Stephen Arnold – Aoris

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On this episode:

Stephen Arnold joined Owen Raszkiewicz on The Australian Investors Podcast for a talk about life, money and business.

Stephen has a wealth of experience in global markets at top tier firms, here in Austalia and in London. He managed more than $1 billion in Sydney for Evans & Partners and has since founded Aoris Investment Management.

Aoris’ tagline is quality first value investing. I think it’s an apt phrase since it encapsulates so much of what I like about Stephen’s approach.

With a portfolio of no more than 15 stocks, Stephen places significant emphasis on knowing where his circle of competence lies and how to measure the change in a company’s competitive advantage or moat. As you’ll discover the depth of his team’s research is impressive, to say the least.

When I first read about and met Stephen years ago I was struck by his unique and conservative approach to valuation, his rules for filtering companies and industries, and the purposeful portfolio construction approach he created.

Though Stephen and I spend quite some time talking about more in-depth investment topics like valuation I think there is something for everyone in this hour-long conversation. We hope you enjoy it!

Timestamps:

  • 1:30 – Intro to Stephen and his early career
  • 10:00 – Banking crises and lessons from analysing banks during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC)
  • 17:00 – Stephen’s elevator pitch: What Aoris does (in 30 seconds)
  • 20:00 – Why the “direction of travel” in competitive advantages is so important to Stepen (and how to measure it)
  • 26:00 – Why technical selling relationships are best
  • 32:00 – How to find stocks and companies with sticky customer bases and wide moats
  • 34:00 – The 3 things Stephen looks for in companies with high-value-to-cost ratios
  • 38:00 – How to assess management
  • 42:00 – How and why Stephen values stocks the way he does
  • 47:00 – How Stephen removes optimism bias, sensitivity and risks to choosing a discount rates
  • 48:30 – Investing is a business of judgements
  • 51:00 – What is internal diversification and how does it help build a portfolio?

Learn more about Stephen: 

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