Investment Philosophy & Process

Investment Philosophy & Process

We invest selectively, independently—taking a long-term perspective. Our active, concentrated portfolio strategy allows us to pursue our most compelling investment ideas. We consistently apply a disciplined, proven investment process, refined over decades and tested in virtually every market environment.

Philosophy

Our investment philosophy is built on our core belief that growth can and should be achieved at a reasonable price. We:

  • Build high conviction, concentrated portfolios with a long-term investment time horizon
  • Employ a bottom-up research process to identify mispriced securities and unique opportunities
  • Seek long-term relative outperformance through active management and selective investing
  • Invest with a bias toward small- and mid-size companies
  • Use fixed income allocations to balance the risk in portfolios—where appropriate and based on client objectives

Investment Process

A consistent and repeatable process

Comprehensive, rigorous bottom-up analysis with long-term focus allows us to look beyond short-term noise and identify what we believe is the fundamental value of a security.

This includes a focus on stocks where valuations are compelling, management teams and balance sheets are strong, and any dislocations appear temporary in nature.

The result is a portfolio that gives investors upside opportunity through carefully selected stocks while potentially reducing overall risk through fixed income holdings when applicable.

1
Equity Research
2
Bottom-Up Focus
3
Investment Committee
4
Portfolio Construction
5
Risk Management
1
Equity Research
  • Generate ideas from long-term relationships with research analysts and partners
  • Visit companies and management teams
  • Attend conferences and investor days
  • Interview competitors, suppliers, customers and others.
2
Bottom-Up Focus

"We invest in companies, not stocks."

What we look for to Identify quality companies

  • Reasonable/low debt
  • Strong free cash flow
  • Low price/earnings (P/E) ratio relative to growth
  • Stock has potential for multiple expansion—an increase in the price-earnings ratio
  • Strong management team
  • Dominant market share with high barriers to entry—companies that dominate in their space
  • Primarily small and mid-size companies—ability to invest in companies of all market capitalizations
  • Stocks that may be out of favor, overlooked or relatively unknown
3
Investment Committee
  • Decisions are made by the Investment Committee, comprised of the four partners
  • Our nimble, team-based approach fosters an open exchange of ideas
  • Four distinct, multi-generational perspectives collaborate on our best ideas
  • We rigorously discuss every opportunity
  • All trades are reviewed both from an investment perspective and a client appropriateness viewpoint
  • We have the flexibility to act decisively, unhampered by big-firm bureaucracy
4
Portfolio Construction

Separately Managed Accounts

  • Seek guidance from the client regarding income needs, risk tolerance, and time horizon
  • Establish a framework for the types of stocks and bonds that are appropriate for the client
  • Recommend asset allocation (% of stocks and bonds)
  • Choose securities on a discretionary basis

Equity portfolio 

  • A selective, concentrated portfolio of Villere’s 20-30 best ideas
  • Largely a function of our bottom-up process of finding “growth at a reasonable price” opportunities
  • Sector and industry weightings are a by-product of bottom-up investment decisions
  • Low turnover—the average stock held for over 5 years

Fixed income portfolio

  • Focus on corporate and municipal bonds
  • Primarily newly issued bonds—we selectively buy bonds in the secondary market
  • Mainly investment-grade bonds
  • High-yield bonds are used in certain circumstances—usually when we know the company well from our equity research efforts
  • Typically hold bonds until maturity
  • Diversify maturities to minimize volatility

 

5
Risk Management
  • Focus on quality companies with solid fundamentals
  • Look for strong cash flow that supports balance sheet
  • May decrease more volatile, high beta stocks based on the market environment
  • Increase cash or fixed income allocation as needed
  • Diversify bond maturities to minimize volatility
  • Conscious of sector over/under weights