Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Tony Robbins - The Keys To Massive Success

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Excerpts of Ray Dalio's ideas

This week we shall look at Ray Dalio's ideas from presentations of how he thinks things work.

Take a look at the links: (How the economic machine works.) 


Link: (Principles)

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dividend Weighted Investing

A couple of days ago I was browsing and while on the site an old investment idea clicked to me. Dividend weighted investment. This is an approach of identifying stocks that make dividend payout with regular frequency and giving special attention to those stocks exclusively.

 I checked the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and found over four hundred (400) stocks that paid dividends ranging from .5% to above 10% in some cases and with a 3%-4% yield on stock price an average with these dividend payouts. Most of the dividend payout/stock price yields were better than saving interest rate and treasury rate of returns.

Yes, I know people will argue that stocks are risky and there is a chance of suffering permanent loss of capital, but banks go bust and governments default on their promised to pay you a particular rate of return on the money loaned to them, only later to hear that you have to take proverbial haircut, (they operating more like Ali-"barber"). So I say that to suggest that risk is everywhere. Even if you plant a garden the weed will eat your fruits.

Exchange Traded Funds are now being designed using this strategy or approach to compile portfolios. Take a look at 

See link on the dividend aristocrats:

Dividend weighted investing can be a strategy or an investment approach.

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Investment Dry Powder

In one of Berkshire Hathaway Chairman's letter in the earlier years written by Warren Buffett, he told a story, as he usually does, about his investment approach. He mentioned the loaded "shot gun wait" for a slow moving elephant as he sits waiting patiently. In last year’s letter he promised a return to the investment jungle as he had dry powder, but couldn't find a slow moving elephant fast enough to allocate his ever growing cash intake.

Dry powder is really referring to gun powder in a financial sense, but cash is the investment substitute for dry powder.

You have to have dry powder to invest.

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Useful investment information blog

I have found this blog most useful:, you should subscribe.

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Keep your investment approach simple

Keep your investment approach simple and you will be find in the long run. With that said; today I am keeping it real simple with a Charlie Munger (Link)

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Top 5 things to nailing a great investment opportunity

No matter how much we read about investment opportunities, most times by the time these opportunities are made public and we hear about them the opportunity is already gone. I am going to brief today with my blog. So here we go with the top five things to nailing a great investigation.

  • Focus on the most important things first.

  • Set up the conditions for which you will make or take an investment opportunity.
  • Make space and time 
  • Investing is not a Theme Park
  • Remember Mr. Risk in any business opportunity

Often times we want to examine an investment opportunity and we spend too much time trying to make it perfect by scouring for every single detail you can find. There comes a time when too much information start having diminishing return. Worrying about the investment is not going to help either. Find the margin of safety and go for the opportunity.
Design a framework of the conditions for which you want to engage your time and money. Make these conditions suitable for you and the other parties and leave some room to negotiate bearing in mind the margin of safety. Don't be a hard ass on every single things remember that an opportunity is not prescription for saving your life so you can walk away from it if it doesn't suits you. 
Review your first impression of the investment opportunity and kill your biases. Be rational about the possible outcome and make sure that you the space in you capital deployment and the time to monitor the investment. It does not have to be something that you look at every day, but you got to check on it room time to time. Warren Buffett sells some of his investment at times, and he does so when right from and don't listen to him, because he watches them like a hawk, he just doesn't do the heavy lifting as long as the operators send the run off to him. Sam Carpenter wrote a book titled; Work the System, you can download it for free here Work out a system that serves your space and time. 
An investment opportunity is not a theme park and cannot be the only idea of an opportunity on your mind if it is in real estate, stocks or gas stations. While you want to stay in your circle of competence, explore and grow your competence not only outside the box, but also in a different box to mitigate your risk to any single business. You can concentration on a few things at the same. How many things get concentrated on when having sex? Think about it. You get the point; it is the same thing picking a business opportunity. You want to come to the reality, you want to feel the joy of owning a great business, you the returns to run off on you, etc etc.

Don't slavishly stick to one strategy to the point of exhaustion. This link you to an older posting:
There is an element of risk in anything you do, but don't allow risk to paralyze you whether by act of omission or commission. Did you hear the story about the one horse race? He was a sure winner until he jumped the fence. He never passed the winner post. Accept that not every opportunity will work out, you will get burn. I have never seen a carpenter who uses a hammer who doesn't knows what it feels like to hammer his fingers. So nail with care or should I say hammer down with care. 

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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Understanding Deep Value Investing...

Understanding deep value investing in the way Tobias Carlisle sees it: (Link)

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Cloning the Rich

This "getting rich" conservation is not an obsession, but with no focus on the attention to these details of cloning the rich as would a Xerox copier reproducing a document, no financial success can come your way hence the conversation. The basic of "getting rich" story start from the lessons of old Algamish and repeated by Arkad from the city of Babylon. How ironic, the city of "Babylon".

The book The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is a gem of a book and you should read it: 

All of this value comes at no cost to you, but speaking of value, I must not allow this opportunity to escape me without sharing the sage advice of Benjamin Graham with you too. You can find his words of wisdom in the Securities Analysis by Benjamin Graham and Graham Dodd.

I cannot imagine talking about those eminent dead (i.e. Algamish, Arkad and Benjamin Graham) and not speak about the great investors alive today; the story of cloning the rich would be incomplete. The lessons of cloning the rich are available for free on Warren Buffet's company's website Berkshire Hathaway in his letters to shareholders; you too can have his wisdom and befriend his knowledge while he is alive.

You can scuttlebutt on these things with ten of your friends and see how that fairs out. But before you go let us befriend one more eminent dead. I bring you Phillip Fisher. You may need to learn some things from his book Common Stocks from Uncommon Profit.

The last thing to say is: go do the work for yourself, you cannot get anywhere without exerting energy for yourself. Stop putting off learning and earning for you. 

Cloning the rich is a good thing to copy. Ever wonder what would happen without the Xerox copier?

Some of the finest things in comes for free and cloning is an easy way out.

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Friday, 28 November 2014

On Becoming Rich

My search on becoming rich has led me down a few alleys and byways. What I have found, is that, there are no ways around doing the work to be rich. Even if a short cut is available, you still have to do the work to find it.

Doing the work certainly don't mean working hard, especially working hard on, at, and for the wrong things, but what it means is finding what matters and doing that work. Most of the richest people in the world have worked hard, but they did the work that mattered most.

They have been working on themselves for the most part, learning to earn and keep their gold and goals while all else around them kept moving. They prepared themselves for lady opportunity and when she appeared they took action.

I cannot imagine a dreamer who succeeds without taking action, and no master falls in love with a lazy man or woman for that fact. Lady opportunity regardless of how she dresses, she loves a man of action. So it is important that you take action and do the work even if you want to become rich in spirit, you have to take action.

That genie lamp above requires a little rubbing and a command, and that is all the action that is needed. If you light a fire or put a blaze out, it is the work that matters. Rub that genie and start a fire on becoming rich. Clone the rich and do the work.

Take action and do the work that matters and see what happens.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

The concepts of money and time...

The concepts of money and time =
Money and time are the only things you spend
You make money, but you can't make time
Rich people invest in time and poor people invest in money
You store money and use it later
You keep time, but you cant store it, its never the same later
Money is fungible, but time is not, something make it different the next time around...
Money can wait, but time never waits
Money runs out, but time runs off and never runs out (you run out of time because time runs off)
Money comes in, but time is always there
Money fools you, time schools you
Strap for money and strap for time
Time is money
Money on the mind, but it takes time to think. (In the head is where the two meet)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Buying a good stock is buying a good company?

A good stock to buy does not always equate into a good company to buy into as a shareholder. Some stocks are worth trading as long as they trade at the lowest price and later provide you with an opportunity to sell it at a profit after cost. It is always a good idea to go for the lowest price you can get a stock for. Buy it at that price with a view of selling it when the market for the stock improves. Of course the business should at least be good enough to stay in business while you hold the stocks.

Some business are like cigar butts with not much value, but even that can be hard to find at times. It may not be a good business, it is a good stock only because with some certainty that it has just that little value left in it. It could be like real a cigar butt with one last smoke, only that it is wet and soggy. Sun it dry just a little, and you may get the few last puff left before you hits the cork.

The stock market is distinctly different from the enterprise/industry market of a business. There may be pricing misalignment between the two valuations i.e. the equity valuation of the business may be different from the asset valuation of the business and this is where you have to search for the misprice in valuations.

The lowest price is where the best investment starts and the highest valuation is where profit starts.

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Five things to evaluate your Financial Adviser on...

You come into a sudden stash of cash on your hands and you decide to invest some for retirement or some future acquisition such as buying a house or car etc etc...

So you call up an investment adviser with the expectation that you will be given the best advice in allocating your capital. So you call up the one most advertised. You get some advise, but your work is  not done yet, because not all investment advisers are measured equally and you are right, some are more equal than some.

These five things can help you when evaluating a financial adviser:

  1. Fee Structure: Is the financial adviser giving you advice on fee basis linked to the product offering at the time you approach them or is the adviser giving you advice as a service offering with no connection to any particular investment product. By that I mean, do they recommend a product based on the fee they receive from selling that particular product to you regardless of what your investment objective may be or do they sell you a service at a flat fee while at the same time considering your best option with your investment objective in mind.
  2. Trust: Do you trust the person or the firm giving you the advice. I know this can be a difficult one to measure, but it is not hard. Start a relationship with the individual or institution and look at how they conduct business with you. Are you keeping more of your money or are they getting more of your money than you are? A key measure is how do they execute their fiduciary duties to you and other clients. Don't stress test the exchange to the point of destroying the relationship, but ask the hard question about the investment and be objective and rational. You may need some time alone to decide before you eventually invest your money so as many questions as you can. Take that time you need to evaluate the investment proposal and don't be pressured into any deal without independent consultation.
  3. Independence: Only you can decide what you believe to be in your best interest. The adviser can only recommend or suggest alternatives from which to choose from, but you have to decide. There is nothing wrong with researching and seeking the opinion of a second person before you decide. Prepare a checklist to make the decision process systematic. The greatest of all investors have a system that they work through like a checklist before they decide. Compare investment products apples to apples and choose base on your own comfort level. Work through your biases and be as rational as you possibly can.
  4. Rationale: Why you decide on buying a particular investment product must be known by you. You must know what the reasons are before buying an investment product. Whether the investment be for long term or short term goals, interest rate returns, inflation rate protection or living income while you hold the investment must be considered. You must know why your capital is sitting in that investment product and your reasoning should be without bias for lack of rationale.
  5. Accessibility: You want to have access to your adviser and you want to have access to your money with reasonable notice. It is a real challenge when you have made up your mind and can't find either adviser or money to execute your decision. The last thing you want to do is lose money and can't find the adviser. I would much rather lose the adviser and can find my money.

I hope that these five things can help you in finding the right investment adviser. The checklist provided here is not complete, but it is enough to get you started. So pick carefully and be mindful of the difference between the butcher and a dietitian 

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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Buying a company's asset vs company's earnings

Recently a book by Lawrence Cunningham, titled "Berkshire beyond Buffett" hit the shelves, I have not read it as yet, but I watched a book review  presented by Cunningham and hosted by Google a couple of days ago. I will not give an opinion on the book itself, but I like theme. The writer basically chronicled the buying pattern of Warren Buffett and how sustainable Berkshire Hathaway would be even after he is no longer with us.

Buffet prefers to buy assets as oppose to earnings and you should too when considering to acquire an investment opportunity. His focus is on the asset moreso because he is looking for that margin of safety should the price of the stock gets beaten down and he can acquire the entire business in order that his investment wont suffer permanent loss capital.He wants to be able to recover investment by selling the asset of company as he did with Berkshire Hathaway. 

A company's assets are really the supporting feature of the company's earnings. The assets can come in the form of cash on balance sheet, land and machinery, talent pool of staff or any other business system that generates revenue year on year (e.g. a franchise business). There is almost always some tangible or intangible asset form from which to rely for future income and as it is with all income, fluctuation is normal and should be expected. Corporate earnings are no different from fluctuating income, because it too fluctuates. 

Measuring these asset forms against the earnings will determine what price is paid to enter into an investment opportunity. The price of a stock will fluctuate at the uproar of the market beit an earnings call, an investors briefing or some other market event. The asset price of the company does not fluctuate in the same fashion and is more stable in nature. Earnings on the other side are unstable and are subject to greater market base volatility then assets. Stock exchange investors rarely ever look at the asset base of a company unless they are sophisticated or seek to inform themselves beyond the ordinary.

Don't get me wrong, earnings is very important and without earnings a company can’t make a profit let alone pay a dividend, but it should not be the sole basis for spending your money on a company stock. Take a look at the company's asset base firstly. Remember that you want to buy those at a discount.

Pick your investment opportunity subject to the company's asset base above the earnings when considering buying a company stock.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Top Five Best Investment Books...

This list of top five investment books may not be listed in the order you may want to start your  reading, but I would start off with the Riches Man in Babylon.

Tap Dancing to Work - Carol Loomis

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits - Phillip Fisher

The Most Important Thing - Howard Marks

The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason

The Intelligent Investor - Ben Graham                                 

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Top four investment decisions that lead to gifts that keep on giving...

There is a lesson or two that investors can learn from the ant world. The ant and human being are the only two creatures on earth that raise a farm and move around with that farm. There is a symbiotic, or should I say, a reciprocating relationship between the ants and the mealy bug. Mealy bugs produce honey dew from its rear that provides sustenance for the ant to supplement its other food supply. The honey dew is akin to the dividend payment of a company that it distributes over the life of its existence. In a similar way, the mealy bug produces honey dew over the life of its existence, but it is better able to do so successfully with the aid of the ant community.

The ant community provides the protective moat that defends the mealy bug in exchange for the honey dew produced by the mealy bug and also protect it from its natural predator the ladybeettle. The ant community enjoys the benefits derived from the mealy bug and so they protect the mealy bug at all cost. The mealy bug is capital to the ant community and the loss of this capital will mean no honey dew to supplement the ant food supply.
 Ant Farming Mealy Bug videos:

 As an investor, loss of capital can cause serious damage to your portfolio holding. Your investment strategy must have some protective defense mechanism to cope with and prevent this loss of capital in the same way as the ant to their mealy bug.

 A margin of safety is a good protective defense mechanism to mitigate downside fluctuation. In addition to the margin of safety, a gradual concentration of an asset acquisition when buying is desirable, since market volatility and price fluctuation will deliver the benefit of acquiring more of the said asset at lower prices. The lower price paid will result in reduction in per unit cost hence bringing down the average cost per unit on the total investment. Price fluctuation is a feature of all markets and a lower cost will always have some impact on return on capital. The need to protect capital cannot be overstated. Rich people do two things well i.e. make wealth and keep it. It is as simple as that.. I cannot recall ever seeing a 1 800 LOSS OF CAPITAL hotline anywhere. It may take a long time for you to recover from permanent loss of capital should you need counsel since there is no hotline waiting with someone on the other end for you to cry to.

So let us get to the top 
four (4) gifts;
1.    Buy Dividend Paying Asset 
2.    Buy Asset with Solid Economic Defense (MOAT)
3.    Buy Asset Class with Symbiotic/Reciprocal Relationship (Economic lattice) and
4.    Buy Asset you Fully Understand
The key in any investment strategy is to survive market conditions and prevent permanent loss of capital and so asset price and selection must have some framework or check list that allows for a rational buying decision. Allocating capital requires great care and a check list of "things to do" can be helpful to prevent permanent loss of capital.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Value Investing as a strategy

About three months ago I wanted to share and teach a friend of mine the principle behind value investing. I took him through the entire process from:

1.     Identifying the company listed on the stock exchange
2.     Ensuring that I had the funds in my brokerage account 
3.     Placing a limit order (restricting the price from going above my bid offer)
  1. Waiting patiently for the trade to execute

I was not worried about paying a few extra cents and so I placed the offer for the stock at $1.36. Within short order the trade was executed. I was confident and comfortable with the purchase knowing that the stock was close to its 52 weeks low and near an all time low price.

I know the value of the stock was worth more than the price I paid based on the book value (about $1.45 billion to the amount of shares outstanding approximately 1 billion shares). In this case, I would be buying at price to book of ($1.36/$1.45 = .94). In this case I am buying $1 bill for .94 cents by my analysis.

Unlike Warren Buffett, in this case, I did not buy $1 for 50 cents, but I am working my way up to his standard. This would be like a fat elephant opportunity only that this elephant is fast moving.

Less than three months after my company acquisition, the stock was last traded at $1.62 when last I checked. That would make me a 19% return on my investment so far. But I am not selling just yet. Getting the stock is only part of the strategy.

I know that this company pays a healthy dividends annually, so I am waiting to get my share of the profit after they have done all the heavy lifting. I tell you what; this company could easily become a gift that keeps on

This brings me to the next point of the intrinsic value. I am expecting to receive dividend payments from this company of an average of .15 cents per year going into the future. So far this year they have paid .8 cents already and we are in October and I am expecting another dividend payment before the year is out. At .15 cents dividend per year I would be getting an 11% return on the investment by not doing anything. 

Lets say I keep this for awhile, how long would I have to wait before I get my money back while still holding my shares?

Is that a simple strategy or what?

Would you like to take look at the company for yourself?

General Accident Insurance Company of Jamaica

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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Top six investor's success skills

Are you a lucky or skillful investor?

Investing can be both luck and skills if you are to be a successful investor. But you must have some attributes that enable you to find that lucky spot that will allow you to exercise that skill. These attributes are:

Ability to exercise Patience - wait on the investment opportunity and gradually invest into the investment over a time period. This is akin to loading a shot gun and waiting, as you sit, for slow moving elephant passing by to make a few shots at it, going after the kill.

Ability to Recognize the right Price - when the price of the invest-able asset is right, move in for the kill and load up for a good meal.

Ability to Concentrate Capital Deployment - with a high degree of certainty on the intrinsic value of the investment and a good margin of safety on the investment class/asset intensifying your capital deployment should be preferred as oppose to diversification. Don't diversify your capital deployment merely for the sake of diversification. Doing so may satisfy diversification at the expense of making good return on capital deployed.

Research, Research, Research - spend your time investigating and researching an investment worth doing well. If an investment is not an excellent investment opportunity don't waste your time researching it. 

Ability to Identify Scale-able Investment Opportunity - An excellent investment opportunity is one that scales well into the future. It should have progressive scale in sales/revenue, scale in market share, and scale in demand.

Ability to Recognize a Defensible Barrier of Entry Business - a worthwhile investment is one with a solid market protection nestled around it and is more suited for a long term holding. That moat around a business with good market protection must be such that no amount of capital will threaten its economic existence unless acquired by another business at a premium price from you. 

At the end of the day if you exercise these attributes and practice them your luck and skills will matter. but not all that much.

Have a look at Warren Buffett's success formula:

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Value Investing

Some years ago I was introduced to a book by Warren Buffett titled "The Intelligent Investor" written by Benjamin Graham. He recommended the book and described it as the one book that changed his life. I was searching for a life changing experience myself. I went and bought the book and took about two and half evenings to complete reading it. The chapters eight and twenty were the two most important chapters. The two most important things lead me to a better understanding of the principle of value investing around two central planks of investing. Number one: the investor and the fluctuation of the market and two, the margin of safety.

As an investor you have to develop the emotional strength or fortitude to hold your ground on an investment despite the volatility of the stock price movements of the company. Price is what you pay and value is what you should get.

You may have to remove yourself from an environment of euphoria and or excitement of any market sentiments that may impact your quiet thoughts before and after you have made an investment in the stock of a company. The value of company is not necessarily determined by the stock price. The stock price operates at the whims and fancy of the market and does not always represent the true value of the company. You want strike when this market misprice exists.   

The fear of losing money should the price of the stock decline can be countered with a margin of safety. In this case, that margin of safety means simply buying the stock at a deep discount to the book value of the asset of the company. This can be judged by the 52 week low price, low P/E ratio, low book to earnings and any other valuation metrics that may suggest it is time to buy. These opportunities generally come up when there is bad news on a company and the market beats down the company's stock price into the ground making it dirt cheap. Before you run into a cheap stock you must do some research homework to make sure the company can rebound from Mr. Market's melancholic mood.

Your research homework can start with a Phil Fisher's "Common stocks and uncommon profit" that will help you with your research approach. Phil Fisher is the other side of Warren Buffett investment skill sets and that is what made him half Graham and half Fisher. 

I will conclude by saying "buy Mr. Market on the sad days at deep discount and at margin of safety that protects you from losing too much in a declining market, but provide a bounty on the upside in a market recovery". Do your research before you jumping two feet in. Remember even when one horse enters the race, is the sole runner and appears to be a sure winner, don't forget he may jump the fence and not complete the race.

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Warren Buffett on investing:

Phil Fisher on Common Stock:

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Buying a Stock 101...

Buying a stock 101.

Often time people contemplate investment and the first thing they will say is “I don’t have the money to buy stocks”. Buying stock is really not difficult. It is no different from going to the supermarket to pick up a basket of grocery. Each item in that basket of grocery has or serves different purposes and will add different value to your life.

Your first stop in buying a stock is at the stock brokerage house where you will speak to a stock broker and open a brokerage account to which you will place a sum funds. You can pick the stock of a company that is listed on a stock market like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

There is a small brokerage commission associated with the purchasing and selling a stock and this fee generally ranges from 1% - 2% plus other related cess which may not be more than 100 basis points, hence your total purchasing/selling cost in addition to the unit price of each share. You would know the total cost prior to the purchase order being placed in the stock market. The transaction activity is a market action beit sell action or purchase action on the stock exchange.

If and when the order is executed your broker will inform you and the total number of shares is reflected in your account. The words stocks and shares are used interchangeably to mean one and the same.

So now you are in the market with your first item (stock) in the basket. Remember that in the same way you went about evaluating the grocery item you purchased at the supermarket, it is the same way you would evaluate a stock. You may have to do some research on the company or on the stock. And I say both company and stock because a good company may not necessarily be a good stock. By that I mean, a company may have a certain asset valuation on its balance sheet, but the market capitalization of it at outstanding shares may be valued less or more than its asset valuation. This asset value of the company also called the company’s book value. Ideally, you should want to buy a stock at a price below the company’s book value.

As I said in the last blog, you must firstly start off with a company that is making a profit and the second thing is to make sure that the price you pay for the stock/share is below book value and has low price to earnings ratio. You will see price to earnings ratio represented as P/E ratio.

Go open a brokerage account and start the process, and wet your feet in owning a piece of a company. Next time will share something on value investing with you.

But I can’t finish this blog without giving you a dose of Warren Buffett:

Who better to copy than Warren Buffett?

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Why must I buy the stock of a company?

I must buy a stock for the mere reason that somebody else will help with my future income, by doing the heavy lifting and making sure the company remains an economically viable company into the future. But before I do that i must make sure of these things;

For a first, the company:

  1. must be profitable 
  2. must pay a dividend or at least buying back share to create value for me as I continue hold  shares while at the same time increasing my share ownership
  3. must have a defensible competitive business advantage in its field of business
  4. must have honest management in place with skin in the game to run the company for the collective interest of all shareholders
  5. must be on the look out for a "tuck in" business or "bolt on" business enterprise to increase cash flow and Buffett-like float to allocate. (and by float I mean capital that is not yours, but come with zero interest charges that you can use until a claim is made against it, eg. insurance premium)
  6. must be growing its asset faster than it can deploy its capital on its own steam without borrowed money
  7. must be priced at below its asset value whether listed or not
  8. must be targeting "share of mind" (Disney) rather than "share of market" (Coca Cola) business
  9. must be clear from government regulatory legal squabble

See Peter Lynch video

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Productivity and Growth in Jamaica (Final)

In the two previous discussions around “Productivity and Growth in Jamaica” blogs, we wrote on two theme of ideas. In the first instance (Part One) we spoke about the public/private sector differentials and how they conduct themselves in rendering customer service delivery, and in the second instance (Part Two) we spoke about innovation and growth advances. The differentials in customer service delivery and innovation and growth advances in both private and public sectors must collaborate at some point to achieve the synergy required to make Jamaica become more productive as a nation. The Vision 2030 National Development Plan hinges on the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) as one of the pillows to drive the vision forward. The plan outlined the issues and challenges, but really never spoke to a working plan of required activities to make the vision come through. 
But for me and others the questions are: 
1. How is the ICT industry clustered in Jamaica?
2. What are the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) policy is in place to support the ICT cluster?
3. Where can that national ICT policy be found at?
4. Who is working on or with that ICT policy now?
The section of Vision 2030 that speaks to ICT sector spoke to the issues and challenges and not the opportunities and incentives to kick-start the success of the ICT industry. First thing for a start, some good recommendations for the policy would be that;
1. GOJ develop a policy designed around building out the platform for the ICT future 
2. GOJ capital base incentivizing ICT infrastructure build out and
3. GOJ legislate data/content management regulations.
The two critical components necessary for these recommendations to be successfully implemented are; 
  • Active mobile broadband infrastructure consideration
  • Smart phone base technology consideration.
I say this considering the connection economy and the ecosystem prerequisite needed to move the economic activities from land base business operation to internet base business operation. Private sector must support public sector and public sector must reciprocate for mutual benefits of both sectors. This can only be done through collaboration with the available ICT innovation to speed dial economic growth in the new connection economy
The InSight: I bought a private sector company stock/share through my private sector brokerage account via the internet, the purchase order was place with a quasi government entity (Jamaica Stock Exchange) and I did not walk into an office building to conduct this transaction. The transaction gets executed, and within minutes I receive a text on my smart phone to say my transaction was successful,
1. No truck to transport anything,
2. No security guard to watch over anything at the gate, and
3. No warehouse space required to store anything.
No wonder Warren Buffett loves buying stocks. I think you too should copy him since he is the second richest man on the Forbes list. Be a shameless cloner and follow Warren Buffett the Oracle of Omaha.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Power of the Smart Phone

The smart phone is the way to the near future;

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Sunday, 7 September 2014

Productivity and Growth in Jamaica (Part Two)

This past week had raving fan fare on the announcement of Jamaica’s upward movement on the Global Competitive Index; The report defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The index is also an indicator of economic growth and provides an early warning signal for what can become a better economic future. Innovation, mobile broadband subscription, and Government budget balance were the areas with significant movement on the index. Both private sector and public sector entities are responsible for any economic growth prospect to be realized in Jamaica. Neither of these sectors can succeed without the other, as both sectors form the nation’s economic ecosystem and need each to survive.

Innovation is the one common feature available to either sector enabling each of them to grow for the mutual benefit of all.

The real sweet spot in innovation for Jamaica is in the area of telecommunication or as some people put it, Information communication and technology (ICT). Some quarters may have it that, we chat a lot in Jamaica and so voice service is the preferred service sold by the two service providers, and this as oppose to active mobile broadband service for data services.Chatting is a means of educating one’s self, but this is channel of gaining knowledge is sometimes limited to the literacy level (knowledge base) of the chatters’ exchange and may not be as informed as they could otherwise be with valid third party information. Data services is more than just chat, as it provides a stream of data in more forms the one e.g.
  1. video, 
  2. audio and
  3. printed content
The stream of information would, by extension, improve the chatters’ literacy level (knowledge base) thus moving Jamaica’s adult literacy rate from its current 87 to 97 over time or even to 99 where Barbados is currently rated. See International Communication Union annual report - Measuring the Information Society 2013. Pg. 250.

This adult literacy rate gap problem can be fixed in short order if the data services capacity infrastructure is built out and promoted specifically to benefit the connection economy so that new sprout can spring for Jamaica i.e;
  1. Smart phone ownership, (Private Sector - Commercial Activities)
  2. Broadband speed and (Public Sector – Incentive Policies)
  3. Data access points (Public and Private – Wireless Point)
These things coupled with an already developed National Development Plan Vision 2030 can be made available jump starting the innovation for the growth agenda to take off making it easier, faster and cheaper to get to. See Vision 2030;

No success can be had without the vigilant eyes of the Government to ensure these developments are free from corruption and of the highest order of transparency. I want to draw your attention to the Corruption Perception Index and where Jamaica is ranked (83) compared to Barbados (15). See index; Jamaica is not highly rated and need to improve our ranking.

From the Corruption Perception Index you will see that we have a far way to go, but this is not to say that nothing is happening. The establishment of the Major Organized Crime Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) is a step in the right direction. See article;

Productivity and growth are what we desire and a comparison between Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica Republic and Jamaica can’t be a positive comparison. A better comparison certainly would be one between Barbados and Jamaica. Yes, I know some folks would say we can’t compare, but I would say, look to the heavens where you want to go and not to the valleys from which you came from.

What we really need are Growth Based Policies and not an Industry Policy per se, those days of industry as we knew it, has changed. It is no longer the mechanics of an engine in the industrial age, but more so the mechanics of the internet in the digital age as now exists that will move Jamaica forward. Any competitiveness we can achieve must be with the consideration of the digital age through our local service providers providing data service. The connection economy is the new drivers of industry, example Google, Facebook, EBay and Alibaba. General Electric is still profitable, but pale in comparison to the connection economy companies.

Ian Boyne

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Productivity and Growth in Jamaica (Part 1)

Of late I have been taking note of some customer experiences I have been receiving from various enterprises in the private and public sectors. I come to realize that not all customer service delivery is created equally and that some are more equal than some. Let me share my experiences with you. I went to the tax office to purchase an Examiner’s fee, I left the car documents thinking that if I had my driver’s license with my Tax Registration Number (TRN) it should easy for them to access my car information. To my surprise the counter clerk said she needed to see the car papers. Of course, anyone who knows me expects that I am gonna ask why. She simply just responded with “sir, I need to see the documents”, and in the most un-entertaining manner. I lapped my tail and went back to office to fetch them so she could see them. On my way back I started thinking about the experience and I realized the government monopoly on tax collection. That meant whether the counter clerk answered or not, only one place will collect that examiner’s fee. I cannot go anywhere else to do that business. She was not going to ask “how may I help you today?” with a view of stepping outside the system design of the established process, she couldn't care to.

I brought back the documents and she glanced at it and gave it back to me. I paid the fee, she punched in some keys, printer started to run, I got the receipt, and I was out of there. I walked twice back and forth for what could have been a single journey just so that the government of Jamaica could collect the revenue they so badly needed at the first opportunity.

Later that day, I went to the bank to cancel a manager’s check because it had a payee error. When I telephoned the customer service center I was told that I would have to return to the branch I bought the check. I decided I was gonna go to a branch near me to see if it could be done otherwise anyway. I explained the situation to the customer service representative at the bank. She was quite helpful; she was able to reissue a new check and fix the problem without me having to return to the original issuing bank. I paid twice for that check to be reissued and the bank made more revenue from the contact with me and they saved me what could otherwise be a $4000 journey back to the original issuing bank. Can you imagine how happy I was? This felt like a value creation moment.

How do these two stories of my experiences relate?

Tax Office
Process Driven
Revenue Driven
Punitive Base
Incentive Base
Service Focus
Experience Focus
Value Destroyer
Value Creator
Know Employee Reference
Know Your Customer Reference

The tax office employee gets no bonus for revenue collected unless pursuing delinquent tax payers on one hand, but on the other hand, the bank employee gets a bonus from the revenue collected at the end of the year so long as the bank makes a profit. The tax office employee look for the opportunity to make it difficult for you to conduct business with them, and the bank employee makes it seamless to do business.

There is almost no place in the public sector that you can go and get what you need in less than two weeks, and if you want it any sooner you may have to pay a penalty fee for wanting the service any faster. In the private sector immediate service delivery is what is preferred and if you have to wait, the two weeks wait time is regrettably long for both parties.

Simple mindset changes to the public sector functionaries could see meaningful productivity and growth differences in Jamaica. Leveraging the use of technology can easily equalize the public and private sectors and allow for a healthy partnership to move the Jamaica forward.

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