Letter From Cobleskill: Autumn 2022

Letter From Cobleskill: Autumn 2022

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    Dear Fellow Shareholder,

    As the leaves begin to change color in Upstate New York and the nights become chilly, my fall routine kicks into gear. The first thing I do is call my perennial firewood supplier to negotiate the price and place an order. After much friendly banter during our recent call, this hard-working entrepreneur said that there will be a large price increase in 2022. Higher labor, gasoline, truck and equipment maintenance, and overall operational costs give him no choice but to raise the price. This pattern is being repeated throughout our economy.

    So, it’s not surprising that shareholders are primarily asking us the following questions:

    1. Are we in, or headed for, a recession?
    2. What does this mean to me and my investments?
  • FAM Letter From Cobleskill Autumn 2022

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1. RECESSION OR NOT?

There is a current debate about the official definition of a recession. Whether we are technically in a recession or not, there’s no doubt that most consumers are feeling the pain of higher interest rates and high inflation.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession’s start and end dates. It relies on government information that takes time to compile, so it cannot officially designate a recession until after it starts. At the same time, the NBER’s research shows that, from February 1945 to June 2009, recessions averaged 10.8 months in duration and the expansionary periods that followed averaged 60.2 months.

Since no one knows how much longer this difficult environment will last, it can understandably create apprehension. After many conversations about this first question, however, we’ve come to understand that shareholders are ultimately seeking an answer to the second question.

2. WHAT ABOUT MY FAM FUNDS INVESTMENTS?

If you’re wondering if your FAM Funds investments are strong enough to weather the downturn, we believe the answer is “yes.” Our goal is to invest in quality businesses that have a strong balance sheet and manageable debt; cash profits to invest in growth or pay dividends; a distinct competitive differentiator; and a talented and ethical management team.

We want these companies to be positioned to not only perform well in good times, but to endure the most challenging economic conditions — and even increase market share — while emerging on the other side poised for future growth.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Fenimore’s research analysts continue to visit businesses, tour facilities, and have face-to-face meetings with management teams of existing holdings and prospective investments. During the month of September alone, we had 32 meetings throughout the U.S. and 8 phone calls.

This firsthand, in-depth, company-level research provides invaluable insights that help us gain a better understanding of the current challenges facing businesses while reinforcing our confidence in our holdings’ abilities to persevere and potentially thrive during a variety of environments. We believe we have a collection of quality companies that can build wealth over the long term.

HELLO AND GOOD-BYE

Fenimore is pleased to welcome Christian Snyder as our new president. He succeeds Debra Pollard, who announced her retirement after 30 years of service to our investors, associates, and community. A Cobleskill native, Deb returned to her hometown after college. During her tenure, Deb earned a steady series of promotions culminating in her appointment as president in 2016. She will remain here to help with the transition over the next few months. Deb is a dear friend and we wish her all the best as she moves into a new phase of life!

Christian joins us after working in the financial services industry for nearly two decades, most recently serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Wealth Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs Ayco Personal Financial Management. He will work closely with our management team to help guide the firm. Christian earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Colgate University, law degree from Suffolk University Law School, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He and his family live in Saratoga Springs, NY.

STAY IN TOUCH

Whenever you have questions about your investments, please contact us. Everyone has unique needs, plans, and life circumstances. For example, you may be relying on your investments to pay bills or preserve your principal, or you may be in a position to purchase more mutual fund shares while stocks are on sale.

Through one-on-one conversations, we can get to the heart of your financial objectives, explain your options, and give you the information and confidence you need to make an educated decision. Our associates are invested alongside you, so we are sensitive to your concerns and goals.

Please remember that our team is here for you at our Cobleskill and Albany offices, by phone at 800-932-3271, or via email at info@fenimoreasset.com.

Thank you for your trust and friendship.

Sincerely,
John D. Fox, CFA
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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Firsthand Research Gives Us Confidence

Firsthand Research Gives Us Confidence

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    At Fenimore Asset Management, we never try to avoid an economic slowdown. Instead, our investment research team spends its energy on finding and owning what we believe are quality companies that can weather economic turbulence and emerge from volatile periods even stronger. This includes businesses with strong, sustainable cash generation, sound balance sheets with little financial leverage, and capable management teams.

    To ensure that we have our finger on the pulse of their operations, our investment research analysts are on the road visiting companies, touring facilities, and having face-to-face meetings with management teams. It’s these in-person meetings — a longtime tenet of Fenimore’s research process — that help us gain a better understanding of the current macroeconomic challenges facing businesses while reinforcing our confidence in our holdings’ abilities to persevere and potentially thrive during a variety of environments.

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    Fenimore’s Investment FEATURES
    • Independent, In-Depth Research
      Fenimore’s extensive due diligence begins with a detailed analysis of the business, leadership, and markets to understand company fundamentals and the competitive landscape.
    • Guided by Quality
      We seek to invest in quality businesses that demonstrate defensible competitive differentiators.
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    Business-First Approach

    For nearly five decades, we have followed our business-first investment approach of conducting in-depth research at the company level. Fenimore’s steadfast focus is to invest in a collection of quality businesses that we think are becoming more valuable over time — regardless of the short-term political or economic environment.

Will Preston Quote
Will Preston

Looking Ahead

During these uncertain times, it is certain that our team will remain committed to Fenimore’s investment philosophy and principles that have successfully guided us through difficult times since 1974. We believe that our holdings will partake in future growth because their management teams are focused on shareholder interests and they possess strong financial footings to help them endure the current decline and potentially prosper when the markets recover.

John Fox
John Fox Quote

All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. Before investing, carefully read the fund’s prospectus which includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information about the fund. Please call us at 800-721-5391 or visit fenimoreasset.com for a prospectus or summary prospectus.

Securities offered through Fenimore Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC, and advisory services offered through Fenimore Asset Management, Inc.


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Investor Update — June 2022

INVESTOR UPDATE — JUNE 2022

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    On Friday, June 10, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed inflation accelerated to a 40-year high in May, with the CPI increasing 8.6% year-over-year.1 This was an increase from April and halted any hope that the U.S. economy had reached “peak” inflation.

    Impact of Oil Prices

    One of the biggest contributors to surging inflation is the price of oil. At approximately $115, the price of a barrel of WTI oil is up 60% year-over-year and more than 20% since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War in late February.2 (WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate, which is a pricing benchmark commonly used for the oil industry.)

    The impact of rising oil prices is most evident to consumers at the gas pump. In the May CPI report, gas prices were up 49% year-over-year, representing roughly one-quarter of the total increase in the CPI!3 Of course, higher gas prices also drive up shipping costs and airfare.

  • William Preston, Portfolio Manager - FAM Dividend Focus Fund

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    William Preston, CFA
    Portfolio Manager,
    FAM Dividend Focus Fund

But transportation isn’t the only way higher oil prices reverberate throughout the economy. Oil has derivatives that are inputs for thousands of products ranging from plastic and packaging to clothing and medicine. This can lead to broad-based increased costs for consumers.

Impact of Inflation

Higher-than-expected and persistent inflation has forced the Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) to step-up how aggressively it fights inflation. The Fed combats inflation by raising interest rates in hopes of slowing consumer demand.

Last Wednesday (June 15), we saw this aggressiveness in action when the Fed announced its largest rate hike since 1994 (0.75 percentage points). While good for fighting long-term inflation expectations, in the short term, higher interest rates have led to lower stock valuation multiples and increased the probability of an economic recession and the potential for a reset in corporate earnings. This has pushed the market returns into bear market territory with the S&P 500 declining -24% since its all-time high on January 3, 2022.4

No one knows how much longer the bear market will last or if/when the U.S. economy will enter into a recession as a result of inflation and higher interest rates. What we do know is that recessions and bear markets do not go on forever and they have often presented us with opportunities to invest with better long-term return prospects.

Firsthand Research Gives Us Confidence

At Fenimore, we never try to avoid an economic slowdown. Instead, our research team spends its energy on finding and owning what we believe are quality companies that can weather economic turbulence and emerge from volatile periods even stronger. This includes businesses with strong, sustainable cash generation, sound balance sheets with little financial leverage, and capable management teams.

Over recent weeks, our research team has been busy on the road meeting with management teams face to face. It’s these in-person meetings — a longtime tenet of Fenimore’s research process — that help us gain a better understanding of the current macro challenges facing companies while reinforcing our confidence in our holdings’ abilities to persevere and potentially thrive during a variety of economic environments.

Looking Ahead

During these uncertain times, we’d like to reiterate what we stated in our May Investor Update. Our team tells you with certainty that we remain committed to Fenimore’s investment philosophy and principles that have successfully guided us through difficult times since 1974. We believe that our holdings will partake in future growth because their management teams are focused on shareholder interests and they possess strong financial footings to help them endure the current decline and prosper when the markets recover.

Stay Connected

If you have any questions about your investments, please connect with us at 800-721-5391, through our website’s contact us section, or via info@fenimoreasset.com. Our team also welcomes you to meet with us in either our Albany or Cobleskill location or virtually.

Thank you for your ongoing trust and we hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer.

——

1 bls.gov

2 FactSet, as of 6/16/2022

3 bls.gov, as of 6/10/2022

4 FactSet, as of 6/16/2022

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Investor Update — May 2022

Investor Update — May 2022

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    As we came into the new year, the consensus was that the U.S. economy and earnings of American companies would grow. Perhaps at a slower rate than 2021’s pace, but still grow. It was also well understood that the Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) would be reducing the stimulus put in place at the pandemic’s onset, meaning they would increase short-term interest rates to cool off the rate of inflation.

    As 2022 is unfolding, two events have increased the rate of inflation and forced the Fed to act quicker and, perhaps, with more intensity than previously expected.

    1. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put upward pressure on energy and food costs. Russia is one of the largest producers of oil in the world and a large share of the world’s wheat supply comes from the Russia/Ukraine region. The inflation report released this morning (5/11/2022) shows significant year-over-year increases in both energy and food costs.
    2. China’s zero-COVID policy is resulting in factory and port closures there. As China is a major exporter of parts and finished products, these closures are causing American businesses to scramble to obtain products they need. In many cases, they are paying significant premiums for airfreight or other logistics options. To cover these transportation costs, domestic companies may pass them on to their customers in the form of higher prices.
  • CEO John Fox, CFA

    CEO John Fox, CFA


    “I want to contrast this with Fenimore’s holdings which, in our opinion, are competitively advantaged firms with significant cash profits and reasonable levels of debt. No matter what happens in the economy or markets, financially strong companies can weather the storm.”
    John Fox, CEO

One of the potential outcomes of higher interest rates and energy costs is that they slow the economy so much that we experience a recession.

You have heard us say that stock prices follow earnings and, in a recession, it is normal for company profits to decline. The stock market is trying to figure out if we will have a recession and, if so, when. Of course, no one knows the answer and this is creating volatility in stock prices. The one thing we do know about recessions is that they end and a new cycle of growth begins.

Corporate Profits

An interesting aspect of the current “recession watch” is how strong corporate profits are today. Our Investment Research team recently finished digesting a couple hundred earnings reports for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. Earnings continue to grow and, in some cases, companies have reported record results. In cases where earnings are down, it is usually due to temporary factors like elevated transportation costs. We don’t know if there will be an overall decline in earnings at some point, but we are watching results carefully.

Additionally, our analysts continue to travel and meet with our holdings’ management teams — we just visited two in Dallas and Richmond — to ensure that we have our finger on the pulse of their operations.

  • A noteworthy point: Some of the largest declines in the stock market this year are from speculative companies that may not be profitable, generate cash flow, or have an established business model. I want to contrast this with Fenimore’s holdings which, in our opinion, are competitively advantaged firms with significant cash profits and reasonable levels of debt. No matter what happens in the economy or markets, financially strong companies can weather the storm.
Looking Ahead

During these uncertain times, we can tell you with certainty that we remain committed to Fenimore’s investment philosophy and tenets that have successfully guided us through difficult times in the past. We believe that our holdings will partake in future growth because their management teams are focused on shareholder interests and they possess strong financial footings to help them endure the current decline and prosper when the markets recover.

We’re Here for You

Please contact us with any questions or concerns at 800-721-5391, through our website’s “Contact Us” section, or via info@fenimoreasset.com. Our team also welcomes you to meet with us in either our Albany or Cobleskill location or virtually.

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Letter From Cobleskill: Spring 2022

Letter From Cobleskill: Spring 2022

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    Dear Fellow Shareholder,

    As I write this, our thoughts and hearts are with the people of Ukraine. May our world leaders soon find a path to peace.

    After a terrific 2021, the stock market has dropped 10% to 20%, depending on the index, since the beginning of 2022.1 The war in Ukraine has certainly played a role, but that is not the only reason in our view. As we entered the year, stock valuations were stretched and this left stock prices at an all-time high and susceptible to decline. Additionally, the inflation that began gripping our nation late last year has proven to be more firmly entrenched than originally believed.

    Inflation has led to decreased consumer spending as higher prices on essentials like energy and groceries are forcing many people to cut back on discretionary spending (such as vacations and entertainment). As the first quarter ended, the Federal Reserve was beginning the gradual and delicate balancing act of trying to raise interest rates enough to further slow spending — and inflation — but not so much as to trigger a recession.

  • Letter From Cobleskill spring 2022

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As long-term investors, it is always helpful to remember that stock market downturns are part of the experience. I have been at Fenimore for 26 years and in every one of those years but one, the market had a decline of 5% or more at least once during the year. This is a normal part of stock investing and, while some uncertainty lies ahead, we see no reason for panic.

First, the current downturn started when our economy was in a position of great strength with consumer spending and corporate earnings at record highs. This is helping to cushion the fall. In addition, interest rates, while rising, are still low by historical standards.

At the same time, what reassures us the most about the days ahead is what our research analysts are hearing directly from the individual companies in which we invest. In recent months, we have met with dozens of businesses to discuss the health of their operations and their roadmaps to growth. While there are certainly challenges (global supply chain problems and elevated transportation prices will be with us the rest of the year), these executives are far from pessimistic.

They intend to grow, reinvest, make acquisitions, and return profits to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and increased dividends — maybe not to the degree we thought possible three months ago, but certainly at what we consider healthy levels. Overall, these leaders reported that order backlogs are robust, business remains good, and profit margins, while down, are still expected to allow for growth-related activities. We are confident in the collection of businesses in our funds.

Fenimore continues to invest toward a return to “normal.” This means focusing on quality companies that meet our rigorous standards and have the ability, in our opinion, to weather the challenging times and excel when the environment is better. We have made slight adjustments in the funds with an eye on strengthening positions in well-managed, reasonably-priced businesses that may be experiencing short-term pressures, but that we believe should be stronger three years from now. Similarly, we reduced our stakes in companies whose prices peaked in our view and whose long-term prospects are not as favorable.

A DECADE OF DILIGENT MANAGEMENT

Fenimore is proud to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of our FAM Small Cap Fund (FAMFX). Our team is pleased with the performance we delivered for shareholders over that time while seeking to mitigate risk. Under the direction of Portfolio Managers Andrew Boord and Kevin Gioia, we pursue quality, solidly profitable, and sustainable small-cap companies with long-term growth potential. Congratulations to Andrew and Kevin and the entire investment research team! We also thank everyone who is invested in FAMFX and look forward to the next decade.

LET’S CONNECT

We value our personal connections with shareholders. You can reach us with any questions at 800-932-3271, through our website’s “Contact Us” section, or via info@fenimoreasset.com. Our team also welcomes you to meet with us in either our Albany or Cobleskill location or virtually.

Sincerely,
John D. Fox, CFA
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

——

1 FactSet, as of 3/18/2022

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Research on The Road: Face-to-Face Meetings

RESEARCH ON THE ROAD: FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS

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    By John Fox, CFA®
    CEO

    After two years of limited travel, Fenimore’s investment research analysts are back in full swing meeting with management teams in person at their headquarters, conferences, and industry events. During the last month, we met with a couple dozen companies. While there are certainly challenges, executives are not pessimistic.

    Insights from Our Travels

    • Banks: Banks seem encouraged by the financial strength of their customers and the expected increases in short-term rates by the Federal Reserve. Banks expect they’ll be able to increase net interest margins — the difference between interest paid and received — as a result.
  • Andrew Boord, Portfolio Manager - Fenimore Small Cap Strategy

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  • Insurers: Insurance premium rates continue to increase which is good for the profits of our insurance holdings. With increasing inflation and a war in Europe, it is widely appreciated that it is a risky world which increases demand for insurance.
  • HVAC Companies: The industry is undergoing regulatory changes over the next three years that will lead to significant redesigns of product lines. This will be an enormous engineering challenge, but historically this has led to higher prices on AC units as well as higher profits. We believe this should be a tailwind while customers should receive increased energy savings due to technological advancements.
  • Software Firms: We met with a handful of software companies that sell to financial institutions. The outlook for the year continues to be mid to high single-digit growth in revenue and we are confident in the ability of our holdings’ leaders to navigate current challenges.
  • Earnings Growth: It is clear that the global supply chain problems and elevated transportation prices will be with us the rest of the year. At this point, we continue to expect companies to grow earnings over 2021 levels, but at a slower rate than we anticipated at the beginning of the year. We also expect our holdings to generate cash profits to invest in growth and return to shareholders through stock buybacks and increased dividends. A skilled management team is often crucial to a good investment experience.

Fenimore’s firsthand, in-depth research helps us know our holdings well and this gives us confidence as we seek to protect and grow your capital over the long term. We hope our research insights from these face-to-face meetings give you assurance too.

Please call us at 800-721-5391 if we can assist you. Thank you for your ongoing trust.

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2022 Stock Market Update

2022 STOCK MARKET UPDATE

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    By John Fox, CFA®
    CEO

    After a terrific 2021, the stock market peaked on the first business day of the new year and has been declining ever since. So far, stocks are down 10% to 20% for the year depending on the index you watch.[1] The stocks of smaller companies have fallen the most.

    While the current headlines are on Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, we believe this is just one of multiple reasons for the drop in stock prices. As long-term stock investors, it’s always helpful to remember that price declines are part of the experience. I mentioned in a recent video we distributed that I have been at Fenimore for 26 years and in every one of those years, but one, the market had a decline of 5% or more during the year. This is a normal part of stock investing.

  • John Fox

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Of course, the reasons for the declines are always different. Today, we see three primary reasons:

1) High Valuations: After great market returns in 2021, stock valuations were at a high level. Because of low interest rates and many years of terrific returns, investors were willing to pay more for a dollar of earnings. This left stock prices at an all-time high and susceptible to a decrease as we turned the calendar. It’s impossible to know when a decline might occur, even if you think prices look high.

2) High Inflation: It’s very clear that inflation is not “transitory” using an often-quoted word from the Federal Reserve Chairman. We believe some parts of inflation will recede over time; other factors are here to stay. As a consequence, the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates this year beginning at their March meeting in a few weeks. Answers to important questions like how high these rate increases will go and how fast they will occur are unknown. Interest rates have already moved up in anticipation of the Fed’s moves. The 30-year mortgage rate has increased from last year’s low of 2.67% to 4% today.[2] We should point out that while the Fed is raising interest rates, they remain low by historical standards.

3) Russia’s Invasion: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creates a lot of uncertainty around politics and Europe’s state of affairs. From a purely economic point of view, Russia is a major producer of oil and other commodities like wheat. If this conflict continues, it may increase the prices of these commodities which will impact inflation. Higher inflation brings us right back to the previous point about an interest rate increase.

As you can see, there are a number of interrelated issues. However, even if it seems like one storm ends and another surfaces, this is usually the story in economics, politics, and markets. We have been through numerous international events like the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and two wars in Iraq.

Looking Ahead

At this time, we expect companies to grow earnings over 2021 levels and generate cash profits to invest in growth and return to shareholders through stock buybacks and increased dividends. As I stated in our year-end newsletter, “You don’t have to know the future, but you do have to know your companies.”

This gives us the confidence we need to execute our long-term strategy: investing in what we believe are quality businesses that meet our rigorous financial standards with strong leadership teams that can create value for our investors over time.

Please contact us at 800-721-5391 if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

[1] FactSet as of 2/24/2022

[2] https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US

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Volatility, Inflation, Interest rates, & Supply Chain

Volatility, Inflation, Interest Rates, & Supply Chain

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    February 3, 2022

    By Marc Roberts, CFA®
    Portfolio Manager, FAM Value Fund

    The market volatility over the last several weeks has caused a great deal of uncertainty and has left many investors with unanswered questions. Questions we have heard include:

    1. What are we seeing in terms of volatility, inflation, and the current interest rate and supply chain environment?
    2. What does Fenimore think about markets like these? Is volatility a threat or an opportunity?
    3. How does this affect my investments?
  • Marc Roberts

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Volatility

Fenimore believes volatility creates opportunity. While we would all like a long-term, never-down performance experience, the reality is that markets do fluctuate — they always have — and it is through those fluctuations that some of the best opportunities present themselves.

At Fenimore, we are staying the course and will:

  1. Continue to evaluate the companies we own. While this is always happening at Fenimore, we consider these particularly important times to be assessing all aspects of our investments, and whether there are other opportunities that we can take advantage of at this time. As we like to avoid overpaying for the companies we invest in, we seek to find great value in buying during times of market stress.
  2. Work with our clients to do the same and to think about these as opportune times to add capital to their accounts — to invest more at a time when prices are a bit lower. Over the long term, this should make a significant difference in the overall return and growth of their savings.

    Learn More

Inflation & Interest Rates

Over a prolonged period,[1] multiple decades, interest rates have remained low. While interest rates are up off the bottom, they are still very low by historical standards. These low rates typically support high valuations for financial assets like stocks and real estate.

Will they rise? Will inflation be permanent at a high level forcing interest rates to go up? These are questions that we ask ourselves frequently. Although we have no crystal ball to predict the level of inflation and interest rates, the recent headline inflation figure of 7% was elevated by several factors that may not reoccur:

  • The base-rate effect — 2021 prices were relative to 2020 levels when the economy was shut down
  • A rebound in energy prices that should not repeat to the same magnitude
  • Increases in new and used car prices driven by a shortage of semiconductors that is limiting the ability to build new cars
  • The mismatch of huge stimulus created demand coinciding with a virus constrained supply chain

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average change in prices over time paid by consumers for a basket of goods and services. The CPI chart below illustrates the 5 key categories that account for the 7% increase in inflation, with gasoline and vehicle prices representing more than 50% of the increase as of December 2021.[2]

As the aforementioned factors show a reduced impact, we would expect headline inflation readings to soften. On the other hand, we must acknowledge that not all factors impacting inflation figures will reverse. Higher wages, living expenses, and increased prices for value-added goods and services may be here to stay.       

Supply Chain

Supply chain factors should get resolved over time. Corporate management teams are reacting to the challenging environment — manufacturing locations are being reconsidered, capacity is being increased, and new sources of supply are being uncovered. In addition, pandemic-driven bottlenecks should unwind as businesses continue to adapt to today’s operating environment. Over time, as supply rebalances, inflationary pressures from the supply chain should ease.

The bond market seems to know all this, which is why forward-looking prices in the bond market have the inflation rate over the next 10 years estimated at about 2.5%.[3]  We will continue to monitor these market-based expectations closely.

Fenimore’s View

At Fenimore, we consider ourselves as your trusted investor. Our active investment approach since 1974 has helped us navigate multiple economic and financial market cycles. This proprietary, research-intensive process reinforces active oversight and incorporates:

  • Creating and maintaining detailed models for each company we follow
  • Analyzing financial statements
  • Meeting with management and participating in quarterly conference calls
  • Speaking with suppliers, customers, and competitors
  • Monitoring the potential business impact of macroeconomic events
  • Sifting our investment ideas through four investment criteria filters: Quality Business, Financially Durable, Proven Management, Margin of Safety

In our experience, this proactive process helps us manage risk, especially during downturns, and can be one of the better ways to potentially grow wealth over the long term and outpace inflation. Our investment research team will continue to be active and take the long view and look for opportunities to invest more in what we believe are quality businesses — both among our current holdings and in enterprises we’ve admired and desired to own but were too richly priced for us.

We can never know the future, but our team knows our holdings — both the businesses and the management teams. This gives us the confidence we need to execute Fenimore’s long-term strategy: buying stock in what we deem to be quality businesses that meet our rigorous standards and are ideally positioned to do well in good times and persevere through adversity.

What Should Investors Do?

As advisors well know, the key is to have a comprehensive, understandable, long-term investment plan that can serve as a foundation — it is hard to stay the course if you do not know the course.

The better you understand what you are invested in and why, the more confidence you have in your investments. Fenimore’s distinctive, firsthand knowledge of the companies behind your investments is crucial and helps to maintain a long-term focus regardless of any stock market, economic, or geopolitical uncertainty.

Fenimore Asset Management: Fenimore, manager of the FAM Funds, has been providing differentiated investment management solutions for nearly five decades. Learn more about our unique history and how we partner. Call 800-721-5391.

[1] https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DGS10

[2] https://www.bls.gov/cpi/tables/supplemental-files/home.htm

[3] https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/T10YIE

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Our Fundamental Analysis Gives Us Confidence

OUR FUNDAMENTAL ANALYSIS GIVES US CONFIDENCE

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    John Fox, CEO

    Investors often ask me, “How does Fenimore manage its investments so confidently when the future is so unsure?”

    My answer,

    “You don’t have to know the future, but you do have to know your companies.”

  • John Fox, CEO

    John Fox, CEO

For example:

  1. Early in the pandemic, I spoke with the leader of one of our long-term industrial holdings. He said he expected the U.S. to soon be in the midst of an economic shutdown, that it would be at least a year before we returned to any sense of normalcy, and that they were ready. He said their revenue could decrease by as much as 50% and they could still break even due to their financial profile. This was a solid business, in our opinion, and these insights gave us confidence to maintain our stake even as the stock price dropped significantly. Today, we are very pleased with the stock price.
  1. Our research analysts conducted an in-depth review of a longtime automobile industry holding in the spring of 2020. We know their leaders and wanted to assess if they could survive with their showrooms closed due to the virus. With $600 million in cash, access to ample credit, and manageable debt we believed they could. Our thesis was correct and we estimate that they have a long runway for growth.
  1. Simultaneously, there were several holdings where we lost confidence, so we sold them and redirected dollars into what the portfolio managers viewed as higher quality businesses with staying power. Our personal knowledge of these operations helped us make educated decisions.

We can never know the future, but our researchers know our holdings and their management. This gives us the confidence we need to execute our long-term strategy: buying stock in what we deem to be quality businesses that meet our exacting standards and are ideally positioned to do well in good times and persevere through adversity.

As fundamental value investors with a long-term mindset, the firsthand knowledge we have of our companies, their industries, and their competitors, delivers high-conviction portfolios.

Fenimore Asset Management: Fenimore, manager of the FAM Funds, has been providing differentiated investment management solutions for nearly five decades. Learn more about our unique history and how we partner. Call 800-721-5391.

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Fenimore’s 2021 Year-End Newsletter

Fenimore’s 2021 Year-End Newsletter

View Newsletter

Fenimore Asset Management’s 2021 newsletter features:

  • Investment Insights from CEO John Fox: “You don’t have to know the future, but you do have to know your companies.”
  • President Deb Pollard’s message on Fenimore’s commitment to delivering useful investment knowledge to you when and where you want it.
  • Founder & Executive Chairman Tom Putnam’s article that explains the next step in Fenimore’s carefully designed evolution.
  • Year-end details on charitable gifts and IRA contributions.
  • All the latest on how the Fenimore team is growing for you — in numbers and service capabilities.
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Thomas O. Putnam founded Fenimore in 1974 with two passions: conduct in-depth, firsthand, independent investment research and serve investors with excellence and integrity. Today Fenimore Asset Management, manager of the FAM Funds, is nationally recognized, yet locally rooted and independently owned. Decades have passed, but our approach endures.

Securities offered through Fenimore Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC,
and advisory services offered through Fenimore Asset Management, Inc.

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