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The Memo by Howard Marks

The Memo by Howard Marks

By Oaktree Capital Management

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.

Episodes

Behind The Memo: Fewer Losers, or More Winners?

In the latest episode of Behind the Memo, Howard discusses his recent memo: Fewer Losers, or More Winners?  He details the inspiration for the memo and explains why investors – like tennis players – need to consider their skill level, aspirations, and risk tolerance when asking themselves a fundamental question: Should I go for more winners, or try to avoid the losers?You can listen to Fewer Losers, or More Winners? in the prior episode or read it here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/fewer-losers-or-more-winners).
20/09/23·30m 41s

Fewer Losers, or More Winners?

In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses the essential choice in both investing and sports: should you go for more winners or try to eliminate losers? That is, should you emphasize aggressiveness or defensiveness? This is a key decision that every investor has to make thoughtfully, and the answer can be different for each person.  The memo is read by LJ Ganser.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/fewer-losers-or-more-winners).
12/09/23·35m 44s

The Insight: Conversations – European Credit at a Turning Point

Learn about the current state of European credit and the dramatic changes seen over the last year in this thought-provoking discussion with Armen Panossian (Head of Performing Credit), Madelaine Jones (Portfolio Manager, European Senior Loans and European High Yield Bonds), and Nael Khatoun (Head of European Private Debt).  They consider the challenges created by the end of the easy money era, risks posed by geopolitics and artificial intelligence, and the quality advantage that exists in European markets.
08/09/23·42m 25s

The Insight: Conversations – Fighting the Fed with Armen Panossian, Danielle Poli, and Megan Messina

Armen Panossian (Head of Performing Credit), Danielle Poli (Assistant Portfolio Manager, Global Credit), and Megan Messina (Head of CLO Capital Markets) discuss topics from the 2Q2023 Performing Credit Quarterly.  They consider the current tug-of war between fiscal and monetary policy, opportunities in credit, and what many investors are getting wrong about today’s CLO market.
08/08/23·34m 18s

Taking The Temperature

In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses five market calls he’s made during his career. He argues that investors seeking to take the temperature of the market should focus on understanding prevailing market psychology and the nature of cycles. Just as importantly, they should learn to control their own emotions and have the humility to know when not to make a call.The memo is read by LJ Ganser.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/taking-the-temperature.pdf?sfvrsn=93bb5366_6).
10/07/23·49m 19s

The Insight: Conversations – This Time Might Be Different with Howard Marks and David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg, co-portfolio manager of Oaktree’s U.S. and Global High Yield strategies, and Howard Marks discuss topics from the June 2023 edition of The Roundup. They consider the evolution of the high yield bond market, investor optimism and why this time might actually be different in financial markets.
27/06/23·33m 37s

The Insight: Conversations – Cutting Through the Economic Noise with Wayne Dahl

Oaktree Investment Risk Officer Wayne Dahl explains why economic statistics can tell conflicting stories and what this means for credit investors trying to make sense of today’s noisy data.
25/05/23·35m 27s

The Insight: Conversations – Performing Credit Quarterly 1Q2023

In the first episode of Oaktree’s new podcast, Armen Panossian (Head of Performing Credit) and Howard Marks (Co-Chairman) discuss key takeaways from the 1Q2023 Performing Credit Quarterly, including the potential ramifications of the recent banking turmoil, opportunities in private credit and a possible rise in distress. As part of the discussion, they explore Howard’s memo Lessons from Silicon Valley Bank.
20/04/23·35m 37s

Lessons from Silicon Valley Bank

In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses the significance of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. He argues that it likely doesn’t portend a wave of banking failures but may amplify preexisting wariness among investors and lenders, leading to further credit tightening and additional pain across a range of industries and sectors.The memo is read by LJ Ganser.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/memo/lessons-from-silicon-valley-bank).
17/04/23·44m 45s

The Rewind: Calling The Market

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.
07/03/23·39m 56s

The Rewind: Ditto

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.
02/02/23·1h 11m

Behind The Memo: Sea Change

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).
05/01/23·20m 6s

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).
13/12/22·36m 40s

Behind The Memo: What Really Matters?

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).
06/12/22·23m 10s

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 ( ).
22/11/22·53m 28s

The Rewind: Global Financial Crisis

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.
13/10/22·35m 14s

Behind The Memo: The Illusion of Knowledge

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).
13/09/22·23m 26s

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).
08/09/22·53m 25s

Behind The Memo: I Beg To Differ

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).
04/08/22·24m 5s

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)
26/07/22·47m 38s

The Rewind: Something of Value

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.
16/06/22·1h 25m

Behind The Memo: Bull Market Rhymes

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).
02/06/22·16m 31s

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).
26/05/22·44m 24s

The Rewind: Lines in the Sand

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.
28/04/22·44m 33s

Behind The Memo: The Pendulum in International Affairs

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).
31/03/22·21m 17s

The Pendulum in International Affairs

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).
23/03/22·29m 29s

The Rewind: It’s All a Big Mistake

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.
24/02/22·53m 32s

Introducing "Behind The Memo": Selling Out

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).
21/01/22·32m 25s

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.
13/01/22·35m 56s

The Rewind: Uncertainty

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on May 11, 2020.  Writing near the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, he discusses the power of saying “I don’t know” and the danger of confirmation bias.  Drawing on the insights of thinkers from Voltaire to Albert Einstein, Howard explains why he believes having intellectual humility is essential for outstanding investing.   You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/uncertainty.pdf).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
20/12/21·1h 1m

The Winds of Change

The last 20 months have taught us to question everything. What is the future of work? Can American democracy survive? Will Baby Boomers keep consuming more than their fair share? And what comes after “trillion”? Howard Marks’s latest memo examines paradigm shifts that could reshape the economy, markets and the world for many years to come. (November 23, 2021)You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/thewindsofchange.pdf)The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
30/11/21·1h 2m

The Rewind: What Does The Market Know?

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on January 19, 2016. In the second episode of a two-part series, he discusses the problems with taking advice from the market. But he also draws on insights from his latest memo, Thinking About Macro, to consider what it means when the market does get it right.
07/10/21·52m 22s

The Rewind: On The Couch

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on January 14, 2016. In the first of a two-part series, he analyzes investors’ irrationality and discusses why things that are obvious in investing are usually wrong.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/on-the-couch.pdf).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
30/09/21·1h 13m

The Rewind: Us and Them

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on May 7, 2004. In a discussion that namechecks both psychologist Amos Tversky and tennis great Pete Sampras, Howard explains why too much confidence can be a dangerous thing.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2004-05-07-us-and-them.pdf).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
26/08/21·43m 26s

Thinking About Macro

Howard Marks doesn’t make bets on economic predictions. That’s especially true now when the biggest wildcard is inflation – a phenomenon no one fully understands. But just because something is unknowable doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. That’s why Howard has devoted his latest memo to a topic he largely disavows: macro forecasting. (July 29, 2021)You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/thinkingaboutmacro.pdf).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
30/07/21·50m 57s

The Rewind: It Is What It Is

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on March 27, 2006. In this wide-ranging discussion, he weaves together the Japanese concept of mujo, probability theory and the Super Bowl to suggest investors should spend less time looking for silver bullets and more time cultivating humility.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2006-03-27-it-is-what-it-is.pdf?sfvrsn=87bc0f65_2).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
24/06/21·43m 31s

The Rewind: Dare to Be Great II

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on April 8, 2014. In the second episode of a two-part series, he asks whether investors are willing to do what is necessary in order to be great – including being willing to look wrong.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2014-04-08-dare-to-be-great-ii.pdf?sfvrsn=44b60f65_2).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
05/05/21·45m 36s

The Rewind: Dare to Be Great

Howard reflects on this memo originally published on September 7, 2006. In the first episode of a two-part series, he offers suggestions to those daring to be superior investors. There are no formulas, but there is a prerequisite: one must think differently.You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2006-09-07-dare-to-be-great.pdf?sfvrsn=b3bc0f65_2).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
29/04/21·54m 59s

2020 in Review

Last year featured a jaw-dropping list of extremes, from a once-in-a-century pandemic to record-breaking market moves. Howard Marks writes in his latest memo about approaching the investment environment left in 2020’s wake – one generating many questions and no easy answers. (March 4, 2021)You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/howard-marks-memos).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
19/03/21·31m 15s

The Rewind: You Can’t Predict. You Can Prepare.

Howard looks back on this memo, originally published on November 20, 2001. The title was inspired by a TV commercial tagline from that time: “It's almost a Yogi Berra type statement that makes no apparent sense on first reading, but then it turns out to be quite wise.”You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2001-11-20-you-cant-predict-you-can-prepare.pdf?sfvrsn=bc00f65_2).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
24/02/21·52m 11s

Something of Value

The dichotomy of “value” and “growth” investing has become a sharp stylistic divide. But is it helpful? In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses how he views the art and science of value investing, especially in the increasingly efficient and complex world we face today. (January 11, 2021)You can read the memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/something-of-value.pdf).The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
14/01/21·1h 3m

The Rewind: bubble.com

Howard looks back on his memo titled “bubble.com,” originally published on January 2, 2000, and credited with making his memo writing an “overnight success” after 10 years without a single response.To view the referenced graphics, see the original memo here (https://www.oaktreecapital.com/docs/default-source/memos/2000-01-02-bubble.pdf?sfvrsn=37bc0f65_2). The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
21/12/20·52m 44s

Introducing “The Rewind”: The Route To Performance

Today we debut a new series, “The Rewind,” in which Howard looks back on some of his memos over the years, discusses their origin and considers their relevance in today’s financial environment. We start with his very first memo, “The Route To Performance,” originally published on October 12, 1990.The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
30/11/20·19m 16s

Coming Into Focus

In his latest memo, Howard Marks discusses the unusual characteristics of this year’s economy; the impact of Covid-related monetary and fiscal policy actions on today’s markets; and the possible ramifications of the Fed/Treasury’s rescue efforts. (October 13, 2020)The memo is read by LJ Ganser.
19/10/20·1h
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