Must-Read Annual Reports

Warren Buffett’s annual reports are famous. But there are many other value investors whose reports are must-reads. One of those is Martin Whitman:

Savvy value investors shouldn’t stop with Warren Buffett’s letter. Another renowned value investor’s reports are also well worth reading.

Martin Whitman provides his interesting take on value investing every three months in the Third Avenue Value Fund’s (TAVF) quarterly report. Whitman founded the U.S.-based Third Avenue Value Fund and is the author of Value Investing: A Balanced Approach (ISBN: 0471398101), which is one of the more insightful books on value investing.

Martin Whitman’s quarterly reports (from 1995 to 2004) can be found on the Third Avenue Fund’s web site
. Whitman is a deep value investor and often buys distressed debt at deep discounts. For instance, last quarter he started investing in scandal-plagued Parmalat. Whitman said, “Parmalat, a massive fraud, is an Italian-based worldwide company essentially selling dairy products. The fund established a toehold position based on the view that Parmalat seems reorganizable because it is likely that many of its businesses are well entrenched and profitable.” If you think that such situations can’t have a suitable margin of safety, or result in a profit, then you should take a look at the Third Avenue Value Fund’s track record. According to Morningstar.com, the Third Avenue Value Fund beat the S&P500 by over 2% annually during the last ten years and it did so with below-average risk. Mind you, Whitman would likely have more than a few things to say about Morningstar.com’s definition of risk.

In Canada we also have our own value investing guru who writes excellent reports, Irwin A. Michael, manager of ABC funds. He provides monthly commentary, ABC Perspectives, and several other features available through the ABC Funds client page. Not to mention his excellent Value Investigator site.

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