The Memo by Howard Marks

By Oaktree Capital Management

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Description

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.


Episode Date
Behind The Memo: I Beg To Differ
00:24:05

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).

Aug 04, 2022
I Beg To Differ
00:47:38

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)

Jul 26, 2022
The Rewind: Something of Value
01:25:20

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.



Jun 16, 2022
Behind The Memo: Bull Market Rhymes
00:16:31

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).

Jun 02, 2022
Bull Market Rhymes
00:44:24

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).



May 26, 2022
The Rewind: Lines in the Sand
00:44:33

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.


Apr 28, 2022
Behind The Memo: The Pendulum in International Affairs
00:21:17

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).

Mar 31, 2022
The Pendulum in International Affairs
00:29:29

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).

Mar 23, 2022
The Rewind: It’s All a Big Mistake
00:53:32

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.



Feb 24, 2022
Introducing "Behind The Memo": Selling Out
00:32:25

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).

Jan 21, 2022
Selling Out
00:35:56

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.


Jan 13, 2022
The Rewind: Uncertainty
01:01:05

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.



Dec 20, 2021
The Winds of Change
01:02:57

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.

Nov 30, 2021
The Rewind: What Does The Market Know?
00:52:22

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.

Oct 07, 2021
The Rewind: On The Couch
01:13:55

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.

Sep 30, 2021
The Rewind: Us and Them
00:43:26

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.

Aug 26, 2021
Thinking About Macro
00:50:57

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.

Jul 30, 2021
The Rewind: It Is What It Is
00:43:31

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.



Jun 24, 2021
The Rewind: Dare to Be Great II
00:45:36

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.

May 05, 2021
The Rewind: Dare to Be Great
00:54:59

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.

Apr 29, 2021
2020 in Review
00:31:15

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.

Mar 19, 2021
The Rewind: You Can’t Predict. You Can Prepare.
00:52:11

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.

Feb 24, 2021
Something of Value
01:03:06

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.

Jan 14, 2021
The Rewind: bubble.com
00:52:44

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.

Dec 21, 2020
Introducing “The Rewind”: The Route To Performance
00:19:16

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.

Nov 30, 2020
Coming Into Focus
01:00:13

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.

Oct 19, 2020