This week we sat down with Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital for a special edition of Masters in Business Live. Oaktree manages over $120 billion dollars in distressed debt. He is the the author of the highly regarded The Most Important Thing. His new book is “Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side.” Our prior conversations with Marks are here: 2015, 2017, and 2018.
This conversation was broadcast live Monday February 25th, on Bloomberg Television and Radio, and is the full audio is presented in its entirety below. Video can be found here .
Marks formed Oaktree Capital with his partners in 1995, running high-yield bonds, distressed debt, private equity, and other strategies. Their returns have been spectacular, averaging ~19% per year after fees over the past 24 years.
Marks is known for his Chairman’s Memos that he has been his creative outlet since 1990. He describes the first decade of printing them — literally on paper, inserting them into stamped envelopes and physically mailing them off into the world — where he received precisely zero response. “We didn’t even know if anyone got them.” His January 2000 letter “Bubble.com” — was not only dead right, but pretty well timed, becoming a huge Barron’s cover story. That was his inkling that people were even reading these.
Based on those letters, Warren Buffett’s urged him to write the book that became “The Most Important Thing.”
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and Bloomberg.
Next week, we speak with John Chisholm, Co-Chief Executive Officer and co-Chief Investment Officer of Acadian Asset Management, a quantitative global equity manager running $86.5 billion dollars in assets.
Howard Marks Favorite Books
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein
A Short History of Financial Euphoria by John Kenneth Galbraith