Value Investing: Tools and Techniques for Intelligent Investment (Anglais) Relié – 23 octobre 2009
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Présentation de l'éditeur
Seth Klarman, President, The Baupost Group LLC
The seductive elegance of classical finance theory is powerful, yet value investing requires that we reject both the precepts of modern portfolio theory (MPT) and pretty much all of its tools and techniques.
In this important new book, the highly respected and controversial value investor and behavioural analyst, James Montier explains how value investing is the only tried and tested method of delivering sustainable long–term returns.
James shows you why everything you learnt at business school is wrong; how to think properly about valuation and risk; how to avoid the dangers of growth investing; how to be a contrarian; how to short stocks; how to avoid value traps; how to hedge ignorance using cheap insurance. Crucially he also gives real time examples of the principles outlined in the context of the 2008/09 financial crisis.
In this book James shares his tried and tested techniques and provides the latest and most cutting edge tools you will need to deploy the value approach successfully.
It provides you with the tools to start thinking in a different fashion about the way in which you invest, introducing the ways of over–riding the emotional distractions that will bedevil the pursuit of a value approach and ultimately think and act differently from the herd.
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La majeure partie du bouquin est constitué des articles "Mind Matters" que Montier publiait chaque semaine lorsqu'il était à la Société Générale. Ces articles ont tous étaient publiés entre fin 2007 et mai-juin 2009, en pleine crise.
C'est absolument génial pour non seulement apprendre des techniques simples et efficaces de sélection d'investissement mais en plus pour avoir un retour à chaud sur la pire crise financière depuis 1929 par un des meilleurs stratégistes de la planète.
Montier consacre également quelques chapitres à détailler les biais psychologiques qui nuisent à l'investisseur et l'empêchent de prendre toujours de bonnes décisions. Et surtout il nous donne des outils pour s'affranchir de ces biais.
Bref c'est un concentré de bonnes idées, de bon sens et c'est assez abordable pour les personnes n'ayant pas de formation financière avancée. (je déconseille à ceux qui n'ont pas au moins 2-3 ans d'expériences de la bourse et de l'analyse boursière/ financière).
Une bonne maîtrise de l'anglais est aussi nécessaire pour bien tout comprendre.
Dommage que le prix soit récemment passé à 30 €, c'est assez cher mais ce livre est un futur classique à mon avis. Je recommande très chaudement.
PS : pour les plus économe, attendez la réédition en couverture papier, ce sera moins cher et vous aurez surement des mises à jour.
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Value Investing: Tools and Techniques for Intelligent Investment is a compendium of the author's pieces and speeches while he was chief strategist at Societe Generale (he is presently at Grantham Mayo according to the dust jacket). For those fortunate enough to have all the author's pieces from his SG days, this book may not be worth purchasing. For those of us who are not so fortunate, this book has more kernels of wisdom on value investing than any book I have read in years.
A quick synopsis:
Montier debunks much of the academic literature on efficient markets and CAPM. He takes much of the issues Buffett has with modern finance theory and goes into further detail. Unlike many books on value investing which often give a mystical air to the subject of value investing, he backs up many of his assertions with a plethora of data and studies . . . and he doesn't mince words: Chapter Two is entitled CAPM is Cr-p*. Along the way, he provides value investing's definition of risk which is very different from how "modern finance" defines risk, but it is a definition of risk that investors post-2008 can readily identify with. His chapter on the Danger of Discounted Cash Flows echoes the work of Rappaport and Maboussin but does it succinctly in a scant 9 pages
This section delves into the area of Behavioral Finance, which I gather has been the topic of his previous three books. The last chapter in this section addresses why value investing is so hard for many investors to implement and hence its continuing source of advantage for those who can overcome the psychological hurdles.
This section covers the philosophy of value investing. His "Ten Tenets of his Investment Creed" should be taped as a list to every value investor's computer screen.
This section focuses on empirical evidence from overseas and applies an old formula from Benjamin Graham's playbook to global markets.
This section is unique among books on value investing in my opinion. It is devoted to short-selling. He provides a methodology and framework to finding short-sale candidates and empirical data on how well the methodology has worked over the years.
This section entitled Real-time Value Investing contains articles from the 2008 and 2009 period. Unlike economists and many market strategists who hedge their calls sufficiently so that it is difficult to prove whether they are right or wrong, Montier is intellectually honest enough to put his thoughts during the recent financial crisis out in the open. Time will eventually tell if he was mostly right or wrong, but you have to admire his willingness to show where he stands.
I own over 500 books on investing. After you've read the first hundred or so, I think it is easy to become jaded and think nothing new has been written in years. Montier's book proves me wrong. His book is an incredible "food for thought" for the thoughtful investor.
Personally though, I was dissapointed. The first section spells out, in laborious detail, that the markets are not always rational. I'm sure there are a few academics around who disagree, but not many. Other writers made the same points long ago, and I seriously doubt that anyone who would buy a book with "value investing" in the title takes the idea seriously.
The second section is on behavioral economics. He goes over the same fifty or so experiments that every book on the subject seems to cover, and offers no new insights.
The third and fourth sections lay out what he thinks value investing is all about. He's more along the lines of Ben Graham than Warren Buffett, and has little or nothing in common with Marty Whitman, who also wrote a book with the title "Value Investing." (Whitman's book is poorly written, and a much less pleasant read, but ultimately far more insightful and valuable.) Montier is fond of developing numerical models, then back-testing them to see how they would have done over the last 30 years or more. His approach strikes me as a bit naïve. He rails against those who put too much faith in mathematical models based on past performance, then spends a lot of time discussing mathematical models based on past performance. Value investing, as I understand it, is figuring out much something is worth and buying it if you can get away with paying substantially less. Montier pays lip service to this idea, but that isn't really what he advocates in a lot of the book.
The fifth section covers short selling. I found this to be the best section of the book. In brief, he explores the idea that a value investor, when unable to find much that's cheap enough to buy, might want to sell short the most expensive stocks. There's a bit more to it than that, including the basics of looking for problems on the balance sheet, problem CEOs, etc. I wasn't entirely convinced that the risks of shorting the high-flyers are worth the possible gains, but he did provide food for thought. I'll probably read this section again.
The final section is largely a collection of thoughts on what to do when the market crashed in 2008-9. In a word, buy. Frankly, if you're a value investor, you didn't have to be told. A few other topics were covered, but I didn't find anything useful or insightful.
I should also note, as other reviewers have, that the book is repetitive in the extreme. This is largely a collection of articles, with no real effort made to put them together in a cohesive way. In fact, you can probably track down a lot of it on the internet. You'll sometimes find the same sentence, or even an entire paragraph repeated verbatim three, four, or even more times. Several times I thought I might have misplaced my bookmark, but the problem was with the book, not with me. Bruce Greenwald, who wrote the Foreward, views this as an advantage. He's wrong. I should also point out that Montier, though sometimes insightful, at other times just doesn't make sense. For example, he spills quite a bit of ink telling the reader not to forecast. He doesn't admit it, but a lot of his methods (strictly speaking, all of his methods) involve forecasting. I think he's trying to distinguish some sorts of forecasts from others, but he doesn't make this clear, and certainly doesn't offer any convincing argument for this view. Oh, and there are precious few of the "Tools and Techniques" referred to in the subtitle.
A great quote from the book comes from Third Avenue Management who said "DCF is like the Hubble telescope, if you move it an inch you end up studying a different galaxy". There were hundreds of similar quotes from Templeton to Buffet to Newton (who failed as an investor incidentally). While the quotes were interesting they were not well integrated into the text and came off as somewhat gratuitous.
Unfortunately, the supposed backbone of the book, "Value Investing: Tools and Techniques" is where the book really fails - it just isn't a blueprint for making successful value investments (in the way Graham's Intelligent Investor is).
That said, readers less familiar with value investing may appreciate the simplified approach and general advice.
My advice: rather purchase the equivalent works of Greenwald, Dremen, Klarman or Graham and if you are interested in Montier, read his other book "Bulls-eye Investing".
One frustrating aspect of this book is that is a compilation of research reports Montier wrote across 2007-09 as a strategist at the French investment bank, Soc Gen; so, it lacks a coherent narrative thrust, and is at times maddeningly repetitive. Also, Montier has a middle school girl's infatuation for the exclamation point! Everything seems worth highlighting! It is exclamatory inflation at its most egregious! Minor frustrations, though, over what is an otherwise insightful and noteworthy book. A nit with the editor more than anybody.
Worth your time, is the way that Montier provides empirical, convincing, and simple evidence for why understanding value investing principles is important for any investor (as opposed to speculator) to understand. Montier, I think successfully, debunks a number of popular investment theories that drive so many investment decisions: CAPM pricing techniques and notions of "beta" and "alpha", market forecasting, growth stock investing, and other common practices of many (retail and institutional) investors. Montier also, like Thaler and others before him, points out how we are all victims of our own biases and of the decision traps our brain architecture always wants to throw us into. To fight these tendencies, a read of this book may help.