About Circle of Competence
Why the name? Well, Warren Buffet is famous for establishing the concept of an investor's circle of competence. He admits that he knows what he knows and sticks to what he knows... but what he knows is constantly expanding. When asked about his investment process, Buffet once famously responded by pointing to a stack of books and papers on his desk and saying, "Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will."
My intention with this site is to curate a set of deep and thoughtful articles weekly that will expand your Circle of Competence and compound your knowledge base. I hope that as an engaged reader you will also send me content that is worthy of sharing. As the biblical proverb says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." I look forward to joining more like-minded intellectuals and investors in their pursuit of personal growth and development.
My name is Benton Moss and I was born and raised in North Carolina. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and studied Economics and Finance at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. For years, I have been an avid reader of the investment greats (Buffett, Munger, Graham, Klarman, Pabrai, Greenblatt, Dalio, Marks, and more) to learn their worldviews, playbooks, and strategies. Since 2015, I have taken an active role by opportunistically investing my own capital in real estate and equities. Early in 2018, I decided to begin sharing what I'm studying in the financial markets, history, philosophy, and technology. I recently retired from a 5 season stint in professional baseball and currently work in the commercial real estate development and investment space (NC license #293256).
Please drop me a line and let's connect!
About my investment philosophy
My general view is that investing is the result of a long process of constantly expanding your circle of competence until an opportunity comes along that 1) fits into your circle of competence so 2) therefore you recognize it as an attractive opportunity and then 3) you act on your conviction. Moreover, I have written down my 6 general principles that I try to stick to when buying stocks, real estate, or any other type of investment:
1. Is the investment well within your CIRCLE OF COMPETENCE?
2. Always look at the DOWNSIDE possibilities first. What is your MAXIMUM LOSS?
3. All investment valuations require some sort of assumption (growth rates, liquidation values, discounted cash flows, etc.). Are you applying them CONSERVATIVELY so as to ensure a MARGIN OF SAFETY?
4. What are management's or your own options to RE-DEPLOY CAPITAL over a long period of time at a satisfactory rate of return, ensuring a growing capital base?
5. Does the business possess a strong ECONOMIC MOAT to weather capitalism's storms (or is the real estate well located and purchased below replacement cost relative to other properties in the market)?
6. Are INCENTIVES aligned for all parties in the investment as best as possible?