In their latest column for Kiplinger’s magazine, Whitney Tilson and John Heins say they are high on an unloved area of the market: money management firms that specialize in stock funds.
In the article (not yet available on Kiplinger’s web site), Tilson and Heins write that money management is a fairly simple and very profitable type of business. “One of the beauties of the business is that costs don’t march in lock step with revenues,” they say. “If a fund grows from $1 billion to $2 billion, you don’t need twice as many people to manage it. You may not need any extra people.” In normal times, they say, such businesses can have “eye-popping” net profit margins of between 25%-30%.
We have not, however, been in normal times, and the weak performance of stocks in recent years has driven down the share prices of money management firms that specialize in stock funds. And that has created some big bargains, Tilson and Heins say. Using research from colleague Zeke Ashton, whose Tilson Dividend Fund has a strong record of outperforming the market, they offer a couple picks from the industry. Among them: Calamos Asset Management (CLMS) and Artio Global Investors (ART).