River Road’s Select Value Strategy is a concentrated, high conviction value strategy comprised of companies that exhibit attractive business models, shareholder-oriented management, and financial strength.
The Select Value Strategy is expected to typically represent a subset of the long-only portion of the firm’s Long-Short Equity Portfolio. The Select Value Strategy’s investment universe formally consists of all North American listed equity securities with market capitalizations greater than $2 B at the time of initial purchase.
The Select Value Strategy seeks to outperform the Russell 1000 Value by 200 to 400 bps gross of fees annualized over a market cycle.
The investment process proceeds through four stages:
I. Idea Generation
River Road employs two research methodologies – Systematic and Dynamic.
Systematic Research: Screening of the firm’s three principal databases.
- Our Watch List (including former portfolio holdings)
- Qualitative screening with Value Line: Provides a snapshot of a business and up to 15 years of relevant quantitative historical trends
- Quantitative screening through FactSet (proprietary stock screens): Identifies stocks that best exhibit the Strategies’ critical criteria
Dynamic Research: An active search for attractive candidates among a myriad of sources, including:
- Investment media
- Industry research
- Competitor analysis
- SEC filings (10-K/Qs, 8-Ks, proxy statements, insider trading (Form 4 filings), share repurchases/dividend increases, etc.)
- Various other contacts and resources established by the portfolio management team
II. Security Analysis
River Road builds portfolios in house, from the bottom up, making security-specific research central to our process. At the core of River Road’s Absolute Value® approach is a systematic method for assessing the ‘risk-to-reward’ characteristics of an investment. The goal of the research process is to formulate two outputs from which an investment decision is made – conviction rating (risk) and discount to value (reward). A stock’s conviction rating combined with its discount to value determine not only whether the stock qualifies for investment, but also how the stock will be sized within a portfolio.
The conviction assessment ranks each of the critical criteria, listed below, on a scale of 1 (highest/best) to 5 (lowest/worst), which are then aggregated into an overall conviction rating.
- Valuation: Confidence in forecast assumptions
- Attractive business model: Understandable, predictable, and sustainable; high returns on equity and invested capital; and reasonable growth prospects
- Shareholder orientation: Significant insider ownership/insider buying; opportunistic stock buybacks; accretive transactions; debt reduction; and dividend raises/initiations
- Financial strength: Liquidity and leverage; hidden assets; and free cash flow yield
Discount to Value
A stock’s discount to its assessed valuation is a proprietary measure that represents the expected upside or available reward within the valuation time horizon of a stock based on our fundamental approach to security valuation. A company’s market price must be 80% or less of our valuation to qualify for investment.
III. Portfolio Construction
The Portfolio targets approximately 20 holdings, with the actual number of holdings dependent on market conditions. The stocks purchased are those that best meet our selection criteria, offer the greatest potential for appreciation, and provide appropriate portfolio diversification.
The Strategies employ a proprietary sizing model which considers the security’s discount to value, overall conviction, and breadth of value in the Portfolios’ investment universe.
IV. Sell Discipline
We believe that the key difference between a losing strategy and a winning strategy is that losers make big mistakes and winners make small mistakes.
- Our sell discipline helps keep the inevitable individual mistakes from causing large, permanent losses of capital in the broader portfolio.
- We do not average down on losing positions.
Select Value Strategy Inception Date: November 1, 2014