GuruFocus is pleased to announce that our latest guru, Zeke Ashton, will be answering reader questions this week. Ashton is the founder and managing partner of Centaur Capital Partners, a Dallas-based asset management company, where he manages approximately $110 million. Centaur Capital Partners is also the general partner and investment advisor to the Centaur Value Fund, a long-biased, value-oriented private investment partnership.
Centaur Capital’s risk management strategy has resulted in it decreasing only 6.9% in 2008, compared to the 37-40% declines of the S&P and NASDAQ composite indexes. The Centaur Value Fund had gained 134 percent by the end of IQ09, while the NASDAQ composite returned 15 percent and the S&P 500 index -0.3 percent.
Overall, the hedge fund has had an annualized return since inception of CVF +17% per year vs. S&P500 +6.6%.
Centaur’s investment philosophy is based on value principles. Ashton selects stock investments according to true business value as reflected by asset value, cash flow generation, management quality, and the competitive advantages of the underlying businesses when stocks are available at compelling prices, his website states.
Additionally, Ashton manages the Tilson Dividend Fund, where he chooses stocks he believes are undervalued by at least 50%, and usually concentrates his best investment ideas.
The Tilson Dividend Fund has had outstanding results. Its 5-year cumulative gain in 2010 was 58.7%, and its 5-year cumulative for the S&P500 was 12.2%.
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Ashton’s top holdings are LH, CLMS, TTT, BBY, MVC, NOC.
Prior to founding his own firm, Aston was a full-time analyst and writer at The Motley Fool. While at the Motley Fool, he organized seminars on biotech and small-cap stock investing, wrote investment strategy columns, and was co-creator and editor of subscription newsletters. Ashton was also previously employed in Switzerland at Infiniti Systems as a senior analyst and project manager, and in New York for Wall Street Systems, where he was an analyst and project manager and did consulting for clients in Europe. Ashton graduated from Austin College with degrees in Economics and German.
For Zeke to answer your investing questions, simply submit them in the comment box below. We will compile the questions and send them to Zeke.