There’s Always Something to Do: The Peter Cundill Investment Approach

There’s Always Something to Do: The Peter Cundill Investment Approach [Paperback]

Christopher Risso-Gill (Author)


Publication Date: February 10, 2011

Peter Cundill, a philanthropist and investor whose work has been praised by the likes of Warren Buffett, found his life changed forever when he discovered the value investment principles of Benjamin Graham and began to put them into action. There’s Always Something to Do tells the story of Cundill’s voyage of discovery, with all its ups and downs, as he developed his immensely successful investment strategies. In the context of recent financial upheavals and ongoing uncertainty, Peter Cundill’s wise and frequently funny reflections are more important than ever. In a seamlessly assembled narrative drawn from interviews, speeches, and exclusive access to the daily journal Cundill kept for forty-five years, Christopher Risso-Gill outlines Cundill’s investment approach and provides accounts of his investments and the analytical process that led to their selection. A book for everyday investors as much as professional investors and investment gurus, There’s Always Something to Do offers a compelling perspective on global financial markets and on how we can avoid their worst pitfalls and grow our hard-earned capital.

FITCH: China’s Credit Bubble Is Unprecedented In Modern World History

FITCH: China’s Credit Bubble Is Unprecedented In Modern World History


China’s shadow banking system is out of control and under mounting stress as borrowers struggle to roll over short-term debts, Fitch Ratings has warned. The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead. “The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation,” said Charlene Chu, the agency’s senior director in Beijing. “There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising. We have no idea who the borrowers are, who the lenders are, and what the quality of assets is, and this undermines signaling,” she told The Daily Telegraph. Read more of this post

Chinese industry: Ambitions in excess; Overcapacity fuelled by subsidies threatens the world’s second-biggest economy

Last updated: June 16, 2013 6:29 pm

Chinese industry: Ambitions in excess

By Jamil Anderlini

Overcapacity fuelled by subsidies threatens the world’s second-biggest economy

Shi Zhengrong became known as the “sun king” around the time he was named China’s fifth-richest man in 2006. Barely three years later, Suntech, his New York-listed company, was the world’s largest solar panel-maker, producing enough solar cells each year to power 1m energy-guzzling US homes. To struggling manufacturers in the US and Germany, Suntech was part of anunstoppable juggernaut that undercut markets, flooded the world with ultra-cheap products and put competitors out of business. Indeed, the European Commission isthreatening to raise import tariffs on Chinese producers for allegedly selling solar panels in Europe for less than they cost to make. But China’s business model is far from unassailable. In March, Suntech filed for bankruptcy protection. From a market value of $16bn at its peak, the company is now worth about $180m. The sun king has been dethroned as chairman. In fact, the solar industry is only the most pronounced example of broader overcapacity in China. Its rise and fall has followed a pattern that is becoming familiar across the world’s second-biggest economy. Read more of this post

“When markets turn, the exit door is far narrower than investors understand”; as investors seek to sell down some of their fixed-income holdings, the lack of a Wall Street escape outlet for the debt has suddenly become a problem

June 16, 2013 7:00 pm

Markets on edge as investors seek exit

By Tracy Alloway and Michael Mackenzie in New York

Mom and pop investors who flocked to the great bull run in bonds are now facing a messy exit thanks to striking changes in one of Wall Street’s biggest markets.

The rise of exchange traded funds has given retail investors instant access to a range of debt including high-yield, inflation-indexed and investment grade bonds.

At the same time, big banks which buy and sell bonds on behalf of the funds say they have cut their inventories of corporate debt due to new financial regulations. Read more of this post

A cup of tea may be the best way to engage employees; People may come to dislike their jobs a little less, but seldom learn to love them; Most people find it easier to like work that involves a craft of some sort

June 14, 2013 5:02 pm

A cup of tea may be the best way to engage employees

By Lucy Kellaway

People may come to dislike their jobs a little less, but seldom learn to love them

Last week I met a professor of office design who talked excitedly about creating visionary spaces for people to work in and filling the air with the scent of fresh linen. After a bit, I protested that surely all we wanted from an office building was natural light and something relatively comfortable to sit on.

“It’s all very well for you to say that,” he snapped. “You don’t care about your surroundings because you love your job. Most people don’t love theirs.”

It is true that I do like my job. It’s also true that most people don’t like theirs one bit. (I’m avoiding the word “love” here, let alone “passion”, as both are unseemly in an employee.) Every week brings another survey telling how occupational dislike rules in offices. Last week there was a study showing that 77 per cent of UK workers felt they had chosen the wrong career. In the US, a recent report stated that only 19 per cent of workers professed themselves satisfied with their jobs. Read more of this post

Thailand’s Buddhist monks are under investigation following complaints sparked by a video showing some flying on a private jet

Jet-set monks warned after video exposes lavish lifestyle

Monday, June 17, 2013 – 12:26 PM


Thailand’s Buddhist monks are under investigation following complaints sparked by a video showing some flying on a private jet. The YouTube video showed one of the monks was wearing stylish aviator sunglasses, carrying a luxury brand travel bag and sporting a pair of modern-looking wireless headphones. It attracted criticism from Buddhists nationwide. Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said that the agency saw the video and had warned the monks from a monastery in Thailand’s north-east not to repeat the lavish behaviour. It plans to monitor monks nationwide. With the world’s largest Buddhist population, Thailand has attempted to help Buddha’s 2,600-year-old doctrine stand the test of time through a variety of means, including imposing a ban on the sale of alcohol on religious holidays. The efforts, however, are sometimes tainted by the monks themselves. Last year, about 300 out of 61,416 Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand were reprimanded – in several cases removed from the monkhood – because of their misconduct, ranging from alcohol consumption, having sex with women, to extortion. The office also received complaints about monks driving cars, and scams and false claims of black magic uses by monks. Mr Nopparat said the Buddhist monks in the video were acting “inappropriately, not composed and not adhering to Buddha’s teachings of simplicity and self-restraint.” Monruedee Bantoengsuk, an administrative officer at Khantitham Temple in Sisaket province, confirmed that the monks on the private plane lived at the temple but refused to give details about the trip. “We can explain this, but not now,” she said, saying that the abbot, who appeared in the video, is currently on a religious tour in France. The images from the video contrasted with the abbot’s message on the temple’s homepage that read: “The true core of those who preach Buddha’s teachings is to not to own any objects at all.” “When Lord Buddha was alive, there wasn’t anything like this. There were no cars, smart phones or cameras, so the rules were much simpler,” said Mr Nopparat. “While the monks need to keep themselves abreast of new knowledge, current events and technology, they are restrained to choose the appropriate tools.” He said one way to prevent the monks from misbehaving is for followers not to spoil them with valuable objects or vices. “In many cases, it was the followers who gave the monks the luxury. Some bought them sports cars. This is by no means necessary.”

The ascent of Gautam Adani is among the most startling in recent Indian business history


June 16, 2013 1:36 pm

Gautam Adani, founder, Adani Group

By James Crabtree

Shipping up: Gautam Adani convinced the government of Gujarat to let him develop a harbour facility near Mundra, India’s largest private port

The ascent of Gautam Adani is among the most startling in recent Indian business history. A self-made billionaire in a nation awash with dynasties, he turned a minor commodities business into a conglomerate stretching from ports and shipping to coal, power and infrastructure. The business grew 16-fold in barely a decade, earning revenues of $8.7bn last year. It is an expansion unmatched by any other Indian first-generation industrialist, and one that now earns Mr Adani a place at the pinnacle ofhis country’s tycoon class. Read more of this post

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