over value.” Meb agrees. Next, Meb asks how the world looks to Steve today. Is he buying? Defensive? Where’s he looking? And so on… Steve tells there are always reasons to sell or stay out of the market. Despite this, Steve’s thesis is that interest rates will stay lower than you can imagine, longer than you can imagine. And this will drive asset classes higher than we can imagine. We’re still not at absurd equity levels yet here in the U.S. – Steve says we’re maybe around the 7th or 8th inning of this bull market. But the biggest gains can often come at the end of a bull market, so there’s potentially more significant room to run. As the guys discuss this, the conversation tilts toward investor sentiment. They agree that irrational exuberance for this bull market simply doesn’t exist right now. There’s no euphoria. Steve sums it up simply: “This is not what the peak of a bull market looks like.” Yeah, valuations are high, but interest rates are near historic lows. Relative to bond yields, the equity values are far more reasonable. Investors need to compare returns to what you can get through other asset classes. The guys jump around a bit, touching upon the warning signs Steve will look for to tip him off as to when to bail on U.S. stocks, a discussion of the Commitment of Traders report and how to use it, and then a discussion of U.S. housing and how it’s a solid investment right now because housing starts are nowhere near what they need to be to equalize supply and demand.   The guys then turn toward foreign equities, where it appears that value and trend are lining up. Foreign has been cheap for a while, but it’s been underperforming. And now that appears to be changing. Meb asks Steve to tell us what he’s seeing – it generally boils down to one big thing: China. You’ll definitely want to listen to this part of the discussion, as Steve tells us about a revolution in mobile payments that’s already happened in China (and will likely happen here in the U.S.). But beyond that, Chinese stocks as a whole are now incredibly cheap. Even better, there are going to be tailwinds of adding Chinese stocks to a major index. I won’t get into the details here, but the analogy the guys use is having the teacher’s manual of a high school textbook with all the answers ahead of time. Best of all, Steve gives us the names of some actual ETFs that may benefit from this trend. There’s much more in this value-packed episode: gold and gold mining stocks… Steve’s investment in St. Gaudens coins… Steve’s surfboard and vintage guitar collections (including the story of a $30K guitar he bought and later sold for $72K)… And of course, Steve’s most memorable trade – which involved a painful 50% loss for Steve and his subscribers, all stemming from the lie of a certain global politician. Which politician and which lie? Find out in Episode 49.

1hr 17mins

26 Apr 2017

Rank #10

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#124 - Howard Marks - It's Not What You Buy, It's What You Pay for It That Determines Whether Something is a Good Investment

In Episode 124, we welcome legendary investor, Howard Marks. Meb begins with a quote from Howard’s new book, Mastering the Market Cycle, and asks him to expound. Howard gives us his top-line take on market cycles, ending with the idea that if you understand them, you can profit from them. Meb follows up by asking about Howard’s framework for evaluating where we are in the cycle. Rather than look at every input as individual, Howard looks at overall patterns. What is the collective mood? Or is it depressed, sad, and people don’t want to buy? Or is it buoyant? Second, are investors optimistic and thrilled with their portfolios and eager to add more, therein increasing risk? Or are investors regretful and hesitant, burned by recent experience? Then there are quantitative aspects – valuations, yield spreads, cap rates, multiples, and so on. All of these variables help give Howard a feel for whether assets are high- or low-priced. Next, Meb asks Howard to use Oaktree’s actions during the Financial Crisis as a real-world example of how an investor could act upon cycles. Howard tells us there are two parts to what happened during the Crisis – what Oaktree did during the run-up to the meltdown, and then what it did during the event itself. In short, Oaktree was cautious during the lead-up. They raised their standards for investments. Why? Howard notes that they didn’t know ahead of time how bad things would be. Rather, they were hesitant because they looked at the securities being issued, and it seemed that every day, something was coming out that didn’t deserve to be issued. This was a tip-off. Then the event happened, culminating in Lehman bankruptcy, and that’s when Oaktree became very aggressive, buying half a billion dollars each week for 15 weeks. Howard tells us that, yes, our job as investors is to be skeptical, but sometimes that skepticism needs to be applied to our own fears. In other words, skepticism also might appear like “no, that scenario is too bad to actually be true.” Meb notes that the challenge is investors want precision, picking the exact top and bottom. But this isn’t really how it works. Meb asks if there a time when Howard felt he misinterpreted a point in the market cycle. Before answering Meb’s questions, Howard agrees that trying to find the bottom or top is a huge mistake. He notes that trying to find the perfect day upon which to buy or sell is impossible. In terms of potentially misreading the cycle, Howard tells us that Oaktree has been perhaps too conservative over the last few years, so they haven’t realized all the gains of the market. That said, he stands by his decision telling us, “anybody who buys or holds because of the belief that something that’s fully valued will become overvalued…is embarking on a dangerous course.” Meb asks how Howard sees the world today. Howard tells us we’re in the 8th inning of this bull market. Assets are highly priced relative to history. People are bullish. Risk aversion is low. He notes it’s a time for caution – but – we have no idea how many innings there will be in this game. What follows is a great conversation about bull markets, what ends bull markets, and how to implement market cycles into an investment approach. The guys touch on investor exuberance… whether markets need to be exuberant for a bull market to end… bullish action despite bullish temperament… the need to “calibrate” your portfolio… and the average investor’s ability to live with pain. There’s so much more in this episode: How Howard’s market approach has evolved over the years… how “it’s not what you buy, it’s what you pay for it that determines whether something is a good investment or bad investment”… Howard’s thoughts on contrarian investing… and, of course, his most memorable trade. This one yielded him 23x. What are the details? Find out in Episode 124.

42mins

3 Oct 2018

Rank #11

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#186 - Carter Malloy - I Looked At Farmland And Realized…It’s Wildly Inefficient

In episode 186 we welcome our guest, Carter Malloy. Meb kicks off the conversation with Carter’s background in finance and growing up in a farming family. When conducting research on the asset class. He saw attractive returns historically, but there wasn’t a great way for most people to invest in it. That insight spurred the idea for AcreTrader. As Meb and Carter dig a little deeper into farmland, they discuss the return drivers, yield and asset appreciation, and the imbalance of demand vs. supply as a driver of returns. Meb then asks Carter to get into the cycles of farmland investing. Carter covers leverage and cycles. The pair explore the Macro themes that have been in play over the last few years. Carter comments that it has been tough for farmers, and commodity prices have been low. He clarifies that if you separate the farmer from the land owner, the land owner has continued to do great. The pair then get into the ideas behind Carter’s firm, AcreTrader. Carter walks through the inefficient nature of farmland investing, the platform, and the process AcreTrader goes through to bring investment opportunities to market as well as the ultimate vision for the platform. Next, Meb and Carter also get into some examples of additional opportunities for farmland property including potential income opportunities like wind farms, solar farms, and mining that may be available to some properties. As the conversation winds down, Carter lays out his thoughts on how farmland fits with investment portfolios and highlights the role it can play from a wealth preservation standpoint as a noncorrelated asset class in addition to providing protection from inflation. All this and more in episode 186.

1hr 2mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #12

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#143 - David Eifrig - Most People Run Losses Into The Ground

In episode 143 we welcome Dr. David Eifrig. David begins by going through his background and pathway to finance. He first discovered his interest in investing through the occasional Barron’s issue, and understood he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps in medicine, moving on to Kellogg for business school before moving on to Wall Street. He describes that while working in finance, he decided to pursue science and medical school and ultimately helped build a business that was sold to Roche. While in residency, he began writing and that launched him into newsletter writing. Meb then asks David to describe his publications, Retirement Millionaire, Retirement Trader, Income Intelligence, and the newly launched Advanced Options. Meb asks David about how he thinks about value and price declines. David responds with some background on how he prefers to teach investing, and provides a simple framework for thinking about price and value. After a quick discussion of the closed-end fund space, the conversation shifts to what looks interesting right now. David discusses Altria, and their exposure to the vaping market and the marijuana industry as well as preferred shares. The pair then expands with a discussion about the current interest rate and inflationary environment after an interesting example from David. David also gets into the use of stop losses, having a plan, and the mindset of having an idea of when to sell. He mentions that he thinks about structuring portfolio positions such that losses on one single position won’t significantly impact the overall portfolio. The conversation then shifts gears into some lifestyle suggestions, David’s experience as a winemaker, and David’s best and worst trades. All this and more in episode 143.

1hr 8mins

20 Feb 2019

Rank #13

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#171 - Raoul Pal - Buy Bonds. Buy Dollars. Wear Diamonds.

In episode 171, we welcome back our guest from episode 46, Raoul Pal. Raoul and Meb start with a chat about one of Raoul’s tweets, “Buy Bonds. Buy Dollars. Wear Diamonds.” Raoul explains that he sees global growth slowing after the longest recovery in history, as well as a number of countries in or nearing recession. That presents an opportunity in US Treasuries and Eurodollars. The pair continue the conversation and get into how Raoul looks at the world. Raoul walks through his current view including his take on business cycle and yield curve indicators. Meb then asks Raoul to explain “The Doom Loop.” Raoul lays out the idea that corporate debt has increased at an alarming rate since 2009 relative to household and government debt. He discusses what he’s seeing now, and the risk this poses to the global economy and asset prices. As the conversation winds down, Raoul gets into some thoughts on gold and crypto. All this and more in episode 171, including the greatest macro trade Raoul has ever seen.

1hr 8mins

21 Aug 2019

Rank #14

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#90 - Dan Rasmussen - “The Crown Jewel of the Alternative Universe is Private Equity"

In Episode 90, we welcome Founder and Portfolio Manager of Verdad, Dan Rasmussen. We start with a brief walk-through of Dan’s background. It involves a Harvard education, a New York Times best-selling book, a stint at Bridgewater, consulting work with Bain, then his own foray into private equity. Turning to investments, Meb lays the groundwork by saying how many people misunderstand the private equity market in general (often confusing it for venture capital). He asks Dan for an overview, then some specifics on the state of the industry today. Dan clarifies that when he references “private equity” (PE), he’s talking about the leveraged buyout industry – think “Barbarians at the Gate.” He tells us that PE has been considered the crown jewel of the alternative world, then provides a wonderful recap of its evolution – how this market outperformed for many years (think Mitt Romney in the 80s, when he was buying businesses for 4-6 times EBIT), yet its outsized returns led to endowments flooding the market with capital ($200 - $300 billion per year, which was close to triple the pre-Global Financial Crisis average), driving up valuations. Today, deals are getting done at valuations that are nowhere near as low as in the early days. And so, the outsized returns simply haven’t existed. Yet that hasn’t stopped institutional investors from believing they will. Dan tells us about a study highlighting by just how much institutional managers believe PE will outperform in coming years…yet according to Dan’s research, their number is way off. Dan then delves into leverage and the value premium, telling us how important this interaction is. He gives us great details on the subject based on a study he was a part of while at Bain Consulting. The takeaway was that roughly 50% of deals done at multiples greater than 10x EBITDA posted 0% returns to investors, net of fees. Meb asks about the response to this from the private equity powers that be… What is their perspective on adding value improvements, enabling a higher price? Dan gives us his thoughts, but the general take is that doing deals at 10x EBITDA is nuts. Next, the guys delve into Dan’s strategy at Verdad. In essence, he’s taking the strategy that made PE so successful in the 80s and applying it to public markets. Specifically, he’s looking for microcap stocks, trading at sub-7 EBITDAs, that are 50%-60% levered. With this composition, this mirrors PE deals. The guys then get neck-deep in all things private equity… control premiums, fees, and illiquidity… the real engine behind PE alpha… sector bets… portfolio weights… Meb and Dan land on “debt” for a while. Dan tell us how value investors tend to have an aversion to debt. But if you’re buying cheap companies that are cash-flow generating, then having debt and paying it off is a good thing. Debt paydown is a better form of capital allocation than dividends or buybacks because it improves the health of the biz, leading to multiple expansion. The guys cover so much ground in this episode, it’s hard to capture it all here: They discuss how to balance quantitative rules with a human element… The Japanese market today, and why it’s a great set-up for Dan’s PE strategy… Rules that should work across geography, asset classes, markets, and time… Currency hedging… And far more. For the moment, we’re still ending shows with “your most memorable trade.” Dan’s involves a Japanese company that had been blemished by a corporate scandal.  Did it turn out for or against him? Find out in Episode 90.

1hr 1min

17 Jan 2018

Rank #15

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#146 - Neil Littman - The More Risk You Kill, Inherently, The More Value You Create

In episode 146 we welcome Neil Littman. Neil starts with his background and how he came up with the idea of Bioverge, a platform that offers an opportunity to invest in healthcare startups, with the mission of democratizing access to early stage healthcare companies. Neil follows that with a discussion of his time at CIRM, and some of the incredible stories and the science he experienced firsthand during his involvement. It was his time at CIRM where he learned that the institutional model of financing and investing could be applied to the retail sector as well. That paired with his desire to provide exposure to the alternative asset class created the perfect storm and the result was Bioverge. Meb then asks Neil to get into the structure of the Bioverge platform. Neil explains that the decentralized network they built provides warm referrals to Bioverge and ultimately links capital to potential investment opportunities. In addition to that, Bioverge provides value added service beyond capital that is important for founders and portfolio companies that may seek support and expertise along the way. Beyond sourcing deal flow, another critical component for Bioverge is diligence on the investment opportunities by leveraging its network of subject matter experts with deep domain expertise. In evaluating opportunities, Neil explains the “nuts and bolts” of the model they use, looking at the risk and reward side of the equation. The conversation then turns to some examples of companies and deals Neil has been involved with since starting Bioverge. Neil provides a walk-through of Notable Labs, which provides personalized drug combination testing for cancer patients, Crowd Med, a service that relies on crowd sourcing to help solve difficult medical cases, Ligandal, a company delivering a gene therapy platform, Occam’s Razor, a company that is attempting to understand and cure neurodegenerative diseases, Blue Mesa health, developing a new breed of digital therapeutics to nudge patients to change behavior, and Echo laboratories, developers of a hybrid microscope with a new twist on the traditional eye piece. The conversation winds down with Neil providing some insight into what he sees in the future for the industry, and the long-term vision for Bioverge. All this and more in episode 146.

59mins

13 Mar 2019

Rank #16

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#179 - Dan Ferris - What We Do In The Markets, It’s An Unnatural Act…You’ve Got To Have Some Discipline

In episode 179 we welcome our guest, Dan Ferris. Meb begins with a discussion of Dan’s background as a guitarist, and his path into finance. Dan then provides a high level view of his framework for how he thinks about investing. He discusses bottom-up value investing, and developing a powerful respect for the effect of cycles. When it came to evaluating companies, he took issue with traditional DCF analysis, and focused more on using DCF as a tool to provide guide posts to probabilities of various outcomes. Next, Meb asks Dan to walk through the Extreme Value portfolio. Dan discusses there are 17 names with average days held of 1100, reflecting his thinking about equity as “permanent capital.” He covers names like Altius Minerals, Starbucks, and Dollar General. Dan also touches on his thinking behind the sell decision. As the conversation winds down, Dan discusses some of the most influential books and passages he has read on investing: Chapter 20 of the Intelligent Investor, The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks, The Elements of Investing by Ellis and Malkiel, and more. Don’t miss episode 179.

1hr 10mins

2 Oct 2019

Rank #17

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#46 - Raoul Pal - “We've Got to Expect a Recession This Year or Next Year, or if We're at the Wild Extremes, the Year After That"

In Episode 46, we welcome Real Vision TV co-founder, Raoul Pal. The guys start by going over a bit of Raoul’s background. Raoul started his career by running equity and equity derivatives at Goldman Sachs. Through this, he learned the macro investing world. He then joined a hedge fund, managing its global macro fund before retiring at 36 on the coast of Spain. But it was then that Raoul decided to start a research service, the Global Macro Investor, aimed at large, institutional players. However, in 2008, Raoul realized the ordinary investor had been let down by the system and financial media. So, in an effort to help, Raoul founded Real Vision TV with Grant Williams. Real Vision features the smartest guys in the world teaching you how to invest, what their best ideas are, and so on… After this background, the guys jump in, with Meb asking Raoul about his overall investing framework. Raoul tells us this whole game is about probabilities. To invest successfully, we look for times when the odds are in our favor. So, to look for these times, Raoul developed a system based on the business cycle – with a focus on GDP, as asset prices are moved by economic growth. The model relies heavily on findings from ISM reports (Institute for Supply Management). Raoul tells us that when looking at ISM numbers, it’s not just the level that counts, but also the rate of change of those levels. Overall, this model helps forecast S&P levels, bond yields, inflation, world trade… basically everything! So, what is it saying now? “We’ve got to expect a recession this year or next year, or if we’re at the wild extremes, the year after that.” Meb brings up stats from Ned Davis, tying ISM levels to market returns. He says how last year, it appeared that ISM levels were rolling over, but then they steadied and now are a bit high. He asks Raoul what it means for us now. You’ll want to hear Raoul’s response, which includes the possibility that asset prices may weaken soon – while bond yields may suffer significantly. Meb then points to Raoul’s call of a potential short trade in oil. Raoul tell us that this is the largest speculation in oil – ever. Way too many people went long, and this speculative positioning is too far ahead of the actual business cycle. He says oil is maybe $10-$15 too high right now. It’s coming close to being a perfect trade setup. Oil could hit as low as $30. Next, the guys discuss great opportunities around the globe. Raoul points to Cypress. Greek stocks are still hammered too. He says the upside could be huge – potentially 10x your money. Meb agrees, mentioning his own study about markets that have gone down big, or stayed down for many years. The upside is often spectacular. The conversation then steers toward one the biggest emerging macro story in the world – India. You’re going to want to hear this one. It’s a fascinating story, and Raoul gives us actionable investment ideas. Next up – Bitcoin. Raoul gives us a quick primer on Bitcoin and blockchain technology. He tells us that many people are confused as to what, exactly, it is – currency? Investment? Raoul gives us his thoughts. There’s way more, as this episode is packed with great content. The guys talk about Google’s and IBM’s prospects as investments… artificial intelligence… making money entrepreneurially rather than through investing… and Raoul’s most memorable trade – it’s fascinating story involving the South African Rand that you don’t want to miss. What are the details? Find out in Episode 46.

59mins

5 Apr 2017

Rank #18

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#134 - Chris Cole - Volatility Is The Instrument That Makes Us Face Truth

In Episode 134, we welcome Chris Cole. Meb kicks off the show by asking Chris to describe his nontraditional background. Chris studied cinematography in film school at USC, while trading options in his spare time. He eventually made a career switch and began in Merrill Lynch’s analyst program in New York, while trading in his spare time. With his trading, he eventually created $1 Million to start his firm. Next, the conversation transitions to Chris’s work, including his take that “Volatility is the only asset class.” Chris follows by discussing how returns can be deconstructed to represent either “short-vol” or “long-vol” strategies. He mentions that the average institutional portfolio is a 98% short-volatility portfolio that will not perform all that well during a period of regime change. Meb then brings up some recent events that have transpired to lead into a chat about short vs. long volatility, and some dangers when thinking about the strategies. Chris discusses how volatility can be expressed in both tails, for example, the right tail being high volatility and high asset returns, and provides an example that volatility was averaging around 25 in the late 90s when the market was going up 30% per year. He follows with a stat that at-the-money vol moved more in January of this year than it did in the February move most might be familiar with. Chris then provides his thoughts about regime changes, what is possible, and what he sees in the market. He starts with his recent paper, Volatility and the Alchemy of Risk. In that paper, he uses the example of the Ouroboros, or “Tail devourer” as a metaphor for the current short-volatility trade. What he sees as a worry are the explicit short-vol traders, $1.4 Trillion of implicit short-vol strategies that are re-creating a portfolio of short options by financial engineering, and corporations using leverage to buy back shares, suppressing volatility. All together these scenarios represent a snake eating its tail. Meb then asks Chris to talk about market pressures that have resulted in liquidity changes. Chris explains that this is the only bull market in history with less and less volume, and less and less volatility. He mentions that what was scary about February’s volatility was that liquidity vanished. He follows with a discussion of passive vs. active investing, and the role active investors play in the market. Meb then asks about catalysts for stress in the market. He talks about the passive strategy not being understood by investors as something that could lead to de-stabilizing conditions, and that over 50% of the investment grade debt is in the lowest rated tranches, and over $2 Trillion of debt that needs to be rolled in 2019 and 2020. He mentions that what could potentially cause an issue is inflation leading to higher rates, a minor turn of the business cycle given the amount of leverage and gearing on corporate balance sheets, as well as the reliance of stocks and bonds being un-correlated if the markets enter a period where stock and bond correlations are in fact positively correlated.   Next, through an example of rental car insurance, Chris gives some background on implementing long-vol strategies by using quantitative analytics to help identify points in time where you are paid to own “insurance” against market declines, in addition to predictive analytics that provide an informational edge to help understand whether or not it might be productive to own protection against market volatility risk. Meb follows with a question on the Japanese Vol Monster. Chris describes the short-vol trade that has been going on in Japan for a long time. He then describes philosophically that volatility is the instrument that makes us face truth. This and more in episode 134.

1hr 2mins

19 Dec 2018

Rank #19

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#121 - Pim van Vliet - The Reality Is High-Risk Stocks Earn Low Returns

In Episode 121, we welcome fellow quant, Pim van Vliet. If you’re a low-vol investor, or having been wanting to learn more about low-vol, this is the episode for you. Meb dives straight in, opening with a quote from Pim: "The low-volatility effect is perhaps the largest anomaly in finance, challenging the basic trade-off between risk and return, as higher risk does not lead to higher returns. Still, it remains one of the least utilized factor premiums in financial markets." He asks Pim to explain. Pim tell us that low-volatility is the biggest anomaly of them all. People have trouble embracing the concept. We’ve been trained to believe that higher risk should be rewarded with higher returns, but Pim walks us through some counterarguments. He goes on to explain that CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) is great in theory, yet bad at describing reality. He tells us that “the reality is high risk stocks earn low returns.” Next, Meb brings up a paper Pim wrote called “The Volatility Effect” and asks Pim to walk us through it. Pim tells us one of the broad takeaways is that low-vol works cross borders (unlike some other factors). It’s not just effective in the U.S. – it’s also been proven out in Europe and Japan. In addition, this alpha seems to be getting stronger now rather than waning as have other factors when their visibility has increased. Meb asks about Rob Arnott and factor-timing/factor valuations. Does factor valuation matter? Pim agrees with Rob in that valuation does matter. If you only look at low-vol, you might end up buying “expensive defensive”. If so, then yes, your expected returns will be lower. That’s why Pim includes a value filter. He looks at “multi-factor defensive”. Pim mentions Cliff Asness and notes that he likes incorporating momentum into his approach as well.   The conversation bounces around a bit: where is Pim finding opportunities around the world now… additional details on how low-vol works across countries, sectors, and asset classes… and how low-vol complements a CAPE approach, pointing toward some effective defensive market strategies. Next, Meb asks about potential biases. For instance, if you focus on low-vol, could that mean you’ll end up with a basket of, say, utility stocks and no tech? Pim tells us that, yes, if you focus purely on low-vol, you could get more sector and country effect. But he goes on to tell us how investors might mitigate that. There’s plenty more in this fun, quant-driven episode – a discuss of the definition of risk (volatility versus permanent loss of capital)… factor fishing and data mining… how low-vol works from a portfolio perspective… Pim’s forecast of the future… and Pim’s most memorable trade. This is a great story, highlighting how an early loss delivered such a powerful learning lesson, that it probably ended up making Pim money in the long run. Get all the details in Episode 121.

58mins

12 Sep 2018

Rank #20