Why Use Hedge Fund Letters?
Hedge fund letters are a key part of our idea-generation process at Macro Ops.
I’m often asked how I come up with trading ideas. My usual response is that I do a lot of reading, talking to other traders, and thinking.
I don’t have a single funnel for sourcing trades. This is partly because we’re interested in all types of trades (ie, value, classic macro, special situation, etc…) and don’t limit ourselves to a particular approach. What we are concerned with, is asymmetry… the greater the convexity the better.
Since I can’t give you my network of traders and HF managers I talk shop with, I thought I’d do the next best thing and share with you my go-to reading list of quarterly fund letters, sites, and blogs that I read regularly for idea generation. There’s a lot of fund managers out there, and most aren’t worth their salt. The selection below includes the few I believe have the most talent.
You’ll notice this list is skewed heavily toward small-cap value managers. The reason is that these are the ideas that I’m most interested in from others. I don’t read a lot of other macro work because that’s the world I live in. And many of these value fund managers can devote a lot more time to investigating a single company than I ever could. We always do our own due diligence, of course. But when you have a stable of great value fund managers doing the initial filtering for you, it’s a big help.
Like Picasso said, “Good investors borrow, great investors steal”… or something like that.
Must Read Hedge Fund Letter Resources For Investment Idea Generation
Below are my top ten quarterly hedge fund letter must-reads. Consider these the few reports that I never miss and from which I have stolen many great ideas.
Also, reading these letters is like receiving a master’s in value investing. Some great nuggets in all of them (links to report sections included on all names).
Greenhaven Road Capital
Scott Miller runs Greenhaven Road Capital. The fund focuses on overlooked, off-the-beaten-path corners of the market. Miller routinely hunts in small-to-micro cap stocks, SPACs, spin-offs, and beaten-down companies.
Miller keeps a low profile. Getting him on our podcast is harder than reaching the pope. Instead, he keeps his head down and turns over more rocks than most investors.
You can read some of his latest ideas featured in our Value Investing Letter Recap here.
Steven Wood runs GreenWood Investors, which is a collaborative investment fund dedicated to investing in builders and transformers globally. GreenWood’s global mandate allows it to invest in nearly any business that meets its “Builders” and “Transformers” criteria.
I enjoy Steven’s letters because not only is he a sharp thinker/investor, but he brings a unique approach to investing by focusing on the long term. Where most investors pay lip service to long-term time horizons, GreenWood walks the walk.
Dave Waters runs Alluvial Capital, which might be the most esoteric hedge fund you’ve ever seen. The fund focuses exclusively on micro-cap and highly illiquid stocks. I’m talking about stocks that trade 1-2 shares every quarter.
Alluvial has a knack for identifying companies that everyone else either can’t find or believe are long dead.
Some of these businesses require you to own shares before sharing the latest Annual Report.
I always find new and exciting ideas when reading Dave’s letters and I know you will too.
Rowan Street Capital
Alex Kopel and Joe Maas run Rowan Street Capital, a highly concentrated growth-oriented investment firm. Rowan Street balances my natural value bias in what I read.
Alta Fox Capital
Connor Haley runs Alta Fox Capital, a long-biased value-oriented hedge fund with an itch of activism. I’m a huge fan of Haley’s investment framework and fundamental research rigor. He’s building a great firm and has an impressive historical track record.
Like most investors on this list, Connor invests globally and he often uncovers names I wouldn’t have found otherwise found.
You can read more about Connor’s framework and investor letters here.
Dan Roller manages Maran Capital, a small investment fund that invests in overlooked small and micro-cap stocks. Along with small and micro caps, Roller spends most of his time identifying special situation ideas that generate uncorrelated returns for the fund.
I’ve found a handful of interesting ideas from Dan’s letter. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet him personally. He’s an awesome guy and a sharp investor.
Check out his investor letters here.
Praetorian Capital is a classic high-volatility hedge fund investing in a concentrated basket of high-conviction ideas. Harris Kupperman runs Praetorian and is the founder of KEDM.com.
1 Main Capital
1 Main Capital is a long-biased investment partnership that invests primarily in high-quality, attractively valued, growing businesses. Yaron Naymark runs the fund. You can check out our podcast with Yaron here.
I enjoy reading Yaron’s letters because there’s always one business he mentions that’s high quality, has a long runway for organic growth and margin expansion, and trades for a decent (or cheap) price.
Laughing Water Capital
Laughing Water Capital is a boutique investment partnership that invests in a concentrated number of businesses dealing with some short-term issue that management can reasonably fix.
Matt Sweeney runs Laughing Water Capital. Like Dan Roller, I’ve had the opportunity to personally meet Matt. He’s a great guy.
You can listen to our podcast with Matt here.
I love reading Sweeney’s letters because traditional stock screeners never find the stocks he buys, which is by design. Screens can’t determine whether it’s a good co. / bad co. dynamic or another short-term issue that distorts long-term core earnings power.
Andrew Rosenblum runs Bonsai Partners, a boutique investment partnership that holds a concentrated number of high-quality businesses trading at attractive valuations. Andrew and I fish in very similar waters, so I always find 1-2 new ideas to add to the watchlist after reading his letters.
You can learn more about Andrew and his process by listening to his podcast with Good Investing Talks (here).
Important Hedge Fund Letters Recap
So these are the quarterly letters that I make sure to at least skim through each quarter if not read in their entirety. However, there’s no doubt I’ve missed a few great letters in this post.
Twitter is also a great resource for idea generation. If you know how to use it well (which is a topic for a future blog post), you can create a highly differentiated network of idea generation.
Shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got a letter/resource you use that I didn’t mention here.