After five years as an M&A attorney for Wachtell Lipton, Harvey Sawikin left the high-powered law firm in the early 1990s to pursue an interest in investing. On his way out the door, a colleague handed him a copy of The Intelligent Investor saying, “This is what you should read if you want to be a serious investor.” Ever since, Harvey has been on a pursuit to find the cheapest stocks in the world. That journey has taken him from the traditional Graham & Dodd cigar butts highlighted in The Intelligent Investor to as far as Kazakhstan and Georgia, where an enterprising investor can still find stocks trading at massive discounts to intrinsic value.
Harvey co-founded Firebird Management in 1993 and today it is among the preeminent emerging and frontier-market focused hedge funds in the world. Harvey is also one of the most experienced investors in Russia, where he has been active since 1994 when he started scooping up Russian privatization vouchers trading at pennies on the dollar.
Firebird seeks to invest in world-class franchises that are run by shareholder-focused management. The fund is able to buy these companies exceptionally cheaply because of the inefficiencies that exist in some of the foreign markets where Firebird is active. Focusing on this subset of investments has helped Firebird generate one of the best long-term track records among all hedge funds active since the late ‘90s.
At the 2018 Santangel’s Investor Forum, Harvey will share some of the lessons he has learned investing in frontier markets over the last 25 years, including how he gets comfortable without full information on a company. He will also present a stock he thinks is exceptionally cheap.