About the Author
Howard Stanley Marks (born April 23, 1946) is an American investor and writer. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, the largest investor in distressed securities worldwide. In 2022, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, Marks was ranked No. 1365 on the Forbes list of billionaires.
Marks is admired in the investment community for his “memos”, which detail his investment strategies and insight into the economy and are posted publicly on the Oaktree website. He has also published 3 books on investing. According to Warren Buffett, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something, and that goes double for his book.”
Marks focuses on risk management and says that investors should set investment strategy according to their personal situations and ask themselves whether they worry more about the risk of losing money or the risk of missing an opportunity. Marks believes that it is hard to gain an investment advantage through research since so many smart people are doing it already; the ways to get an advantage are through better inferring the consequences implied by current company data, managing the psychology of investing, and assessing the present stage of the business / market cycle. He hopes to have average returns during a bull market, while minimizing losses during bear markets due to his belief that losses do more harm than any benefit investors obtain from gains. Marks does favor using market timing strategies to have cash available to be invested during a downturn. Marks notes that it is important for investors to admit what they don’t know instead of believing something is certain. He aims for a “high batting average” over “home runs”.
Funds led by Marks have produced long term returns net of fees of 19% per year. Investors are primarily pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.
- 2011: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
- 2012: The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
- 2018: Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side