by Rachel Seagrest (GSB ’14)
After sitting in on a presentation made by one of Mario Gabelli’s top men in Europe, I could not be more proud to attend a business school that bears the Gabelli name.
On November 12, Fordham’s London Centre welcomed a visitor from GAMCO Investors, Inc., the company owned by Mario Gabelli (GSB ’65). Kevin Dreyer, an associate portfolio manager who works on several of the company’s funds, came to share some valuable insights about how the firm works.
Mr. Dreyer emphasized the company’s straightforward approach to investing. He said that analysts at GAMCO do much of their research the old-fashioned way: They pore over a company’s documents, such as 10-Ks and 10-Qs, to figure out its true value. GAMCO focuses on undervalued stock using an All Cap Value approach, and to gauge its progress in that pursuit, employees at GAMCO attend meetings each morning to discuss their projects. It seems simple enough, and practical measures like these have led the company to success.
What struck me most was Mr. Dreyer’s advice to “stick to companies you know.” At GAMCO, Mr. Dreyer is a beverage-sector analyst, among many other titles, so the examples he included in his presentation were companies he knows best, such as Coca-Cola and Beam. He encouraged us to do a little research on our own favorite brands to figure out their business models. If you love running, for example, check up on how your favorite running-gear company, perhaps Asics or Nike, is faring in the market. Has it come out with new products? Is it involved in any sponsorships? What is the company doing to make money? These are factors that interest investors, and they ought to interest you, too.
Fordham always brings in highly qualified guest speakers, but having someone who represented the Gabelli name was exceptional. I am studying neither finance nor accounting, but I appreciated what Mr. Dreyer had to say about investing strategies and how things work at GAMCO. He didn’t use any confusing terminology, and he answered our questions with ease. Before this talk, I had thought of “Gabelli” only as my college’s name. After learning about Mario Gabelli’s business strategies from an employee’s perspective, I believe that Gabelli is not only someone to look up to but also a name to live by.
For those interested in investing, Mr. Dreyer provided a few reading suggestions, which I have included here:
- Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
- Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
- You Can Be a Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt
- The Money Game by Adam Smith
- One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
Image courtesy of the World News Inc. web site. Photographs were taken at the London Centre event, but unfortunately, the lighting in the room was insufficient for us to use our own images. Many thanks to World News for helping us to fill the gap.