Tom Russo

Tom Russo

Last Update: 08-12-2016

Number of Stocks: 105
Number of New Stocks: 4

Total Value: $11,940 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 1%

Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

Tom Russo Watch

  • How to Fish in the Right Ponds

    It’s been widely quoted that in investing, just like in fishing, choosing the right pond to fish in can be more important than the skill and the equipment possessed by the fish man. If you are a skillful fish man with best in class equipment and you choose the right pond, you will have wonderful results. In investing, this is when skill, experiences and circle of competency meet the “strike zone.”

    In the past two years or so, I have noticed a pattern among a few outstanding investors. For instance, Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) has historically had an overwhelming overweight to consumer staples; Don Yacktman’s investments have been mainly in consumer staples and entertainment; Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) and Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio) have historically heavily invested in financials, just like Bruce Berkowitz. One of Vanguard’s most successful funds is the Vanguard Health Care Fund, which has crushed the S&P 500 in any given five-year and 10-year period.


  • Thomas Russo on Global Value Investing

    Tom Russo is a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC. According to, his company managed to beat the Standard & Poor's 500 index by 4.7 percentage points annually between 1984 and 2011.

    Last year, Russo gave a talk on his value investing philosophy at Google which I’ve posted below. This video was my first exposure to Russo, and I learned a lot. Russo was a student at Stanford University in 1982 when he attended a presentation given by Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio). He credits Buffett’s presentation for inspiring him to pursue a career in the investment industry.


  • Dealing With Foreign Currency

    Most value investors are bottom-up. Yes, our focus should be the fundamentals of the business, not the macro economic factors that are less predictable and less controllable. But how far up should we get? Should macro factors be totally ignored? If not, how much attention should we devote to macro factors such as foreign exchange rates?

    Somehow the answer came to me when I was reviewing an article I wrote earlier this year, which discussed how long is long-term. Of course it depends on your holding period; the longer it is the less important macro factors are.


  • Tom Russo's Global Stock Picks

    Tom Russo recently spoke with Bloomberg's radio show "Taking Stock." The guru manages about $10 billion. He likes family-controlled companies because families think long term and don't care as much for quarterly numbers, and also tend to be more conservatively financed. He also likes to invest in companies with high ROE numbers. On the show he touts four stocks, three of which are non U.S. companies.

    Nestlé SA (NSRGY)


  • Altria, Cigna, Philip Morris Are Outperforming the S&P 500

    The following are some of the stocks that outperformed the S&P 500 Index over the last 12 months and have been bought by gurus during the last quarter.

    Altria Group Inc. (MO) has a market cap of $120.66 billion, and during the last 12 months has outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 19.4%. Currently six gurus are holding the company that has returned 9% year-to-date and 146% during the last five years. It is now trading with a P/E ratio of 23 and according to the DCF calculator, it looks overpriced by 115%.


  • Tom Russo on Emerging Markets and Berkshire Share Buy Back

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner, told Bloomberg yesterday that value investors will make money over time, and it will depend on the ability of the companies in which they've invested to reinvest the money over time. Russo has large positions in Richemont (XSWX:CFR), Pernod (XPAR:RI), Heineken (XAMS:HEIA), which have large exposure to emerging markets. But most of his companies have a long-term outlook and ability to withstand sudden downturns such as China, he said.

    Russo also said he maintains confidence in Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio)'s ability to deploy large amounts of capital but he likely lacks opportunity at the present time. He doubts Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) will repurchase shares on their recent slump because Buffett would rather spend the money on buying businesses.


  • Tom Russo Cuts Berkshire, Unilever Stakes

    Tom Russo joined Gardner Russo & Gardner as a partner in 1989. His investment philosophy emphasizes return on invested capital, principally through equity investments. His approach to stock selection stresses two main points: value and price. He manages a portfolio composed of 104 stocks with total value of $11,073 million.

    The following were his largest trades during the third quarter.


  • Why GEICO's Growth Rate Took Off in the Late 1990s

    Over time, I’ve wrote a handful of articles about GEICO. Back in July, I discussed Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.B) sizable investments in GEICO in 1976 and 1980 (it accounted for nearly 25% of Berkshire’s equity investments by 1977) and what happened over the ensuing years. I ended that article with this quote from Warren Buffett's (Trades, Portfolio) 1995 shareholder letter – the year Berkshire acquired the 49% of GEICO it did not already own for $2.3 billion:


  • AB Inbev and SABMiller Agree on Merger

    On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) and SABMiller PLC (SBMRY) reported a merger agreement that would combine the world’s two largest beer makers. After nearly two months of negotiations, SABMiller has agreed to the acquisition which, at its final price, values SABMiller at $108 billion or $66.50 per SABMiller share.

    After board agreement, the acquisition will now undergo regulatory approval which could take up to a year to finalize. Under terms of the agreement SABMiller will be required to sell its MillerCoors LLC ownership and its Miller portfolio in order to reduce competitive hurdles that could slow the regulatory approval process.


  • Global Value Investing – Tom Russo Talks at Google

    Long-term patient value investing: The majority of the money that trades on the stock market every day is certainly not done so using that philosophy.

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) is a proven long-term investor.


  • My Evolution as an 'Intrinsic Value Seeker'

    I’ve been asked many times, “What do you think the intrinsic value is for this company?” Two years ago my answer would be “the intrinsic value of this company is $50, if you assume x% of free cash flow growth in the next few years and y% terminal free cash flow growth and y% discount rate.” If you ask me this question today, I would say, “First of all, that depends on my opportunity cost, which is reflected in the discount rate I use and secondly, over what period of time?”

    This evolution comes from learnings from my personal experiences, and conversations with some of the best value investors such as Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), Donald Yacktman, David Rolfe, etc. In the first few years of my value investing journey, I was a firm believer of the conventional wisdom, which says whatever method you use, be it DCF, liquidation value or the Multiple approach, one should calculate the range of intrinsic value of the security and apply a margin of safety when buying the security. If the intrinsic value of the company according to your calculation is $100 per share, you pay $70.


  • Tom Russo Adds to Long-Time Holding in Philip Morris

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) looks for value and price when making stock selections. If the firm in which he is a general partner with responsibility for $3 billion, Semper Vic Partners, can be said to reflect the influence of his investing philosophy, its success is undeniable. Semper Vic Partners has produced returns of 6.1%, 21.9% and 24.4% in the last three years.

    Russo’s most significant second-quarter acquisition was his addition of 334,598 shares to his stake in Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), a cigarette and tobacco company headquartered in New York City and a fixture in his portfolio, for an average price of $82.16 per share. The deal had a 0.24% impact on Russo’s portfolio.


  • Value Investor Tom Russo on the Power of Consumer Brands

    Early in his career, Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) achieved tremendous investment returns by purchasing cheap but not great companies, and then waited for the market to properly value the company.

    Later in his career, Buffett moved toward buying high quality companies at reasonable valuation metrics because these companies could reinvest capital at high rates of return for decades.


  • Nestle and Capacity to Suffer

    It is no secret to the readers on this forum that I am huge admirer of Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) and the idea of the “capacity to suffer.” Businesses with capacity to suffer are rare to find so once you find one, you would want to keep them for a very long time. The question then becomes, how can we identify businesses with the capacity to suffer when we don’t have access to management team the way Russo does? Here I am reminded of the answer Tom Gayner gave to a question he was asked on the Google Campus (link to the article):

    I spent more time reading about people using the exact same resources that you would have access to as well as annual reports, proxy statements and magazine articles. And I try to think and just look and get a gut feeling and make some judgment and discernment whether these people are acting in a way that’s reasonable. I encourage you to think about things in that dimension.


  • Tom Russo on Wealth Track – Long-Term Value

    I’ve written in the past on what I have learned from one of the greatest global investors – Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio). I think the concepts of “capacity to suffer” and “capacity to reinvest” are profound. In this outstanding interview with Consuela Mack, Mr. Russo generously shared his further thoughts on “capacity to reinvest.”


  • How Harley-Davidson Stumbled – Value Investor Tom Russo

    A strong brand name is a powerful moat abound a business.

    Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has one and that is why it occupies a permanent position in the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) portfolio. Ditto for American Express (NYSE:AXP).


  • Value Investor Tom Russo Discusses Portfolio Management And His Favorite Valuation Metric

    In 2008 Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) was able to take profits on several of his core U.S. focused businesses and redeploy those proceeds into bargain international operators.

    Now those international companies represent a large percentage of his portfolio.  

  • A Weekend in Omaha

    This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend my fourth Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. A few readers that I regularly talk with wanted to know how it went in addition to my takeaways from the weekend’s events; those are the things the remainder of this article will focus on.

    My weekend started Thursday night with a dinner at the University of Nebraska at Omaha put together by Value Investor Conference. The speaker at the event was Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), portfolio manager at Gardner Russo & Gardner, an investor that I’ve considered well worth listening to for some time; unsurprisingly, he didn’t disappoint. Much of his speech focused on the concept of “capacity to suffer” – essentially, the willingness of management (in this case, at publicly held corporations) to act in a manner that may negatively impact short-term results.


  • 20 Questions Newsletter Featuring Tom Russo is Ready for Downlaod

    We have recently added "20 Questions with the Gurus" to our website for subscribers to enjoy. Each month, we will interview a new guru, using the questions you submit. Premium members will have higher priority when we choose which questions to submit.

    In addition to reading the interview, subscribers will also have the ability to download the exclusive 20 Questions newsletter. Below is a sample of what the newsletters will look like. This month's features global investor, Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio).


  • Globetrotting the Tom Russo Way

    Almost three weeks ago, I wrote an article on global investing, which you can find here. In the end, I stated the following:


  • Exclusive Interview With Tom Russo Part II

    This is the second portion of the interview we conducted with Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio). The first part of ther interview can be found here. We would like to thank our readers again for the questions submitted. Due to time, we were unable to ask all of them.

    6.The power of brands as “a share of the consumer’s mind” is clearly quite important to you and the cash flow that comes from that sort of moat. Any thoughts on technology brands (ex: Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG))?


  • Exclusive Q&A Interview With Tom Russo Part I

    We recently had the opportunity to interview guru Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) of Gardner Russo & Gardner about his investment strategies in global investing, as well as how he became an investor. The questions asked are from our readers.

    Although we received around 44 questions, we were only able to use 15 of them due to time constraints, but we thank all of your for your submissions and encourage you to please continue to submit your questions for our Q&A’s with the gurus.


  • How to Think About Brands – Tom Russo of Gardner Russo & Gardner

  • Exclusive GuruFocus Q&A With Global Value Investor Tom Russo Coming Soon

    Global value investor Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) of Gardner Russo & Gardner has agreed to participate in a Q&A with GuruFocus within the next week. If you, the readers and subscribers, have any questions you would like for us to ask Mr. Russo, please post them in the comment box below.

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio)'s Investment Style


  • Value Investor Tom Russo On The China Factor

    Investors are always leery of China. Respected value investor Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) has plenty of exposure to China, but it is through large multi-national countries.

    The growth over the next 30 years is going to be faster in the emerging markets than it will be in developed countries. Russo believes that exposure to that growth is a good idea.


  • Happy Thanksgiving Thoughts – Give and Take

    Each year during this time of the year, I would take some time out and think about the things in life that I am extremely thankful for. The list usually ends up very long but a few of them jump out easily. On this year’s is a book recommendation by one of my heroes – Mohnish Pabrai (Trades, Portfolio). And this book is called Give and Take, masterfully done by Adam Grant.

    This book is about why helping others drivers out success. It is a fascinating idea. Essentially the author claims that there are three types of people – givers, matchers and takers. Takers are people who like to get more than they give, and they tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of other’s needs. Givers are the exact opposite. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. They are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them. Matchers strive to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. They operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity.


  • Tom Russo's Quarterly Investments Focus on Food and Drink Stocks

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), general partner of the Semper Vic Partners and Semper Vic Partners (Q.P.) limited partnerships, says his funds are relatively concentrated, and you certainly can see a concentration in his investments in the third quarter – largely in food and drink stocks.

    His investment philosophy emphasizes return on invested capital, principally through equity investments. Semper Vic Partners returned 24.4% in 2012, considerably better than 2011 (6.7%) and better than 2010 (21.5%).


  • Tom Russo Buys Pernod Ricard, Nestle SA, CIE Financiere, Sells Goldman Sachs

    Renowned value investor Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) runs a concentrated portfolio full of European family run beverage business and he has done very well with them. It is easy to imitate them as his portfolio turnover is very low. He buys and holds, rarely sells. These are some activities of his during the third quarter of 2014. To learn more about him, please read Transcript of Tom Russo’s Talk at Value Investor Conference.  

  • Motley Fool's Top Positions in the Financial Sector

    Recently, hedge funds have been filing their form 13-F, which is a quarterly report of equity holdings by filed institutional investment managers with at least $100 million in equity assets under management, as required by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. In this article, let´s concentrate in one particular hedge fund and try to see the principal holdings in its portfolio. I will look into Motley Fool Asset Management.

    Recently, the fund reported its equity portfolio ended September. The total value of the portfolio amounted to $492.4 million, down from $521.5 million disclosed at the end of the previous quarter. Consequently, the fund's equity market change value was negative 21.5 million in the last quarter. The filing revealed that at the end of September, the fund added three new positions to its equity portfolio and sold out three positions. The top 10 portfolio holdings as of the end of the quarter represented 29.03%. The largest changes from previous 13-Fs fillings are in the energy and consumer discretionary sectors.


  • Value Investor Tom Russo Discusses The Power Of Brands

    Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) makes big bets on companies that have large protective moats around their business. One of the very best types of moats is a bullet-proof brand that is entrenched globally.

    The perfect example is Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) which Buffett made a huge investment in during the late 1980s and early '90s and still holds today.


  • Tom Russo On His Thoughts On Brand Power

    Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio) of Gardner Russo &Gardner discusses his thoughts on brand power of companies that have strong brand recognition with the goods they sell. He also discusses how simple companies with strong brand product are to understand, and how to value.


  • Tom Russo on Why Investors Should Not "China Cleanse" Their Portfolios

  • Tom Russo - Investors Should Not China Cleanse Their Portfolios

    There is a great deal of fear around the near and mid term future of China.

    Word is that China has the biggest property bubble in the history of the world, and we know how our property bubble in the Western world ended last decade.


  • 'Extreme Patience' One Month at a Time

    After a period of steadily rising markets, we’ve reached a bit of a standstill (or at least what can be described as a standstill by comparison to the market's strong results in 2013). Presently, there doesn’t seem to be much to do for the investor: With limited new investments to be found (or in my experience, at least compared to the relative ease in 2011), patience is the order of the day.

    But for some, patience is unfathomable: They are all action, all the time. They can’t imagine a week without buying or selling their partial ownership interest in a handful of companies, let alone a month or two. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal captured this obsession with activity – for activity’s sake – perfectly: “Like Mr. Klarman, [David] Abrams is known to be patient to the extreme. He will sit on a static portfolio for months without making a move.” It’s pretty amazing that sitting for a few months without buying or selling is considered extreme…


  • The True Value of Macro Forecasting for Value Investors

    While in Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting a couple of weeks ago, I participated in an investment panel hosted by a local chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. I had the privilege of sharing the stage with such industry giants as Tom Russo (Trades, Portfolio), a partner of Gardner Russo & Gardner (famous for knowing more about consumer stocks than the management that runs them), and Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio), president and CIO of Markel Corp. (NYSE:MKL), a specialty insurance company that on many levels resembles the Berkshire of 30 years ago.

    We were asked how much time a value investor should spend on macro forecasting. Usually macro forecasting is frowned upon in the value investing community, and Berkshire (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) has everything to do with that. He is famous for saying (and I am paraphrasing), “My decision making would not change even if I knew what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates next month.” There is sound logic behind this: Forecasting the economy is incredibly difficult in the short run. The economy is not unlike a black box with hundreds of gauges on it that in the near term give you conflicting readings about what’s inside it.  

  • Break Up Berkshire Hathaway? Tom Russo Doesn't Think So

  • Most-Owned International Stocks of Investment Gurus

    The MSCI All Country World Index pulled in 23.44% for 2013, its highest gain since 2009. This was almost as high as the S&P 500, which soared 32.31% for the year, its own greatest rise in more than a decade.

    Sarah Ketterer (Trades, Portfolio)’s Causeway Capital runs six global funds. Their team attributed much of the global gain in the latter part of last year to generous government economic policy:


  • GuruFocus Reports Weekly Top Dividend Growers

    During the past week, GuruFocus recognized five companies as dividend growers. In order to be qualified for this list, the company had to:

    · Have a dividend yield of greater than 3%.  

  • Gurus Lite on Nissan, Heineken and Syngenta at a 52-Week Low

    The GuruFocus special feature 52-week low screener reveals that Heineken N.V. (HEINY), Syngenta AG (NYSE:SYT) and Nissan Motor (NSANY) are currently at or near a 52-week low. These stocks are highlighted because, contrary to their global brand recognition, the guru ownership is fairly light. It is a curiosity especially in the case of Nissan, since the sole guru stakeholder Ken Fisher averaged a 90% gain over a five-year history.

    With one foot in the future, Nissan Motor has designed working prototypes that claim to turn driving into gliding. Their future car designs will build on Nissan’s passion for zero-emission technology and the Nissan LEAF, the best-selling all-electric vehicle in history. Over 87,000 Nissan LEAF cars are on the road, according to a company press release.   

  • Morgan Stanley Global Franchise Fund's Top Five

    Late last week the MS Global Franchise Fund released their third quarter portfolio. Their most recent portfolio update highlighted 29 stocks, with three of them being new buys occurring in the third quarter. The fund’s third quarter portfolio is valued at $592 million and displays a Q/Q turnover of 9%.

    The following five companies represent the five largest positions amongst MS Global Franchise Fund’s third quarter portfolio.  

  • The Real Definition of Intrinsic Value

    I may be naïve in saying this, but the world of investing baffles me; actually, let me rephrase that – the way that the vast majority of people approach the world of investing baffles me.

    One prominent example, and the focus of this article, is intrinsic value. Value investors are intimately familiar with intrinsic value, much like a group of worshipers reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll use the definition from “The Little Book of Valuation”:  

  • Top Five Stocks Held by International Gurus

    By using GuruFocus’ Aggregated Portfolio Screener, we filtered through the gurus to see what stocks were the most popular amongst the 21 international gurus. The top five most popular stocks are all held by at least five international gurus.

    Nestle SA (XSWX:NESN)

  • Thomas Russo - In Investing, "Then What?" Is a Very Good Question

    Business Outlook India interviews successful value investor Thomas Russo:

    An influential event in his life was Warren Buffett’s visit to Professor Jack McDonald’s class in 1984 at Stanford Business School. What struck him about Buffett was that he came across as a person who spent most of his time thinking about things that made sense to him, unlike things they taught at Stanford, which didn’t make any sense to him. For someone who started off as a bond analyst and later became an analyst with the Sequoia Fund, Thomas A Russohas really come a long way to make his mark as a value investor. He manages over $6 billion through separately managed accounts and the flagship Semper Vic Partners Fund. Russo has delivered a net annualised return of 12.61% since inception against 8.48% for the S&P 500. The 58-year-old attributes a large part of his success to Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy that propounds the importance of focusing on what you know and stretching your investing horizon to allow companies to compound value. Not surprisingly, a large part of his portfolio comprises foods, spirits and consumer companies that he believes have global brands, extensive reinvestment opportunities and the potential to keep growing.  

  • Tom Russo Interview with GuruFocus at the 10th Annual Value Investor Conference

    This interview took place on May 2, before Tom Russo gave his presentation to the 10th Annual Value Investor Conference in Omaha. Russo is a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner, a firm with over $5 billion under management. He was previously at the Sequoia Fund, and has degrees from Dartmouth and Stanford. Last year, his partnership returned 22%.

    Holly LaFon: Every time your portfolio comes out, I want to know if you bought a new stock, and every time the answer is no, you haven’t bought anything new.  

  • Tom Russo On Attending Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Meeting

    Tom Russo is a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner and has managed to beat the S&P 500 index by 4.7 percentage points annually between 1984 and 2011.

    That is a significant outperformance for a man managing billions of dollars.  

  • Ask a Guru: Tom Russo, Tom Gayner and David Rolfe

    GuruFocus will be attending the 10th Annual Value Investor Conference in Omaha on Thursday and Friday, May 2 and 3, and talking to some of your favorite investors – Tom Russo, Tom Gayner and David Rolfe. We will also ask them some reader questions. If you have anything about investing you would like to ask them, submit them in the comments section below. We’ll pose the questions at the conference and post the answers on the site.

    About the Investors  

  • Tom Russo's Presentation - 2013 Ben Graham Value Investing Conference

  • Global Investor Tom Russo’s Top Six Holdings

    As a world traveler that brings a global perspective and the old-fashioned value of suffering market patience to his investing strategy, Tom Russo of Gardner Russo & Gardner is long on European companies, new markets and multi-nationals. Russo’s updated portfolio lists 255 stocks (34 of them new), a total value of $8.5 billion and a quarter-over-quarter turnover of 6%.

    As of quarter ending March 31, 2013, here are Guru Tom Russo’s top six holdings:  

  • Value Investor Tom Russo Buys More Philip Morris International, Nestle, Wells Fargo, Berkshire Hathaway

    Renowned value investor Tom Russo made most of his money by investing in companies that produce food, drinks, cigarettes, as well as Berkshire Hathaway. He loves high-quality companies with family-oriented management. Over the past five years, his fund Semper Vic Partners averaged 6.8% a year, while the S&P500 gained just 1.5% a year.

    Though a value investor, Tom Russo loves growth. He prefers to pay 50 cents on a dollar that grows. To understand more about how he invests, read Transcript of Tom Russo’s Talk at Value Investor Conference.   

  • 75-Minute Interview with Value Investor Tom Russo

    Thomas A. Russo has been a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner since 1989. The firm has over $5 billion under management, and he oversees $4 billion as general partner of Semper Vic Partners limited partnerships, as well as in individually managed accounts. Prior to joining Gardner Russo & Gardner, Russo was at the Sequoia Fund. Russo is a graduate of Dartmouth and has an MBA and JD from Stanford.


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