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Semi-Retired Fund Manager
Contributor's Links: Bronte Capital Cooking With John

My name is John Hempton and I am a (semi) retired fund manager based in Sydney Australia. My key expertise is in banks and insurance companies though my investing interests extend widely.  I run the Bronte Capital Blog. The purpose of this blog is to explore ... more

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Thinking Aloud About Bank Margins - Part 2
If central bank policy is going to work the central bankers are going to need to learn from the banks that have maintained reasonable profitability in the face of negative rates.
Thinking Aloud About Bank Margins
Bank margins were once a concern to bank investors and not really to the general public. After all low margins generally meant cheaper finance. High margin banks (like Australian banks) leave you with the uneasy feeling you are being ripped off.
One More Brief Comment On The Markopolos GE Paper
The absolute core of the Harry Markopolos paper is that GE is dramatically under-reserved for long term care insurance. It took charges in 2017 and 2018. He points to these charges as evidence GE has the worst long term care business in insurance.
The Latest Ken Henry Blow-Up
The Sydney Morning Herald today led with a headline that in leaked letters to consultants, Dr Ken Henry (then Chair of National Australia Bank) had said that bad things were being done - even as they spoke - at National Australia Bank.
Mattel: Buybacks, Barbie And Dead Babies
I used to be of the view that suggested that buybacks were just another way of distributing to shareholders - a bit like dividends, selectively applied. But companies can impair themselves with buybacks in ways that you just couldn't with dividends.
A Quick Note On The Resignations At The Top Of National Australia Bank
I am not sure that any Australian banker deserved to come out of the Royal Commission unscathed, but in a relative sense injustice has been done.
A Quick Note On The Resignations At The Top Of National Australia Bank
The Chairman (Dr Henry) and the CEO (Andrew Thorburn) of National Australia Bank have just resigned following criticism by the Australian Banking Royal Commissioner.
Thoughts On The Herbalife Results
Herbalife reported after market Wednesday and there was a lot of noise. But let's cut through all of that. Here are my thoughts...
Just How Bad Is It For Big Tobacco? And A Business Idea For An Ambitious Investment Banker
Big tobacco stocks have had a bad month. Philip Morris had its worst day (for stock performance) in a decade.
The Importance Of GE's Credit Rating
The cover story in Barrons is on GE's dim prospects. But there is one last shoe to drop, and it wasn't covered in Andrew Bary's excellent article. That is that GE's credit rating - and hence its business - is under threat.
Herbalife And Bill Ackman In Furious Agreement
Bill Ackman announced that Pershing Square was settling an insider trading securities class action. But Mr Ackman seems to think that a settlement of approximately $200 million does not say anything at all about the legitimacy of the case
The Cyclicality Of Share Buy-Backs: Costco Edition
The company has bought back a lot of stock. The lack of a buyback in 2013 followed a purchase of a non-controlling stake in Costco Mexico.
Taking The Bull Case For Valeant Seriously
The stock has been on a tear lately - rising from $10 to $13.59 in the last week - poking above $14. To some degree this is just standard volatility for a bombed out stock.
Selling Telecom Position
If wireless telephony capacity really is unlimited and the carriers insist on price wars then the future is bleak indeed. (For shareholders, if not for consumers.)
Trex's Mysteriously High Margin: A Business Analysis Problem For You
Trex makes decking. Plastic decking. Outside many houses in middle America is timber deck often with a barbecue - or at least a grill - sitting at the end. This is a place for barbecue, socialising and - of course - beer.
A Puzzle For The Risk Manager
The last two posts were essentially about picking a value-stock portfolio and managing the risk. And they were lessons that I thought I could implement. This is stuff I find harder. So I am looking for your input.
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