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Circle Of Competence Issue #12

Department of General Finance

How to Acquire Your First Small(er) Company

Wonderful overview of what it takes to purchase a small, privately held operating business. This article talks about the offer process, due diligence process, financing and closing process, and the operating process at a high level. I’d highly recommend this one!

Robert Smith: Richer Than Oprah, Conquering Wall-Street & Tech

Excellent article about Robert Smith, the private equity tech titan and founder of Vista Equity Partners, and the systems he has in place to coach the software companies in his portfolio from acquisition to exit. Highly recommend this article.

Two Berkshire Takeaways & Thoughts On Competitive Markets

John Huber, portfolio manager of Saber Capital and one of my favorite writers about investing, lays out his big takeaways from the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. I enjoyed his honesty about the investment management business and its obsession with short term results.. In my opinion, and clearly John's opinion as well, the biggest advantage an investor can have is long-lasting, steely-eyed, icy-veined patience. Without it, you get sucked into the short-term game everyone else is playing. And that doesn't produce long-term results. As Buffett once famously said, "No one wants to get rich slowly" - meaning most folks simply don't have the patience and resolve to be in this game.

Startups Show Car and Home Insurers They Need to Get Smarter

Shout out to Richard Miller, an up and coming analyst currently working at Morgan Stanley in the Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group (and a great friend of mine) for sending me this piece.

Necessity is the mother of invention - and insurance companies need a leaner cost structure for two reasons: competing more effectively against competitors to gain market share and increase float, and also to achieve better margins on the premiums, since their potential investment returns have dropped due to low interest rate policies. One stat caught my eye immediately: