Yacktman Talks Value, Strategy

Mutual fund manager Donald Yacktman has put up an exceptional track record for more than a decade, and in a recent interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, he talked about his investment approach and thoughts on the current market.

Yacktman says that the market is not cheap, which is the biggest risk investors face today. He recently had about 20% of his portfolios in cash. “That’s telling you how hard it is to find stocks to buy,” he says, adding that the figure would be even higher if returns on cash weren’t so low right now.

Yacktman says price — buy on the cheap — and time horizon — his is long — are critical to his approach. “We view every stock as if it were a long-term bond,” he says. “And we’re looking at risk-adjusted forward returns. The Cokes, Pepsis and P&Gs become our triple-A bonds.Companies that tend to have consistently high returns usually have low fixed assets and low cyclicality. You will rarely see things like airlines, automobiles or steel companies or, for that matter, banks in our holdings.”

Yacktman also doesn’t try to catch market tops or bottoms. “In this business, you’re wrong almost all the time,” he says. “It’s just a matter of degree, because nobody buys at the bottom or sells at the top.”