2014 Value Investing Congress Begins

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, September 7, 2014

I like to try to attend the Value Investing Congress each year, preferably both of them (East Coast and West Coast) when I can — they are fantastic investment conferences largely because they’re pretty small, and they consistently attract some of the best value investors who share detailed presentations about what they’re buying and how they think and analyze.

Lately, the conference has stepped back from the “rock stars” like David Einhorn and Bill Ackman, who seem to prefer the attention they get from the Ira Sohn conference that happens in NY every Summer. They have also, in addition to slightly less focus on celebrity speakers (though Leon Cooperman and others are certainly well known), started to clamp down on the media. When I first attended these conferences several years ago, CNBC was in the lobby grabbing everyone they could for a live interview, and almost every stock that was mentioned popped immediately thanks to the press coverage, the live bloggers who were invited in as press, and the buying power of the hundreds of money managers trading away on their Blackberries in the audience.

Not so much any more. Yes, sometimes the stocks do pop — there is press coverage as things “leak” out and presentations sometimes make it into the public domain, but there’s much more time to think about most of these things now.

Which means that hopefully the stories from the Congress that I cover for you are perhaps more “exclusive” — no, they’re not going to be stock “tips” that you won’t hear elsewhere, but there aren’t many live bloggers who are willing to pony up $4,000 to get into the audience, and the Congress discourages press coverage, so hopefully my commentaries about these presentations will offer you some interesting insight that you won’t see elsewhere.

Of course, it’s the very welcome payments from the Irregulars that sustain Stock Gumshoe and make it possible for me to be at this Congress each year — so I restrict those commentaries for them.

Which means, if you’ve been hemming and hawing about whether or not to join the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, well, now’s a pretty good time…. if it’s just the teaser solutions you like to see, those will always mostly be free (unless I write about them on Fridays — Friday is for the Irregulars), but if you want to hear more of my chatter and read my thoughts from the Value Investing Congress, well, sign on up (if you’re already a free member, you can log in and click on the “upgrade” link at the very top right of this page and keep your existing login and email address).

I’m currently attending the Sunday pre-conference workshop, with a small group discussing some interesting ideas from Whitney Tilson and Chris Mayer and others. So look for my quick notes about that later this evening, then some more brief notes and thoughts about many of the presentations this week (I won’t write about every single one, I expect — some of them just aren’t that interesting), and I think we should have a guest column or two from our regular contributors as well. After a few crazy days of that, I’ll be diving back into the teaser mines to dig up more goodies for you later in the week. Enjoy!

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