I would have loved to have owned Assurant (and several other insurance names, like Prudential and MetLife) over the last several years, but I could not do so because I there are limitations on the stocks that I can own in my personal account. I pick insurance stocks for the hedge funds that I work for. I can’t personally buy if the stock is within 10% of the price that I recommend the funds to buy. I can’t sell until the last share held by the funds is sold.
This has held back performance on my broad market portfolio. Value managers always own financials. So what financials do I own now? Allstate, but I bought it prior to coming to the hedge funds, and ABN Amro, Barclays plc, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Deerfield Triarc. I offered each one to the hedge funds and they passed (excluding Allstate). I’ve made good money on all of them.
I would also add that I would buy HCC Insurance in this environment, though the funds I work for have passed on it. It would be politically ugly for me to get clearance to buy it, but I pass it on to my readers as a well run, high quality insurer trading at a cheap price.
I do have a few other restrictions that I should mention. For the good of the firm that I work for, I can’t mention companies that we are short without permission from the legal area. Also, I don’t mention companies that we own until we have built our initial position. Also, I usually don’t discuss microcaps that we own, but I’m willing to discuss any company that readers bring up, and my firm’s 13F is a matter of record. Finally, for now, I can’t talk about Scottish Re, which was my major mistake in 2006.
Beyond that, I can talk about almost anything. Let’s get the conversation started.Disclosure: the funds that I work for are long Assurant, Prudential, MetLife, and a teensy amount of SCT. I am presently long DFR, ABN, RBSPF, and BCS.