The Memo by Howard Marks
About The Memo by Howard Marks
On October 12, 1990, Oaktree Co-Chairman Howard Marks published his first memo to clients. In the decades since, he has periodically released memos reflecting his viewpoint on the investment landscape, as well as more general business insights. On this podcast we'll hear the latest memos by Howard, released in tandem with or shortly after their publication.
Howard looks back on several memos he’s written near major turning points in the market over the last few decades, from the bursting of the dot-com bubble to the pandemic-driven crisis in early 2020. He considers what an investor should – and shouldn’t – focus on when making a market call.
Howard is joined by Bruce Flatt, CEO of Brookfield, for a discussion of Ditto, which was originally published on January 7, 2013. They examine the distinction between price and value and consider how investors might gain a competitive advantage today. This episode was recorded in November 2022. The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his most recent memo, Sea Change. He explains why the shift we may currently be experiencing could force investors to rethink the meaning of "normal." You can listen to Sea Change in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/sea-change).
In his latest memo, Howard Marks writes that the investment world may be experiencing the third major sea change over the last 50 years. Events in recent years – especially the spike in inflation and the Federal Reserve’s response – appear to have caused a reversal of the market conditions that prevailed during the post-GFC (Global Financial Crisis) period and for much of the last four decades. Howard discusses what this potentially new era could mean for lenders, especially bargain hunters. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/sea-change).
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his most recent memo, What Really Matters?, and looks back on a year of memo-writing. He considers the themes that have dominated his thinking in 2022 and highlights his key messages for investors, including one they may not want to hear. You can listen to What Really Matters? in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/what-really-matters).
In his latest memo, Howard Marks weaves together some of the themes he’s explored in 2022 to explain what he believes really matters in investing and what doesn’t. He discusses the disadvantages of short-term thinking, the difference between volatility and risk, and the one word he believes defines the essence of investment excellence. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here ( ).
Howard reflects on memos related to the Global Financial Crisis with Bob O’Leary, Co-Portfolio Manager of Oaktree’s Global Opportunities strategy. They share their most striking memories from the years leading up to and during the crisis. They also discuss today’s market environment and consider whether investors have forgotten many of the lessons they should have learned during this tumultuous period.
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses key themes from his recent memo, The Illusion of Knowledge. He explains why creating helpful macro forecasts is so challenging and why “thinking about macro” and forecasting aren’t the same thing. You can listen to The Illusion of Knowledge in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/the-illusion-of-knowledge).
Howard Marks has long questioned the value of macro forecasts, but in his latest memo, he explains why creating profitable forecasts is so difficult. He discusses the incredible complexity involved in modeling an economy and makes it clear that forecasting mostly provides the illusion of knowledge. He argues that investors are better off accepting reality — that the macro future is largely unknowable — and focusing on what they can know. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/the-illusion-of-knowledge).
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his recent memo, I Beg to Differ. He explains why investors seeking to outperform need to think differently, be exceptional, and be prepared to look wrong – even when they’re right. You can listen to I Beg To Differ in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/i-beg-to-differ).
Howard Marks’s latest memo argues that investors seeking superior performance must have the courage to depart from the pack, even though doing so means accepting the risk of being wrong. Thinking differently and better than others is key to outperformance, he explains, because in investing, it’s not enough to be right. You have to be more right than most. This means being able to tell when the investment crowd is focused on all the wrong things. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://cnt.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/i-beg-to-differ.pdf?sfvrsn=7d814866_9)
Howard reflects on this memo, originally published on January 11, 2021, with his son Andrew Marks. They discuss why open-mindedness – at all ages – is key when investing in a rapidly changing world. Andrew is the co-managing partner of TQ Ventures, a technology-focused venture capital firm founded four years ago that has over 80 portfolio companies. You can read “Something of Value” here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/something-of-value.pdf). The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his recent memo, Bull Market Rhymes. Howard explains why investing keeps getting harder and why looking to the past can potentially help investors better analyze the innovations that may – or may not – shape the future. You can listen to Bull Market Rhymes in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/bull-market-rhymes).
Howard Marks’s latest memo explores recurring investment themes to contextualize the current market correction and the bull market that preceded it. He discusses the role played by financial innovations like SPACs and cryptocurrencies and why he believes psychology, not fundamentals, primarily drives investment cycles – and likely always will. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/bull-market-rhymes.pdf?sfvrsn=df8b4b66_9).
Howard reflects on this memo (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/lines-in-the-sand.pdf) originally published on April 18, 2017. Following up on his classic memo You Can’t Eat IRR (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2006-07-12-you-cant-eat-irr.pdf), he discusses why financial innovations that can artificially boost IRRs, like subscription lines, should be treated cautiously and why no single performance metric tells the whole story. The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses the origins and important themes of his recent memo, The Pendulum in International Affairs. Howard explains why one of his favorite metaphors – the pendulum – can help investors understand psychology, markets and foreign policy. You can listen to The Pendulum in International Affairs in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/the-pendulum-in-intl-affairs.pdf?sfvrsn=53b17666_7).
Howard Marks’s latest memo connects two seemingly unrelated trends – Europe’s energy dependence and U.S. offshoring – to explain why the pendulum of companies’ and countries’ behavior may be swinging away from globalization and toward onshoring. This shift will likely create risk for investors but also opportunities. The memo is read by LJ Ganser. You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/the-pendulum-in-intl-affairs.pdf).
Howard reflects on this memo originally published on June 20, 2012. He discusses why understanding mistakes – both your own and others’ – is key to superior investing. He’s joined by Bob O’Leary, Global Co-Portfolio Manager of Oaktree’s Global Opportunities strategy. You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2012-06-20-its-all-a-big-mistake.pdf?sfvrsn=17bb0f65_2). The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
Listen to the first episode of our new series Behind the Memo, in which Howard breaks down his latest memo, discussing its origins, themes and key insights. In Selling Out, published on January 13, 2022, Howard explains why staying invested is usually the most important thing. You can listen to Selling Out in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/selling-out).
Howard Marks’s latest memo considers one of investing’s most fundamental questions: when to sell. Howard explains that it’s foolish to sell because prices are up and because they’re down – and why, most of the time, staying invested is ultimately “the most important thing.” You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/selling-out). The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
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