Carl Kawaja – Wisdom from Decades of Investing

Posted on August 1, 2021 by Florian Buschek

I listen to pretty much every episode from Patrick O’Shaughnessy but this is another very special one with Carl Kawaja.

Carl Kawaja is a long-time portfolio manager at Capital Group. We cover Carl’s criteria for building conviction around long-term holdings, his views on uncertainty, and his belief that failure is key to a great investing career.

Lots of nuggets and wisdom in there.
One example, he talks about TSMC and what makes it special. He compares it to his mom cooking. She is able to make a meal for 14 people and have everything perfect. The steak is warm, the salad cold, the desert right on time etc
He can watch her doing it and yet when he tries it that would be a disaster.
Similarly TSMC has the know how and expertise that nobody else has.

Capital Group is not just any firm either. Mark Gomes for example had this to say

Capital Group is no joke. Among the smartest firms I ever serviced 💯

Show Notes

[00:03:38] – [First question] – The two companies he has owned the longest and what they’ve taught him as an investor 

[00:16:37] – Discussing his investment style through the lens of simplicity

[00:24:35] – A time where he worked to try and create a simplified equation but couldn’t 

[00:29:59] – Discussing his investment style through the lens of echolocation and ambiguity 

[00:36:03] – Thoughts on whether buying well or holding well is more difficult

[00:40:39] – Capital Group’s history and his river-rafting analogy in regards to the company

[00:47:48] – What he means by “The Empire Strikes Back” and relevant market themes

[00:54:50] – A brief summary of “The Empire Strikes Back”

[00:58:42] – Common reasons that he may have gotten something really wrong 

[01:03:34] – Impressions made on him by the poet Rilke

[01:09:00] – The work of Brunello Cucinelli and the nature of quality 

[01:13:08] – Advice for new investors who want to step into the field and set themselves up for success 

[01:17:39] – What he’s learned about kindness

[01:19:54] – The kindest thing that anyone has ever done for him

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