About Us

The past few decades has unleashed on us, a barrage of information. Our insatiable appetite for information sustains a vast media empire. However, the increase in the amount of information hasn’t increased our capability to assimilate, to filter signal from noise, and to derive the right conclusion. But it has done one interesting thing. It has ensured that wherever you look, you would find analysts lurking, regurgitating half-chewed information which they couldn’t themselves digest.

It’s a Monday morning. You find people talking about the greenery, the wind and dew on the grass. You’re feeling romance in the air, but then you get a jolt when you hear floating conversations of how it is going to help Indian fast bowlers. You peek into kitchen to see what’s cooking and you get to hear insightful analysis of the twists and turns in her favorite TV serial. On the business news channels, the technical analysts are talking about the stock that has just breached its 200-day moving average, leaving technologists like me bewildered by this new form of pseudo science.

This heavy dose of shoddy analysis leads to analysis paralysis. I’m not going to add to your confusion because I have neither the intention, nor the qualification to don the title of equity analyst. I’m an Engineer by profession and by mindset. Whatever I know, I can observe, measure, verify, model and implement. Whatever I don’t know, I know that I don’t know. Not impressive enough to get a finance job, but just the right ingredients to become an intelligent investor. So I am.

I have been investing since I was a young 17- year-old undergraduate. In the first few years, I dabbled into margin trading and arbitrage, burnt a hole in my pocket, had no more money to invest in stocks, and invested in books instead. I was lucky to come to know about Warren Buffett, whose ideas set me on the right path. In the years that followed, I not only learned a lot about businesses and investing, but invested based on my ideas… to wonderful results.

In the year 2000, I started India’s first online value investing group – La Warren Buffett – which is still one of the most active and relevant group on investing in India. The group, now 1100 members strong, has been actively writing and discussing on the subject of investing. The group also created a model portfolio based on value investing ideas that has given 53.15% compounded returns for 4.5 years. I also manage a portfolio management scheme for a select clientele.

Few years ago I did a survey on the group asking for suggestions on how to improve the group. The number one suggestion: a newsletter. However, the past few years saw a dramatic reduction in the value investing opportunities, and as a consequence my interest in equities. So the newsletter remained a mere suggestion.

Over the years I thought about it again and again. I created a blog ‘The Stock Valuer’ for a more structured presentation of my thoughts. One day I was reading Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders in which he had thanked FORTUNE magazine’s editor-at-large Carol J. Loomis, for the painstaking work of editing his annual letter. I wondered if I could have someone structure and piece together my highly unorganized writing, it would be amazing.

Murphy’s law acts in reverse, sometimes and if something good has to happen, it happens. Last month, when I discussed all this with my friend Seema, she jumped upon the idea. She is an economics graduate from Delhi university, she has studied law from the same university. She has worked as a journalist for several publications, and has been associated in different capacities with international agencies like UNODC and UNICEF.

She has an important role of taming the wild horses of my thoughts and to ensure that the cart of Unfair Value delivered to you in time and more importantly, to ensure that it is loaded with valuables. Having an academic background in economics and law helps her as she reads, questions, and tracks down the minutest of detail, perspectives that roll out of the unfair value repertoire. But for the potent mix of wit, humor and color she adds to this newsletter, you could have used it as a sleeping pill.

Expecting some badly needed yet undeserved praise, I asked the fair side of Unfair Value, to write something about the venture, she quoted Charlie Munger, “I’ve nothing more to add”.

Unfair!!

8 comments:

Padmanabhan said...

A very good initiative.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Kamlesh,

Thanks for the newsletter. It is very useful to get good incites into your perspective on value investing and good info on what the expert value investors may be doing.

Thanks to Seema for the compiling the letters, they are very lucid and easy to read.

I wish the team great success.

Novi

Raj said...

Hi Seema, I am impressed by your line of thought. Best of luck,

Sonia

Ramanand said...

Hi Kamlesh,

Came to this site via the Feb'09 post on La Warren Buffet. In a few words, the content on this site is like a breath of fresh air amidst the gloomy news all over the world. Feels like walking along the beach on saturday morning after a hectic week at work!

Kudos to Seema for the proofing.

Bye, and Take care!

Vamsi said...

Hi Kamalesh,
I have been following your blog and Lawern buffet group over past 6 months. Really wonderful job!

I have a simple question to you. As you said to me in your intial e-mails you would not make any recommendations to the members of the Lawarrenbuffet group and I found these lines in your blog
"The group also created a model portfolio based on value investing ideas that has given 53.15% compounded returns for 4.5 years"?

Once again great work guys keep going!

Vamsi

Kamlesh Pandey said...

Well, the LWB Special model portfolio was created because i wanted to let the figures speak for themselves. People forget the words but they don't forget the money they earn. In that sense the experiment was successful.

The problem with stock recommendations is that people follow things in part. Years ago, I had a friend who followed my recommendation to buy M&M at split adjusted price of Rs 48. As the stock fell, he grew more and more nervous while I was buying all along. Later he sold the stock at a loss of 50%. I made a gain of 2500% by holding the same stock for next 8 years. After this incident I realized that the investor is an integral part of an investment process. It is not possible to give a investment recommendation without knowing the investor. You can either manage other people's money or let them manage it. There is no middle path. that rules out stock recommendations.

Vamsi said...

Hi Kamalesh,

I Perfectly agree with what you have to say!

Only thing I was expecting after getting good insights by reading you articles was to also get information about good Indian business, to key an eye on them. And buy them when they would deliver unfair returns to me!As an NRI and a starter it would be diificult I hope to get such an information.

If you can also help us by just briefing about business which might be interesting inaddition to your "Businesses I admire" column would be great.

Best Regards,

Vamsi

Sachin Purohit said...

Hey Kamlesh. There are only two financial blogs that I had grown to like. One of them is/was yours. Another one is valueinvestorindia.blogspot.com.

I don't see any recent post on your blog. What happened, man? In the times of insane money, there is a dearth of sane financial articles. Looking forward to some wisdom-bytes from you. Don't stop a noble thing you started.

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