Value Manager Tim Hartch Focuses on High Quality Businesses

Advisor Perspectives highlights the record of value investor Tim Hartch, co-manager of several Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. funds. In the published interview, Hartch explains that his BBH Core Select fund’s “buy-and-own approach, [which] focus[es] on high-quality businesses that are trading at a discount to proprietary intrinsic value estimates.” The goal is “to achieve attractive returns that protect capital in down markets and outperform on a relative basis over time,” noting that “we have historically outperformed in most down markets, such as the 2008 time period, while participating in up markets.” He said, “our focus is on identifying high-quality businesses” and, once purchasing their equities, “we view ourselves as owners as opposed to traders.” Hartch maintains that “changes in Fed policy have not had a big impact on our investment process,” but noted that policies of the Fed “and those of other central banks around the world are distorting the real economy and the financial markets and have pushed valuations up across the board” and that has “made it harder to buy businesses at a large discount to intrinsic value.” When asked about the two banks (Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp) that make of 10% of the Core Select fund’s holdings, Hartch emphasized that they are “less complex” than other banks with management teams that “have consistently executed well.” Further, the “simpler business model when compared to money-center banks [] results in less regulatory pressure and greater ability to meet capital requirements.” More broadly, Hartch stated that relatively high equity valuations “suggest[] you want to be very strict in applying your investment criteria and be disciplined on valuation.”