ELEVATION CAPITAL IS A GLOBAL INVESTOR
Elevation Capital Management Limited (“Elevation Capital”) is founded on the philosophy of “Independent Thinking – Disciplined Investing”.
We are a value oriented global investor who researches and seeks to invest in undervalued companies. We are unconstrained by geography, industry and market capitalisation, allowing us to focus on long-term returns while seeking to minimise the risks of permanent capital loss.
In today’s rapidly changing investment world where investment management firms abound, selecting the right firms to manage your capital is one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make. Selecting firms with strong governance, transparency, a clear common interest, and above everything else, intelligent investment decisions for its clients is of utmost importance. Elevation Capital is a New Zealand based global investment manager founded in 2007 by Christopher Swasbrook, Andrew Harmos and Craig Stobo. Elevation Capital was established with a firm belief that the value investing philosophy is proven to outperform most other investment methodologies over the long term and that investors in general need to think global in their asset allocation. Our investments are premised on the concept of “Margin of Safety” which we believe reduces risk. This means we seek to acquire investments that are sufficiently cheap so that there is a margin of safety, which minimises the risk of incurring permanent capital loss. Therefore, it is unlikely you will see us investing in the “fashionable” areas of the market. The concept of “Margin of Safety” was first brought to investors by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd in the book “Security Analysis” the core principles of which hold true today. In determining our “Margin of Safety”, Elevation Capital typically focuses on the company’s balance sheet and cashflow generation. This coupled with research into peer companies, corporate mergers, acquisitions and liquidations allows us to assess the “Margin of Safety” on offer. A review of Elevation Capital’s portfolios will detail investments which exhibit one or all of the following characteristics: low price in relation to net asset value / intrinsic value* (corporate net worth), low debt levels**, as well as a consistent history of paying dividends or returning capital to shareholders. We understand our role as fiduciaries and have made our remuneration as Investment Managers transparent for all investors. All our directors and executives are invested in our fund to ensure a common interest with our investors. Our firm-wide assets under management and advice have grown from NZ$ 8 million at inception to approximately NZ$ 210 million today, and we now manage investments on a global basis for both institutional and individual investors. We hope this website provides you with a useful insight into Elevation Capital. Additionally, our fund documents all provide a transparent view of the firm’s philosophies, people, portfolios and communications.
* Net Asset Value / Intrinsic Value – is also referred to as “Private Market Value”. Collectively we define them as the value an informed buyer would pay to purchase assets with similar characteristics. We measure Net Asset Value / Intrinsic Value or Private Market Value by scrutinising on and off balance sheet assets, liabilities and free cash flow. We also examine valuations and transactions in the public domain to formulate our view of possible future value.
**Low Debt Levels – can be assessed relative to tangible and/or intangible assets, free cash flow, the industry in which a company operates, or versus peers within an industry.
WHAT IS VALUE INVESTING?
In the simplest terms, value investing is attempting to buy an asset for less than its estimated worth, (which may or may not in fact be the case). At Elevation Capital it is about finding a well-run company with sound long-term prospects and investing at a time when its shares are selling at a discount. And if the shares aren’t selling at a discount, it’s about having the discipline and patience to wait until the price comes our way. The term “Margin of Safety”, was coined by Benjamin Graham, regarded as the father of value investing. He considered it to be the guiding principle to investing. This margin is the difference between the company’s estimated intrinsic value and the current price of the shares. As value investors, we measure what an informed buyer might pay for a whole business, and determine if the share price reflects that appraisal. We seek to buy shares that are trading at an appreciable discount to our estimates of underlying value. Margin of Safety also leaves room for imprecision, error, bad luck or the vicissitudes of markets and economies.
As New Zealand domiciled investors we recognise that we and the majority of our investors, whether individuals or institutions, already hold significant exposures to the New Zealand economy. We focus on the fact that New Zealand is a small, geographically isolated economy, that has a history of natural geological events and is heavily reliant on the agricultural sector. These factors all lead us to the conclusion that New Zealand is more prone to the risk of one-off shocks and by living, earning and havingassets here, we already have a good natural exposure to its prospects. As a result, we feel it is prudent to direct the majority of our investment funds offshore. While we do not ignore New Zealand (or Australia) our investment focus in these markets is characterised by investments in what is best described as special situations. Clearly by maintaining a more global focus there is a greater opportunity set to invest in truly world-class companies with attractive long-term fundamentals while at the same time (in our opinion) reducing investment risk for our clients.