Capital Allocators Monthly - December 2018

January 2, 2019 by Ted Seides

Every year we turn over the calendar and start fresh.  Some years it feels daunting.  This time, maybe not so much!

As always, please feel free to forward this email to friends.

I ordered this list by reading time:  tweets first, books last, and blog posts and articles somewhere in between.

1.  Tweets
Ben Carlson:  “To survive a bear market you have to skate to where the Mike Tyson quote is going.”

My tweet on market opportunities:  “If you took this market move as an opportunity to punch one hole in your card, what’s the best stock to buy now and why?”  One of the responses (Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) is perennially on my watch list. The reminder led to one of my infrequent stock purchases.

Patrick O’Shaughnessy:  “An underrated skill: getting out of a conversation (especially on the phone) once its run its course.”  Read some great responses too.

Harry Stebbings:  “Asked how interviewing makes you a better investor, it teaches you:  1) To listen intently.  2) To ask, direct, pointed questions moving conversation forward.  3) To change your style & tone dependent on guest/founder.”  Harry is a young guy who developed a following on his Twenty Minute VC podcast.

2.  James Stewart on the Yale model
Lots and lots (and lots) of ink gets spilled on the Yale model.  It’s been nearly two decades since David wrote Pioneering Portfolio Management and most of those writing still don’t get it.  Stewart follows a common story that the model has underperformed a simpler portfolio, is complex, and expensive.

That said, he emphasizes two points that we all have to seriously consider, and which were also part of Swensen’s original thesis:  the long-term is really long and few institutions can actually pull this off.  It’s a good read from a noted market skeptic (see Den of Thieves)

3.  Morgan Housel, Drip, Drip, Drip
Everything that Morgan writes is worth a few minutes of time.  I found this one discussing hidden costs in asset management particularly thought provoking.

I tweeted out a reply adding to the list private equity firms selling a business to another private equity firm, mutual fund 12(b)1 marketing fees paid by fund shareholders, and IPOs of closed-end funds where investors immediately pay for costs and buy in at par.

4.  Brent Beshore, The Messy Marketplace: Selling Your Business in a World of Imperfect Buyers
Brent puts on paper an insider’s take on the process of selling a business. It is a wonderful manual and offers a window into the depth of Brent’s understanding of his craft.  True to form, he also learned a bit about the less-than-perfect world of book publishing and created his own imprint as a result, which he comically named Boring Books.

Capital Allocators
1.  Top 10 Episodes of 2018, a brief rundown of the top 10 most downloaded and the top 5 most downloaded conversations with allocators.

2.  Tim McCusker, CIO of giant consultant NEPC, talks about how to approach investment consulting with $1 trillion under advisement.

3.  Brent Beshore, Founder and CEO of, discusses his process for buying small, family owned businesses and his book.

4.  Tom Bushey, Founder and CIO of Sunderland Capital, tells his story of starting a hedge fund from scratch and lessons learned along the way.

Best of the Rest
1.  Bill Belichick on Paul Rabil’s Suiting Up, Paul is the most recognized professional lacrosse player. He has a fantastic podcast on sports and leadership with an All-Star guest list.  Paul’s first episode was with the notoriously short-spoken Patriots coach, and yet this interview offers up far more than any other I’ve heard.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!