These last two years have been a lot to navigate and it’s made one thing we’ve long known crystal clear: we are not the heroes of the Tschetter Group story.
There are many hero stories we could tell from nearly fifty years in this business. And it’s true, many heroes are unsung. In time, and of course with permission, perhaps we will. Just in the two years since a pandemic upended our world, we’ve been inspired by plenty. As we know, life brings its share of joy and abundance, but it isn’t all roses. Yes, we’ve witnessed big wins—weddings, new births, promotions and new opportunities, business wins and sales—but we’ve also seen courage on full display in the face of hardship and tragedy. A husband losing his wife to cancer too young, navigating solo parenting of his three children. Lost jobs and financial uncertainty. Struggles with depression and anxiety as lockdowns and stresses took their toll. Our experience tells us that this is all part of living and embracing life to the full. The brand of optimism we aim to share isn’t one that ignores or denies the hard aspects of life, rather it’s the firm belief that hope and resilience through these times is what defines greatness.
We’re thankful for many priceless lessons learned from clients and friends of Tschetter Group. They have made us, and continue to make us, who we are. I’d like to tell you about one such hero. We’ll call him Bob.
Bob, one of Dick’s first clients in 1973, had inherited a sum of money from his mother and was looking to invest. Dick will be the first to tell you he has no idea why Bob thought getting help from a rookie broker at Merrill Lynch was a good idea. But we’re thankful he did. As Dick tells the story, he recommended that Bob sell a few things and dutifully gave him Merrill’s current list of buy recommendations. While Bob made the recommended sales, he didn’t buy the stocks Dick suggested, instead saying he’d like to think about it. Then he went dark for a while, which Dick later found out was when Bob, an accounting/finance professional by trade, was staying up into the wee hours of the night “doing his homework.” Eventually Bob came back to Dick with a handful of companies he was interested in buying, many of which ended up doing quite well. In fact, Dick remembers him buying one particular stock for $2 per share and a year later the company was bought out for $11 per share. A quick summary of Dick’s call to Bob:
Dick: “Bob, you’ll never believe it. Your company XYZ just got bought for $11 per share, just a year after you paid $2.”
Bob: “Damn, they sold for way too low.”
Bob had a great sense of humor but Dick knew he was dead serious. That’s when Bob’s seed of an idea that doing your homework to buy great companies and pay a fair price was planted and took root. It helped shape Dick’s investment philosophy and career path from there forward and it’s part of Tschetter Group’s investing DNA to this day.
We were sad to lose Bob this year, though we celebrate his long and impactful life. He certainly made an impact on us. And, like I said, he’s far from alone. There are many heroes and teachers in this story.
From a market perspective, not much has changed from our view shared in our January letter. As market weakness and turbulence returned in the first quarter after a nearly two-year hiatus, we are pleased to see relative steadiness in our client portfolios. We can’t avoid market trials altogether, but we’ve worked hard to proactively position your portfolio through a time-tested discipline of owning great assets at reasonable prices. Thanks again, Bob.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or if there’s any way we might be of help.