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The Memo by Howard Marks

On October 12, 1990, Oaktree Co-Chairman Howard Marks published his first memo to clients. In the decades since, he has periodically released memos reflecting his viewpoint on the investment landscape, as well as more general business insights. On this podcast we'll hear the latest memos by Howard, released in tandem with or shortly after their publication.

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On October 12, 1990, Oaktree Co-Chairman Howard Marks published his first memo to clients. In the decades since, he has periodically released memos reflecting his viewpoint on the investment landscape, as well as more general business insights. On this podcast we'll hear the latest memos by Howard, released in tandem with or shortly after their publication.

What Really Matters?

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In his latest memo, Howard Marks weaves together some of the themes he’s explored in 2022 to explain what he believes really matters in investing and what doesn’t. He discusses the disadvantages of short-term thinking, the difference between volatility and risk, and the one word he believes defines the essence of investment excellence.

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

You can read the memo here ( ).

Nov 22 2022

53mins

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The Rewind: Global Financial Crisis

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Howard reflects on memos related to the Global Financial Crisis with Bob O’Leary, Co-Portfolio Manager of Oaktree’s Global Opportunities strategy. They share their most striking memories from the years leading up to and during the crisis. They also discuss today’s market environment and consider whether investors have forgotten many of the lessons they should have learned during this tumultuous period.

Oct 13 2022

35mins

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Behind The Memo: The Illusion of Knowledge

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In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses key themes from his recent memo, The Illusion of Knowledge.  He explains why creating helpful macro forecasts is so challenging and why “thinking about macro” and forecasting aren’t the same thing. 

You can listen to The Illusion of Knowledge in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/the-illusion-of-knowledge).

Sep 13 2022

23mins

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The Illusion of Knowledge

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Howard Marks has long questioned the value of macro forecasts, but in his latest memo, he explains why creating profitable forecasts is so difficult. He discusses the incredible complexity involved in modeling an economy and makes it clear that forecasting mostly provides the illusion of knowledge. He argues that investors are better off accepting reality — that the macro future is largely unknowable — and focusing on what they can know. 

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/the-illusion-of-knowledge).

Sep 08 2022

53mins

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Behind The Memo: I Beg To Differ

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In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his recent memo, I Beg to Differ.  He explains why investors seeking to outperform need to think differently, be exceptional, and be prepared to look wrong – even when they’re right.

You can listen to I Beg To Differ in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/i-beg-to-differ).

Aug 04 2022

24mins

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I Beg To Differ

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Howard Marks’s latest memo argues that investors seeking superior performance must have the courage to depart from the pack, even though doing so means accepting the risk of being wrong. Thinking differently and better than others is key to outperformance, he explains, because in investing, it’s not enough to be right. You have to be more right than most. This means being able to tell when the investment crowd is focused on all the wrong things.

The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://cnt.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/i-beg-to-differ.pdf?sfvrsn=7d814866_9)

Jul 26 2022

47mins

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The Rewind: Something of Value

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Howard reflects on this memo, originally published on January 11, 2021, with his son Andrew Marks. They discuss why open-mindedness – at all ages – is key when investing in a rapidly changing world. Andrew is the co-managing partner of TQ Ventures, a technology-focused venture capital firm founded four years ago that has over 80 portfolio companies.

You can read “Something of Value” here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/something-of-value.pdf).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Jun 16 2022

1hr 25mins

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Behind The Memo: Bull Market Rhymes

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In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his recent memo, Bull Market Rhymes. Howard explains why investing keeps getting harder and why looking to the past can potentially help investors better analyze the innovations that may – or may not – shape the future. 

You can listen to Bull Market Rhymes in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/bull-market-rhymes).

Jun 02 2022

16mins

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Bull Market Rhymes

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Howard Marks’s latest memo explores recurring investment themes to contextualize the current market correction and the bull market that preceded it. He discusses the role played by financial innovations like SPACs and cryptocurrencies and why he believes psychology, not fundamentals, primarily drives investment cycles – and likely always will. 

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/bull-market-rhymes.pdf?sfvrsn=df8b4b66_9).

May 26 2022

44mins

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The Rewind: Lines in the Sand

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Howard reflects on this memo (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/lines-in-the-sand.pdf) originally published on April 18, 2017. Following up on his classic memo You Can’t Eat IRR (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2006-07-12-you-cant-eat-irr.pdf), he discusses why financial innovations that can artificially boost IRRs, like subscription lines, should be treated cautiously and why no single performance metric tells the whole story. 

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Apr 28 2022

44mins

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Behind The Memo: The Pendulum in International Affairs

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In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses the origins and important themes of his recent memo, The Pendulum in International Affairs. Howard explains why one of his favorite metaphors – the pendulum – can help investors understand psychology, markets and foreign policy.

You can listen to The Pendulum in International Affairs in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/the-pendulum-in-intl-affairs.pdf?sfvrsn=53b17666_7).

Mar 31 2022

21mins

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The Pendulum in International Affairs

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Howard Marks’s latest memo connects two seemingly unrelated trends – Europe’s energy dependence and U.S. offshoring – to explain why the pendulum of companies’ and countries’ behavior may be swinging away from globalization and toward onshoring. This shift will likely create risk for investors but also opportunities.

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/the-pendulum-in-intl-affairs.pdf).

Mar 23 2022

29mins

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The Rewind: It’s All a Big Mistake

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Howard reflects on this memo originally published on June 20, 2012. He discusses why understanding mistakes – both your own and others’ – is key to superior investing.  He’s joined by Bob O’Leary, Global Co-Portfolio Manager of Oaktree’s Global Opportunities strategy.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2012-06-20-its-all-a-big-mistake.pdf?sfvrsn=17bb0f65_2).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Feb 24 2022

53mins

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Introducing "Behind The Memo": Selling Out

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Listen to the first episode of our new series Behind the Memo, in which Howard breaks down his latest memo, discussing its origins, themes and key insights. In Selling Out, published on January 13, 2022, Howard explains why staying invested is usually the most important thing. 

You can listen to Selling Out in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/selling-out).

Jan 21 2022

32mins

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Selling Out

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Howard Marks’s latest memo considers one of investing’s most fundamental questions: when to sell. Howard explains that it’s foolish to sell because prices are up and because they’re down – and why, most of the time, staying invested is ultimately “the most important thing.”

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/selling-out).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Jan 13 2022

35mins

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The Rewind: Uncertainty

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Howard reflects on this memo originally published on May 11, 2020.  Writing near the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, he discusses the power of saying “I don’t know” and the danger of confirmation bias.  Drawing on the insights of thinkers from Voltaire to Albert Einstein, Howard explains why he believes having intellectual humility is essential for outstanding investing.   

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/uncertainty.pdf).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Dec 20 2021

1hr 1min

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The Winds of Change

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The last 20 months have taught us to question everything. What is the future of work? Can American democracy survive? Will Baby Boomers keep consuming more than their fair share? And what comes after “trillion”? Howard Marks’s latest memo examines paradigm shifts that could reshape the economy, markets and the world for many years to come. (November 23, 2021)

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/thewindsofchange.pdf)

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Nov 30 2021

1hr 2mins

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The Rewind: What Does The Market Know?

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Howard reflects on this memo originally published on January 19, 2016. In the second episode of a two-part series, he discusses the problems with taking advice from the market. But he also draws on insights from his latest memo, Thinking About Macro, to consider what it means when the market does get it right.

Oct 07 2021

52mins

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The Rewind: On The Couch

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Howard reflects on this memo originally published on January 14, 2016. In the first of a two-part series, he analyzes investors’ irrationality and discusses why things that are obvious in investing are usually wrong.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/on-the-couch.pdf).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Sep 30 2021

1hr 13mins

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The Rewind: Us and Them

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Howard reflects on this memo originally published on May 7, 2004. In a discussion that namechecks both psychologist Amos Tversky and tennis great Pete Sampras, Howard explains why too much confidence can be a dangerous thing.

You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2004-05-07-us-and-them.pdf).

The memo is read by LJ Ganser.

Aug 26 2021

43mins

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