Howard Marks is an investor, writer and author of “Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side.” After working in senior positions at Citibank early in his career, Howard joined The TCW Group, Inc. in 1985. He led groups within the company responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. After 10 years at The TCW Group, Inc. he co-founded Oaktree Capital Management.
Howard got into high yield bonds in August of 1978. This was a turning point in financial history because up until this moment only good companies could borrow money. High yield bonds opened the market to more risky companies and also showed Howard a different way of looking at markets. The first company he worked for had a strategy of buying stock in the 50 most successful companies in hopes they would continue to go up forever. With the advent of the high yield market he saw himself making good and steady money off of the worst/most risky companies–turning everything he had been previously been taught upside down.
Howard has lived through over 50 years of financial history and with his new book he has gone back hundreds of years to examine and study cycles. So how does Howard define a cycle? There are many different cycles–cycles in science, speed, people inhabited, etc. Cycles in the financial world are produced by people and are created by their feelings. The cycle represents a fluctuation in something around a mid-point, but time-frames and reasons for fluctuations do not repeat themselves–except for in human behavior. Looking back hundreds of years there are a few things that are underlying in every financial boom–too much optimism, too much money chasing, and too much risk aversion.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
High yield bonds
Sub prime bubble
Continued learning by reading