Prospector Portfolio Managers John Gillespie, Kevin O’Brien (CFA), Jason Kish (CPA, CFA) and Steve Labbe (CFA) recently conducted a video conference call with Stacy Havener, Founder & CEO of Havener Capital Partners, in which they shared their views on markets, inflation, and their approach to value investing, among other relevant topics.
As part of the discussion, the team discussed some of the outside-the-box approaches they have taken to garner insight about a company, or its strategy. A synopsis of those stories follows:
Kevin O'Brien: For our research on restaurant owners, it’s great to have a match of different aged people on staff. I go to the restaurant and eat all the healthy stuff, and our two 20-something year old guys eat all the stuff that people like me shouldn’t be eating. I also have two kids at home with health issues and restrictive diets. So, I bring home healthy food items, such as gluten-free products, and get their evaluation. The kids will tell you if it’s good or if it’s junk.
For another investment, our team travelled on the weekend to store locations an hour and 45 minutes away from us, and we probably visited upwards of 20 stores, looking at whether the company’s product is on shelves, where it is on the shelf, and what other products are next to it. We also interview people working in a store to get their opinion on a product. For the most part, if you go into the store and spend $20 or $30, they’ll talk your ear off.
We had another instance where I visited 15 different stores in Manhattan and half of them were out of stock of a product that was important to a company we were researching. I met the CEO the next week, and pointed out they had a clear distribution problem. He was a little red in the face but said, ‘you’re right, and that’s a problem we’re working on right now.’
Importantly, we don’t just do on-the-ground research with consumer staples and consumer discretionary companies. While our research on banks involves a lot of high-level interaction with management, we also look at their products and services and sample a lot of what they’re doing. I have way too many bank accounts, and that’s to see what the experience is like.
Interested in hearing more on our approach to value investing or our outlook for markets? Check out the full video call with the portfolio managers titled Value Investing: Is Your Portfolio Ready for the Rotation? Click on the graphic below to get started.