By Tom Putnam
It was at my first job when I fell in love with investing. Each day I carefully read The Wall Street Journal cover-to-cover in order to soak in economic, business, and investment news. Initially, much of the information was above my head, but eventually it started to fit together and ideas began to germinate in my young mind. You see, I was a thirteen-year-old shoe shiner discovering the grown-up world. As I look back on those days it was at this intersection where an exciting dream was percolating and a worthy craft and strong work ethic were being learned, when my foundation for investing was laid.
Today, as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the FAM Value Fund, everyone at FAM Funds and Fenimore Asset Management (the investment advisor to FAM Funds) continues to do detailed work with caring hands as we endeavor to create things of lasting value and be good stewards of your assets. The cornerstone of these services is our Research Team. Our seven Research Analysts have 126 years of investment industry experience and an average Fenimore tenure of almost 13 years – we are a strong and deep unit.
The Research Team employs a rigorous and time-tested stock selection process which seeks to preserve your assets and maximize total return on capital. In addition to visiting with every company in the Funds in 2011, we also met with or talked to the management teams of almost 70 new ideas. These are corporations that we have never looked at before from a wide-range of industries, including: chemicals, utilities, food and soft drinks, real estate, computer chips, auto parts, timber, gold mining, banking, and pest control.
FAM proactively and vigilantly analyzes a stock and its underlying business before and after we purchase it to make sure it continually meets our criteria. As long as it does, there is no reason to sell it unless we have a better prospect. In recent months, we had good opportunities to invest in some better prospects. We believe the current Fund portfolio holdings should provide a positive contribution over the next few years and even more so over a longer-term horizon of five to 10 years.
We are always pursuing excellence for you – our shareholders. The information I gleaned from my reading of “The Journal” and the work ethic and commitment to quality I learned as a young teenager, permeate our organization. Rest assured, we are working diligently on your behalf.