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This Value Hedge Fund Was Up 107%: We Sat Down With The CEO/CIO To Discuss How He Did It [In-Depth]

ValueWalk's Raul Panganiban interviews John C. Thompson, the Founder of Vilas Capital Management. See their Q4 2019 letter here.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Interview with Vilas Capital's John C. Thompson
 

Trasncript

Hello podcast listeners. Today's a very special episode with John C. Thompson, CFA. He's the founder, Chairman and CEO of Vilas Capital Management. He founded Vilas in 2010. Before this, he was Founder President and CIO for Mortgage Insurance Corporation in 2009. He also worked as Vice President and CIO for Thompson Investment Management Inc. John was an officer of the Thompson Plumb Funds Inc, from 1995 to 2009, and President and COO from 2004 to 2009. He graduated University of Wisconsin, with a BS in engineering. He also earned his MBA from University of Chicago. In today's episode, we discuss his approach and where he finds value today. I want to welcome John to the show, and I want to welcome all our listeners to a very special episode.

Hello, podcast listeners. This podcast is sponsored by the Hidden Value Stocks newsletter, publish once a quarter. The Hidden Value Stocks newsletter contains at least two interviews with up and coming hedge fund managers and their top two favourite investment ideas. Each newsletter subscriber not only receives a detailed investment thesis on each idea, but we will also provide direct access to the funds profile as well as their quarterly updates. We are proud to report that the average annualised return of all 60 stocks profile in Hidden Value Stocks since inception is 27.9% within average holding period of 319 days. To download a 10 page teaser issue or sign up for a five day free trial, head over to HiddenValueStocks.com. Podcast listeners can get 35% off the annual subscription price with the discount code VIP19.

Welcome to value talk with Raul.

And just wanted to welcome all our listeners to a very special episode. I have John Thompson, founder and CEO, Vilas Capital. And john, welcome to the show.

Hey, thanks for having me.

All right, yeah, if we can just begin with your background and what led you to finance and investing?

So my background is I have a mechanical engineering degree and from the University of Wisconsin, and then I got an MBA in finance from University Chicago. My family was in the business. My father specifically ran a investment division for a bank that has now part of US Bank was called first Wisconsin. And, you know, as a young kid, we used to go on vacations. And we tended to go to where he had conferences and drag me along at various times to the Raymond James conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, or there was a firm called Dean Bosworth. And they had a conference in Vail, Colorado. And I'd attend the meetings as a 13-14 year old kid and listen to Medtronic speak and Boeing and all that kind of thing. And ended up working with my father for 16 years on the mutual fund business. We had a very, very small, mutual fund business with and he relatively quickly after I joined him in 93, he asked me to help improve the performance of the funds, if I could. And started working on this equity fund and bond fund simultaneously for about 15-16 years, and both of them ended up becoming pretty big funds. They were, I think, under $20 million combined when I started working on them, and by the time we sold the business, you know, they're in the equity fund got us over one and a half billion in the bond fund at over 3 billion in size. So, you know, the interesting period of time and it was, with indexing becoming a bigger and bigger slice of the market, we decided to sell the business. And after that, I started the Vilas Fund in 2010. And I've been working on that, sort of incubating and like we did the other funds until hard numbers are such that, you know, the hits the phone just sort of rings off the hook at certain points in time and just sort of waiting for that period of time to tap in here.

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