Alvaro Guzman de Lazaro and Fernando Bernad, founders and co-CIOs of Spanish investment firm Azvalor, are taking questions from GuruFocus readers this week. To ask your question, post it in the comments below.
Guzman de Lazaro, who is also the firm’s CEO, was a portfolio manager at Bestinver Asset Management for 12 years before founding Azvalor.
He began his career in 1994 in the auditing division of Arthur Andersen (Madrid), later joining Bankers Trust in Paris. Guzman began working as a stock market analyst in 1997 at the fund management company Value Management (Frankfurt), which was founded by a former colleague of the renowned Peter Lynch. During this period, he studied in depth and applied the teachings of the founding fathers of the value school: Benjamin Graham, Philip Fisher, Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio), Peter Lynch, etc. After this experience, he began to manage family portfolios and returned to Spain, working as an analyst at Beta Capital. There, he specialized in the oil and gas industry and also studied and visited almost every Spanish listed company.
In 2001, he joined the research department at Banesto Bolsa, taking a large part of his team with him. There, Guzman de Lazaro performed a similar role to his remit at Beta Capital (as analyst and head of other analysts), conducting in-depth research on foreign listed companies following the strict requirements of the value school of thought. He joined Bestinver in March 2003, being part of the portfolio management team until leaving the firm in January 2015.
Guzman de Lazaro holds a degree in European Business Science, a law diploma from UNED and is a CFA charter holder. He speaks French, English and German. Since 1999, he has been a professor on fundamental analysis at the Spanish Institute of Financial Analysts and at IEB.
As for Bernad, he holds a degree in European Business (summa cum laude, jointly from ICADE, Madrid and Northeastern University, Boston) and is a CFA charter holder.
He began his professional career as an investment analyst in 1998, spending two years at Frankfurt Value Management & Research. Bernad returned to Spain in 2000 and joined the private equity sector as an associate with BNP Paribas’ Leveraged Finance team. He then joined the research team at Banesto as an analyst on the cyclical sector (steel and oil) and later moved to lead the research team at Interdin, where his strategy focused on generating investment ideas based on value principles.
In 2005, he joined Vetusta Group as CIO, and in the two years at the helm of Vetusta, he achieved for his equity investors an annualized return of around 30%. Bernad joined the portfolio management team at Bestinver in February 2007, where he worked until December 2014.
Taking a long-term approach, Azvalor invests in good businesses that offer sustainable competitive advantages over time, high returns on capital employed, are led by a strong management team that oversees its shareholders’ interests and whose intrinsic value is not reflected in their share price.
Guzman de Lazaro and Bernad are happy to share their investing expertise with you. Again, to ask them a question about investing, simply post it in the comments section below! GuruFocus will post their answers in an upcoming article.