With the silly season upon us now, and the year coming to an end, we have reviewed 2017 – the wins, the losses, and our biggest lessons learned. It’s been a fantastic year for Equity Mates, and big thank you to all that have joined us during the year. We’re going on a short Christmas break and will be back early 2018. In this episode you will learn: • How successful our hypothetical portfolio has been over the year (you might be surprised!) • Why Alec thinks 2017 was a year that disappointed • The biggest investing lessons learned over the past 12 months • How we think our investing styles have changed over the year • What we are looking for in 2018 • What we would say to ourselves 3 years ago Stocks and resources discussed: • 4 stocks that have risen more than 1000% • Buffetology • Essays of Warren Buffet • The Acquirers Multiple • Dreamland
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Bryce: [00:01:25] Equity Mates Equity Mates Episode 27, as always, this is a podcast about breaking down the world of investing to make it easier for you guys here with my equity buddy Ren. How are you? [00:01:39][14.3]
Alec: [00:01:40] I'm very good, Bryce. I am looking forward to this episode. We've got a bit of year in review episode for everyone because we're going on the Christmas break. [00:01:50][10.0]
Bryce: [00:01:51] Absolutely. It's been a great year for us. So we thought we'd break out the year to a bit of a year in review and go through a few things that we've learnt and discovered along the way. It deserves a bit. I'm here with a sparkling. What have you got, Ren? [00:02:04][13.7]
Alec: [00:02:05] I've got a mountain goat pale ale. Yeah, we were discussing before the episode how important best before dates on beers are. [00:02:13][8.5]
Bryce: [00:02:14] Why do you think you're bit out of date? [00:02:16][2.0]
Alec: [00:02:17] Well I am out of date. 20TH of the ten twenty seven times so but two months out of date. But you know I'm a buy and hold kind of man so. [00:02:26][9.7]
Bryce: [00:02:30] All right, well let's start off with what we've learnt this week. Ren do you want to keep this one on? [00:02:34][3.9]
Alec: [00:02:34] Yeah, definitely. This week we saw Frank Lowy sell his shopping centre empire to a French company for thirty two billion dollars. And I reckon that's something that we just need to reflect on for a moment. The story of Frank Lowy, immigrant to Australia, started his first supermarket, grew it into the giant that is Westfield, and has now sold it to another company for thirty two billion dollars, all in one generation. That's a pretty rare story anywhere in the world, but that's a really rare story in Australia. [00:03:06][31.7]
Bryce: [00:03:06] So do you know how much Frank is going to walk away with out of that 32 billion? [00:03:12][5.4]
Alec: [00:03:12] I don't know. I don't know. I, I imagine they're still his family still has the controlling interest in Westfield, so it will be the majority. But look, anyway, way it's it's it is it is like really a great Australian success story. But it got me thinking about mergers and acquisitions more broadly because it's a trend that people probably don't think enough about because, you know, we're very much caught up in the moment about what's happening this year. But what we're seen in the last few years in Australia but across the world is just an explosion in mergers and acquisitions. Twenty fifteen was an unbelievably big year so that mergers and acquisitions are two companies that come together to form one company or that's a merger. And acquisition is where a company buys another company. So this Westfield deal is an acquisition. The French company is buying Westfield, another big one that involves an Australian or a former Australian. Rupert Murdoch is selling. We're looking at selling 20th Century Fox to Disney. And I mean, look, it's it's something that investors should pay attention to, because one way to make a lot of money on a stock is for the company that you own to be acquired by another company. Yeah. So as an investor, you're always looking out for targets of acquisitions. [00:04:30][77.9]
Bryce: [00:04:31] Yeah, I was going to say one of the major reasons that there's been an explosion of mergers and acquisitions is because at the moment the environment is incredibly hard to find significant growth. You have the back of your own business. So one way that businesses look to get growth is just by acquiring or merging with other companies. And then you obviously get to put the revenue of that company on your books. And so in that way, it keeps the shareholders happy. It's sort of Frank Lowy now selling his company for 32 billion. Can't complain about oh oh. Well, this week came across an article in the IFR. So obviously there's been a lot of chatter about Bitcoin lately and the big increases in value capital that it's giving people. This article came out to say that they did a screening of global equities to find any companies that had given similar percentage returns to Bitcoin this year. And there were four stocks that came off excluding Venezuela, because apparently the stocks, they're just going nuts and not raising [00:05:29][57.7]
Alec: [00:05:29] really Venezuela's economy is just a shambles at the moment. [00:05:34][5.2]
Bryce: [00:05:35] Well, apparently, they said they excluded troubled Venezuela. So I'm assuming that excluder, if you're excluding something from the screaming of the highest performing stocks. [00:05:43][8.5]
Alec: [00:05:44] Yeah, yeah. [00:05:44][0.4]
Bryce: [00:05:44] I would assume that it was because they've just shown ridiculous returns. But anyway, so I'm going to go through this very briefly before stocks that have shown massive returns. So the first is one called Pepper Food Service, which is a restaurant chain in Japan known for its steaks and pork cutlets. And it's safe and it's seen in markets well from well up to one point three, two billion dollars from less than one hundred million nine months ago. So it started at six point ninety eight Australian. And so I looked looked all this up. So 698 on this day twelve months ago, and it's now seventeen. So that's a 1000 percent increase and the next another is India's HEG, which he has ridden the boom in graphite electrodes and a central component of electrical furnaces, but turns scrap into steel. Essentially, this time last year, they were one hundred and fifty two point ninety or so, one hundred and fifty to ninety repair, which is three Dollars Australian, and now they are 41. So over a thousand percent return. Then we've got India again. So there are some trends occurring here in India, emerging markets. There's one called India Bulls Ventures, which is a pioneer in online securities trading that's building out its consumer lending business. So there's a lot of technological change in the investing space happening in India at the moment. It's one thousand one hundred and sixty two percent. 12 months ago, it's gone from twenty one rupee to two hundred and forty seven rupee. And last but not least is from China. It's China Investment Fund, which trades in Hong Kong, which had a turnaround story of an investment firm which holds stakes in gold mines and also auto industries, auto companies. And it's going from 11 cents to almost two dollars in 12 months. So that's one thousand two hundred and thirty per cent return roughly. And as a result, it was actually added to the MSCI Global Stock Global Small Cap Index this month. So if you're investing in an index that follows global small caps, you'll be getting exposure to the China Investment Fund. So those are some four stocks. And it's just a good shout out that while all this hot is going around Bitcoin and the crazy returns, you know, there's definitely returns out there in the stock market. So that's what I like this week. [00:08:08][143.7]
Alec: [00:08:09] There you go. That's a good one. So it's a restaurant, graphite miner or manufacturer? Yeah, an online trading platform and a investment fund. Correct. So pretty disparate companies, which I guess just really shows that there is opportunity everywhere. Yeah. You just have to look hard enough. Good, good learning. And maybe the news media should start talking about Japanese restaurants and Indian growth rather than just kind of investing. Maybe we should explain what we're going to do. Yeah. Which is we're going to take a Christmas break because no one wants to think about stocks over the Christmas period. They want to think about spending their money, saving their money. And so we aren't going to fill out your podcast feed. Instead, we're going to keep up, eat some ham and spend our money as well. And we'll be back in January. So in that spirit, we thought that it would be good to just tie a ribbon on the year. That was, in a way. [00:09:16][67.0]
Bryce: [00:09:16] Absolutely. And then we're going to be coming back full force for our one year anniversary, which would be very romantic for you and IRA. [00:09:24][7.8]
Alec: [00:09:24] Yes. What are you going to [00:09:27][2.6]
Bryce: [00:09:27] get out of now for [00:09:28][1.4]
Alec: [00:09:28] the Bitcoin? Yeah, right. [00:09:30][1.8]
Bryce: [00:09:32] Let's go through. You know, as I just said, that's what we meant for the week. But let's let's discuss what we've learnt for the year. And this doesn't particularly have to be from, you know, the papers or anything, but just a very broad summation, brief summation of what's probably been the main thing that you got out of this year, either investing or whatever it is from the gym or other mind. What sort of springs to mind? [00:09:58][26.0]
Alec: [00:09:58] I'm going to label twenty seventeen the year that was. And the reason I'm doing that is because everyone came in to twenty seventeen expecting a lot from the year and really nothing eventuated. And what do I mean by that. So twenty sixteen set up some, we had breaks, we had Trump being elected but not yet sworn in. We had people talking about the market being at record highs. We had people thinking the Australian property market was due to collapse. We had people talking about China's debt bubble and we had then thinking that that was going to drag down the global economy. We had quantitative easing from central banks in Japan, Europe and the US coming closer to an end and people saying that that was going to end soon. And so all all of those things, people thought, this is it. Twenty, seventeen, something's going to happen. Yeah. What did we say? Twenty seven time. [00:11:00][61.7]
Bryce: [00:11:01] North Korea. [00:11:01][0.2]
Alec: [00:11:02] Oh, yeah. Well, even that didn't drop the market. So nothing happened on Australian property. Still expensive. The US market, then it's gone up seven percent. The stock market's gone up six point four percent. Bitcoin, meanwhile, has gone up fifteen hundred percent. [00:11:16][14.2]
Bryce: [00:11:16] But Sydney and Melbourne property market has continued to [00:11:20][3.9]
Alec: [00:11:21] to rise and. For me, my main takeaway from this year has been just ignore the noise and don't try and time the market like I saw most of this year. Well, I still have a certain section of my money just holding in cash because I want to keep my powder dry. And, you know, in 2008, I wasn't I hadn't started investing. And so all of the noise at the end of 2016 and the start of twenty seventeen, I thought this might be an opportunity to get a lot of stocks really cheap. And everyone we interviewed this year sort of thought the market was towards the top. Everything you read about the Australian property market, about the US market, about quantitative easing ending, about the Brexit negotiations, you thought maybe this will trigger it or maybe this will trigger it. North Korea starts firing missiles. Maybe this will trigger it. Trump loses his mind. [00:12:12][50.8]
Bryce: [00:12:13] Maybe just try to take that thought. [00:12:15][1.9]
Alec: [00:12:16] Nothing has triggered it. And I think it shows that, you know, we're definitely not smart enough, but but really, no one's no one really knows. [00:12:24][8.2]
Alec: [00:14:17] So what? What did you learn this year? [00:14:19][2.0]
Bryce: [00:14:20] Similar to that. But mine? I sort of reflected on all the people that we've interviewed. And it's been a great experience getting access to a lot of people that we have spoken to, and they've all had various backgrounds. I think the main takeaway for me, more so for the listeners to sort of reflect on as well, is that there's absolutely no right way to invest. And I don't think that ever will be a wrong way. It's more about what you were saying, sort of just finding what works for you, ignoring the noise. [00:14:45][24.8]
Alec: [00:14:45] I think saying that all of the interviews that we've done has shown me is that, you know, that all of the people we've interviewed have made careers out of investing, that they're all successful in their own way of investing in the market. Yeah, there's no one right answer. You know, a stock that Warren Buffett thinks is a great value stock, Michael. They might not think is that great momentum buy. Yeah. And and one of them will be right and one of them will be wrong. And, you know, if you play that scenario out enough times, there will be a number of instances where one of them's right, a number of instances where the other's right. You know, whatever makes sense to you is the most important thing. Whatever and whatever analysis comes intuitively to you and the logic behind it makes sense. It's the best thing. Yeah. Tell you if it's momentum volume, if it's. Yeah. Did you have a favourite interview this year? [00:15:39][53.2]
Bryce: [00:15:39] It was good to talk to Alan. Just it was just because it's Alan Cole and it's also good to do interviews in person. And he was one of the rare ones that we did speak to us and you and I both in the room. So that was memorable just for the fact that, you know, we've seen him on TV for so long and we got to chat to him and we had some really good things to say. But I would say the interview that I think I got the most out of and the most excited about when we finished was actually the very first interview with Andrew Brown. Yeah, it's [00:16:10][30.8]
Alec: [00:16:10] funny. I was about to say exactly the same line. [00:16:12][2.5]
Bryce: [00:16:13] Yeah. And I don't know what it was, but he he just really spoke in a way that was easy to understand for everybody and. Anyone who hasn't listened to it, I would definitely recommend listening to that two part series and fantastic. He had some really good things to say. [00:16:29][16.4]
Alec: [00:16:30] So I think what started really strongly for us and tailed off towards the end of the year, but that is the hypothetical portfolio that we were running. Well, it's still running. We're not really talking about it as much. [00:16:46][16.0]
Bryce: [00:16:47] So this was pretty much half the reason that we started this podcast, because we wanted to put our theories into practise with a bit of hypothetical money and start a bit of a fund. And so we we got off to a good start with picking a stock of the week every time we did that. And it's been ticking along nicely in the background. And I think the results speak for themselves. Total gain for our year to date, which we've picked six well, there's six stocks in the fund and we are up twenty point zero six percent [00:17:20][33.5]
Alec: [00:17:21] to give it to give a good basis of comparison. The ASX 200 to the 200 biggest companies in Australia have risen six point four percent this year. So our portfolio has beaten the ASX 200 by 14 percent. Now, obviously, that's more luck than skill. But if we can get lucky, anyone can get lucky. Let's return some of that. [00:17:44][23.3]
Bryce: [00:17:45] Let's make it very brief. Well, I [00:17:46][1.4]
Alec: [00:17:46] guess I guess the headline is Afterpay. Yeah. [00:17:49][3.1]
Bryce: [00:17:50] Afterpay touch group. Yeah. [00:17:52][1.5]
Alec: [00:17:52] So who we bought to Dollars fifty five and then now trading at five point twenty. Yeah. So they've more than doubled in price. [00:18:00][7.9]
Bryce: [00:18:00] It's a payment system where you can buy through retailers online and now in-store without having to pay full price. You can essentially choose to repay the amount of your purchase over two, four, six weeks roughly. And just to deduct the payment from your bank account, interest free [00:18:18][18.0]
Alec: [00:18:19] return, some of the other ones. So that's gone up over one hundred percent. And that's been the biggest driver for us. Another one that's been good for us is PM Capital Global Opportunities Fund. Yeah. And literally all we've done in that case is giving out money to Paul Moore. And his investing firm said, we back you in, let's say what you can do. And he's given us over twenty five percent return. So thanks, Paul, appreciate that. We owe you a beer. But but look, I reckon the biggest thing to take away from this is that you don't have to hit on every winner. No, not yet. Every stock doesn't have to be a winner. We invested in Australian Agricultural Company, a Australian beef producer. Yeah, we've lost about twenty five percent since we bought them. Yeah. Another one we purchased was a an ETF that is negatively correlated to the market. So when the market goes up, it goes down and vice versa. And that's gone down seven percent. [00:19:17][57.8]
Bryce: [00:19:17] Naturally we would expect that return. [00:19:19][1.4]
Alec: [00:19:19] Yeah. Because the market's [00:19:20][0.9]
Bryce: [00:19:21] calm. Yeah. [00:19:21][0.4]
Alec: [00:19:22] But even with those two so much like Australian agricultural down about twenty five, the ETF down about seven, you know, overall we still done pretty well. So the point of it is to show the value of just being in the market, not to show the value of following us. Yeah. So I think that's the thing that we have to make clear because who knows, next year we might pick a lot of Australian agricultural company. [00:19:48][25.8]
Bryce: [00:19:48] But I think what we'll do is we'll put a screenshot up of this or we'll put it up on our website and blog so that people can see just exactly what we've done. The whole idea of when we started this was to sign ourselves up to a bit of a journey and see how we have progressed. And if we do progress, there's anything that we can learn. So I'm interested to know if your personal investing style and philosophy has drastically changed since we started the podcast or if it has changed slightly, or what sort of principles are employing at the moment in your own personal investing? [00:20:19][30.5]
Alec: [00:20:20] Yeah, I guess the big one for me is when we started this journey, I thought you had to understand a style of investing and you had to only follow that style of investing. What I've realised now is that and what I'm doing now is when there's no other companies that I think are a particularly good buy at that price or when there's nothing that particularly takes my fancy, I'm not staying out of the market, but on just putting it into ETFs or other passive funds or putting it into listed investment companies and betting on different money managers or different investors that I think are quite good at their job. And I'm only picking individual stocks when I think there's a good stock to pick. I'm not letting the cash burn a hole in my pocket and forcing the pigs onto my portfolio, if that makes sense. And that [00:21:13][53.3]
Bryce: [00:21:13] is exactly the same as me, which is really interesting [00:21:16][2.8]
Alec: [00:21:18] that we didn't plan this for [00:21:19][1.3]
Bryce: [00:21:20] no budget. And that's. That's interesting, I've I've my first thing that I've got sort of written in front of me is that I consider the balance of my portfolio across varying degrees of investment styles. And that's exactly exactly what I mean in terms of the way you just explained it. I don't have a bunch of cash just sitting there waiting to be put into individual stocks. I have it in the market predominantly in passive investment options. And, you know, it's been a good year relatively for index returns. One of the things that I started doing this year was I went into a retail fund with Vanguard and that does have a minimum buy in. But the advantage that I liked about it was that it has a bepaid function where you can be paid a minimum of one hundred dollars into it and so you can essentially drip feed into it. And that really gives you great dollar cost averaging, which for those of you who are unsure of what that means, it's in one of our previous podcasts. But it means that you're buying at highs and lows and so you're averaging that essentially the price at which you buy, minimising your risks. So, yeah, I'm the same as you, Ren. I've got my portfolio sort of split a bit differently now. I've got money that I play with more speculative stocks and the likes of Bitcoin. But yeah, I'm in the market and you're right. There's not I'm not there's not one particular style of investing that needs to be nailed. [00:22:47][87.4]
Alec: [00:22:48] I mean, it's a learning process and it will get there eventually. [00:22:51][3.5]
Bryce: [00:22:52] I guess my question then to you is, and this is something that I was going to ask later on, but I'll probably throw it in now. So given the fact that it sounds like both of us are fairly invested, what is your strategy going into 2018? How liquid are you planning on becoming or are you just going to see that sit in there and wait until something happens or what? [00:23:14][21.3]
Alec: [00:23:14] So, yeah. So I I'm not fully invested at the moment, as I said earlier. Then I held a bunch of cash thinking that twenty seventeen might be a year, that something happens. OK, so I still have a bunch of cash that you know, I guess I just haven't had the heart to put in the market yet in terms of what I think is going to come in twenty eighteen. I don't know if there's a lot of value in trying to pick. You know, is the Australian property market going to collapse or is Donald Trump going to do something that that makes good investing opportunities? I think what I'm going to do is more longer term. Look at will. You know, life was economic growth coming from these days, China, India, Western Europe. What are the opportunities there? [00:24:03][48.6]
Bryce: [00:24:03] I'm very well on along the same lines. I'm also very interested in the emerging markets side of things at the moment. There are some great ETFs out there that give you a great access. So yeah, I think I'm very much the same going into twenty eighteen. Hopefully there's some exciting things that we can discuss, [00:24:21][17.7]
Alec: [00:24:23] say I'm sure, I'm sure there will be something. [00:24:26][2.7]
Bryce: [00:24:27] We always finish our interviews with the final three, but I think we've got a few finals. Final questions here. If there's anything else you want to bring up, Ren now's the chance. Otherwise I think to go up now to wrap up. [00:24:41][13.7]
Alec: [00:24:42] Let's wrap it up with some final questions. [00:24:43][1.5]
Bryce: [00:24:44] Beautiful or I'll start with you. And I know you're an avid reader on your Kindle. [00:24:48][4.1]
Alec: [00:24:49] Yeah, I love my Kindle. [00:24:50][0.9]
Bryce: [00:24:50] So what's been your book recommendation for the investing or otherwise? [00:24:54][3.9]
Alec: [00:24:55] OK, well, I mean, there's a few, uh, Tobias Carlaw with someone we interviewed and he wrote a book requires multiple if you want to understand value investing. Eira And that is a must write. You can write it in a day. And it explains some of the basic concepts and gives some really interesting stories about some of the best known value investors that that would be a big one in terms of investing. Another big one for me that I read this year was it's called Buffett ology, and it's by Warren Buffett's daughter in law, Mary Buffett. I think that is probably the best articulation of his method that I've read. So that's a really good one. And then one on investing, one book that I thought was really good this year. It's about the American opiate epidemic. So not exactly an easy topic, but I thought it was a fantastic book. It's called Dreamland by Sam Quinones. Apologies if I'm mispronouncing that last night. Yeah, yeah. We got a fascinating story about all the different things that went into making the opiate crisis what it is today. What about you? Any books to recommend? [00:26:09][73.9]
Bryce: [00:26:10] I'll start with a non story, a fiction book. And I read the Millennium Trilogy this year, which I hadn't read, which was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and those three books, which I. Not that great, I love that sort of crime fiction sort of stuff, so, yeah, well worth the. You'd be out of power through it. It's page turning stuff. So get around that in terms of investing books off the back of your Bufford ology. That's actually on my summer reading list. I bought it most recently, so it's sitting on my bedside table ready to go. But I read the essays of Warren Buffett right at the start of the year and that is a great insight into everything. Warren Buffett, his style of investing, looks at a lot of the letters that he sends to his annual general meeting and all of his investors, which are now world renowned. So I enjoyed that one and a book that I would recommend. I'm not sure that you would get around this one, Ren, because you have a thing against Tim Ferriss. But I bought a book that is very easy to pick up and skim through and always get something out of that you can take away or at least think about this one, as I said by Tim Ferriss quote, Tools of Totten's. And it goes through many, many, many people that he has interviewed on his blog, people that are the best in their field, ranging from chess all the way through to my talk window and investing and business and all that sort of stuff, interviews the best. And then he's collected all of that into a book with some actionable insights. And so it's one of you don't have to read all at once. It's many, many pages. But it's really good to pick out how to skim and at least have to think about some of the things that these people talk about. Let's wrap up with one question that we ask our guests on the show, and that is, what would you tell your young self? So obviously, we are not anywhere near the eyes of some of our guests. So what would you have told yourself three years ago? [00:28:08][118.0]
Alec: [00:28:09] Yeah, I mean, the obvious answer is to buy Bitcoin or buy Japanese restaurants or Indian graphite. Really, after what you told us earlier, maybe just just read more like Hourihan. Ironically enough, at uni, I read less than I do now and I've got a lot of catching up to do. So you just read early read off and I guess [00:28:31][22.7]
Bryce: [00:28:32] I guess I think I would say to myself is try and leave the emotion out of it a bit more than I have been recently. I think I let my emotions dictate some of my stocks more than I should. Yeah, especially with the likes of, say, Bellamy's. And that was the classic, you know, you just said don't sell at the bottom. And I sold at the bottom and now they're back up to where they were, if not higher. So big regrets on that. And I'll tell myself later the emotion out of it. You know, stocks will always, in most cases, come back. So just you. Well, look, [00:29:07][35.1]
Alec: [00:29:08] if you're still listening at this point, thank you for sticking with us for our first year. Yeah. Over the break, we're still going to be pumping out some content on social media. So make sure you follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we will be sending out the starters email every Monday. Keep your eyes peeled for that. [00:29:27][19.3]
Bryce: [00:29:28] I would also suggest getting around our competition that is generously sponsored by Belmont Securities. We are offering the chance for you to win five hundred dollars to start your investing journey. It may not seem like a lot, but it can turn into a lot. That's the main message that we're getting. Get around the competition. We're getting very close to the finality of it and you can get it. All you have to do is put in your email address, your name, age, and it's that easy. W w Equity Mates dot com forward slash win five hundred. You'll find it through our Web site or on our Facebook or Twitter feeds. You don't have anything to lose by doing so, but you have a lot to gain. So definitely get involved. And I guess yeah. As Ren said, I'll just echo his statements. Some say a massive thank you to everyone who has been listening so far. We've had some great feedback from a lot of you, and it's been a really enjoyable year for us. And we will endeavour to continue this journey into next year with some new and exciting things. So we are going to take a while and then Christmas break of roughly four weeks. Yeah. Merry Christmas to you all [00:30:36][68.5]
Alec: [00:30:37] and happy New Year. [00:30:37][0.7]
Bryce: [00:30:38] Happy New Year, Equity Mates. [00:30:39][1.6]
Speaker 5: [00:30:39] And the people appearing in this programme may have positions in the companies mentioned. This is general advice for me. Please speak to a financial professional to understand how they pertain to your individual situation. [00:30:39][0.0]