Olympus Wealth Management 

Partners Manual

Partnership Overview

 

Olympus Capital LP was formed as a partnership to invest members’ capital in a range of different investments, but primarily common stocks. The purpose of this partnership is to provide an adequate long-term rate of return to all its members through the purchase of marketable securities, chosen by the managing partner. 

 

The managing partner of the fund is Olympus Wealth Management, an LLC owned 100% by William Douthat. William is responsible for making all investment decisions and is also in charge of reporting to limited partners about the progress of their investment. 

 

Investment decisions are made based on a core set of principles, laid out in this document, and using a variety of investment strategies. To ensure all Limited Partners understand the mindset and activities of the fund, the sections below have been laid out in this document explaining the views and goals of the partnership. 

 

Any question regarding the following statements should be directed to William Douthat: 

918-497-9117 

william@olympusw.com

Partnership Objective

 

The purpose of this partnership is to provide its members with the highest rate of return while incurring the least amount of risk. There will be countless investment opportunities that will be foregone because they either do not provide a high enough rate of return or they involve too high a degree of risk. 

 

There are two ways in which we ultimately define risk. The first is by buying into a business we do not understand. The second is buying into a business at too high a price. 

 

If we were to buy into a business we did not understand, such as biotechnology, we could not reasonably expect to deserve an adequate rate of return. Similarly, if we were to purchase shares in a company for more than they are worth we could not expect to make a reasonable return: purchasing a dollar for $1.20 is never a good idea. 

 

We aim to accomplish this objective by following a core set of sound investment principles and investing in assets that 1) we understand fully and 2) are selling for far below what they are worth. Our investment principles and strategies are laid out below.

Investment Principles

 

Understanding The Difference Between Investing and Speculating.

 

There are two requirements for a security to be considered an investment: 1) A safety of principle 2) An adequate rate of return. If a security is lacking one of these requirements it cannot be considered an investment and should instead be classified as a speculation. In order to be successful, an investor must restrict themselves to securities consisting of both requirements.

 

While often misunderstood by the general public, the definition of investment was determined in the late 1940s when Ben Graham set out two requirements an asset must have in order to be considered an investment: 

 

An investment must provide a safety of principle.

An investment must provide an adequate rate of return. 

A safety of principle can be obtained from any asset that over time, shows no sign of losing its value and which can be resold to another party at a reasonable price in relation to its value. Both non-productive assets such as gold, whose value is not derived from what it produces, but rather from its scarcity as a resource, as well as productive assets such as a business, whose value is based on its ability to produce profits, can deliver a safety of principle.

 

The deciding factor that determines if an asset is an investment or a speculation is the presence of an adequate rate of return; something that can only be delivered through productive assets. 

 

Because gold, as well as other precious metals and commodity-like assets, lack the ability to reproduce anything, an increase in their value depends solely on the willingness of others to pay higher and higher prices for them.

 

Producing assets, on the other hand, such as businesses, farmland, and real estate, draw their value from what they are able to produce. A business’s value depends on the profits it is able to earn, farmland's value depends on the crop yield it is able to produce, and real estate’s value depends on the income it receives from tenants. As a result, these producing assets deliver both a safety of principle as well as an adequate rate of return and can therefore be classified as an investment.

 

An axiom thus reveals itself that speculators aim to make their profit by gambling on the buying behaviors of others, while investors aim to make their profits on increasing the production of their producing assets and using those profits to purchase more and more productive assets.

 

If one restricts themselves to investing in productive assets rather than speculating in non-productive assets, their financial results will prove far superior.

Having the Right Temperament Towards the Market.

 

An investor must be able to stay rational throughout the volatility that’s involved with financial markets. They must not feel influenced by the trends of the market or the reaction of others, but should instead be able to think for themselves to make rational investment decisions.

 

The main difficulty with investment is not derived from one’s ability, or inability, to properly value businesses. Nor is it in having the proper insight into the future prospects of a business. The main difficulty is derived from one’s ability to be patient with markets and not submit to the ever-increasing amount of speculation and irrational behavior in securities markets.

 

As discussed previously, a key difference between an investor and speculator is their approach to price fluctuations in the market. While a speculator will try to predict price fluctuations to occur in the future, an investor will take advantage of market fluctuations after they have occurred. The problem with the speculator's approach is that in anticipation of certain price movements they are overcome with sour emotions when their predicted price movements either do not occur, or go in the inverse direction to their original hypothesis.

 

An investor, on the other hand, will have no conviction on the short-term price movements of a stock, but will instead be ready to take advantage of price movements after they have occurred. Whether this means buying at an unusually low price or selling at an unusually high price, it is vital an investor do so based on a rational way of thinking rather than an emotional judgement.

 

As a result, the far more frequent behavior of a successful investor will be instead to do nothing during the day to day price fluctuations of financial markets; which presents yet another difficult feat of being an investor, which is the act of inaction.

 

Because stocks are so liquid, far too many people feel an obligation to make frequent buy and sell decisions rather than sit idle while their stock holdings grow in value. Yet, this does not seem to be the case with owners of privately held businesses; an odd peculiarity of business ownership. While public equity and private equity exchange hands at different rates, the attitude towards owning each should in no way be different. Just as if they owned 100% of a business, an investor should focus on the operations, competitive advantage, and financial position of the company they own stock in, not the price someone is willing to pay for their equity.

 

Once an investor has developed a habit of ignoring the short-term market fluctuations and instead focusing on the economic fundamentals of the business, they will begin to see a stock as what it truly is, which is a small piece of business.


 

Viewing Stocks as Businesses.

 

In order to be successful with investment, an investor must see a stock for what it actually is, which is a small piece of a business. An investor must therefore take the same approach to buying stock as they would in buying an entire business.

 

Due to the high liquidity in financial markets, it has become very common for people to view stocks as little more than a piece of paper whose price fluctuates on a day to day basis. Feeding this misconception has been the push from Wall Street firms to get people to buy and sell stocks as frequently as possible, which in turn brings commissions to stockbrokers. The reality, however, is that every stock certificate represents a small ownership interest in a business, whose price performance, over the long term, is directly correlated to the performance of the business. Due to this fact, an investor must take the same approach to purchasing a stock certificate as they would in purchasing an entire business. 

 

Fortunately, the governmental regulations existent in the United States require that publicly traded corporations release to the public all material information about the business in a timely manner. This allows investors in common stock to do a thorough analysis of the business just as they would in purchasing a privately held corporation.

 

Naturally, when purchasing a privately held corporation, a business owner will put his full attention on the economic fundamentals of the business, such as margins, turnover, management, and a series of other essential factors; absorbing as much information as possible about the business before moving forward with any sort of investment.

 

While this behavior of thorough analysis of a company may come naturally to the purchaser of an entire entity, often is the case people will purchase common stock without doing anything close to this amount of research. It is therefore the responsibility of the investor to force themselves into the mindset of a business owner and approach investments in the exact same manner. Only after an investor has fully adopted this mindset can they move forward with business valuation.

 

Understanding that Every Stock has an Underlying Value.

 

The level of success an investor has depends on their ability to identify securities selling for less than they are worth. In order to do this, however, an investor must understand that every stock has an underlying value which is based on the economics of the business. Once this is understood an investor can go through the process of valuing businesses and purchasing the stock of ones selling for far less than they are worth.

 

Few people will deny the fact that every stock has an underlying value, which over the long term reflects the economics of the business. However, there is often a disconnect on how this value is calculated. So, let us start by defining the value of a business using a definition that was described by John Burr Williams in The Theory of Investment Value and later affirmed by Warren Buffett in his Economic Principles of Berkshire Hathaway:

 

The value of any business is the discounted value of all the cash that can be taken out of the business during its remaining life.

 

This definition should be the center point on which all business valuation is done.

 

To understand how much cash can be taken out of a business, one must understand what the business is likely to earn over the pursuing years, and therefore how much will be paid out to its owners, who are all expecting an adequate rate of return.

 

This brings us to the sole purpose behind investing. Which is that the only reason for putting money into an investment now is to get more money back at a later time. The key to business valuation then, is to estimate the future cash flows of a business and then purchase the business, or a piece of it, at a price that will provide an adequate rate of return in relation to these cash flows.

 

In estimating these future cash flows an investor must identify the key variables that determine the earnings of a business, such as the sale of iPhones for Apple or the sale of unit cases for Coca-Cola, and then estimate what the volume of sales is likely to be over the coming years.

 

It’s important at this stage of the investment process that an investor not become overly optimistic in their estimation of future cash outlay, but rather base their estimations on conservative thinking as well as a thorough analysis of the business’s past earnings, competitive advantage, and future prospects.

 

Parallel with the principle that all stocks have a value, is the rule that over time the price of a stock will come to match the true value of the business. This concept is one people often have great difficulty with. However, a look at the history of all publicly traded corporations will reveal the fact that regardless of any short-term price movements, no matter how volatile they may be, the price of a stock will inevitably come to match the true value of the business. While the volatility of markets may make this hard to accept, it is essential an investor realize this truth if they intend to earn superior investment returns.

Having a Wide Margin of Safety.

 

Due to the uncertainties involved with purchasing marketable securities, an investor will greatly increase their chances of success if they incorporate a large enough margin of safety between a security’s price and value that even a mediocre sale will yield a favorable result.

 

The large number of unknowns involved with valuing a publicly traded company makes it essential for an investor to have a wide margin of safety. Put another way, when purchasing a business an investor should aim to pay no more than 70% of the intrinsic value of what the business is worth in order to account for the unknown fluctuations that might occur in the operations of the business.

 

As an example, let us imagine that a security analyst stumbles across a company earning $20 per share and has been growing at a reasonable rate over the past few years. After further analysis of the company’s tangible assets, debt, competitive advantage, as well as the going rate for long-term government bonds, they value the company at roughly $350 per share. After this valuation process the analyst references their personal stock manual to find the company is selling for just under $320 per share and quickly buys a block of the company’s stock with the hopes of a $30 per share profit.

 

Over the pursuing years, a series of unforeseen events fall upon the company, causing their earnings to fall from $20 per share to $13 per share. Shocked at these events, the analyst sells his stock out of fear the company’s earnings will continue to drop and his investment will go further south, and then spends the rest of the year in despair at the apparent mistake he has made.

 

Over the next 5 years the company fails to reach their $20 per share earnings peak but continues to earn an ample return of around $15 per share. Because this analyst failed to account for any unforeseen events and purchased the security for a price far too close to what the business appeared to be valued at, they failed to have a wide enough margin of safety which ultimately led to a poor investment result.

 

If, however, they had taken the proper investment approach and accounted for the “vicissitudes of time” as Ben Graham put it, they would have instead tried to purchase the security for no more than 70 cents on the dollar, compared to the 90 cents on the dollar that was actually paid, and the analyst would have continued to have a satisfactory investment despite the company’s fall in earnings.

 

This is a habit that must be developed within all investors. Without this margin of safety principle incorporated into every investment decision, one will likely fall into the habit of speculation rather than true investment and will in turn suffer the poor results destined to stock speculators.

 

Staying Within Our Circle of Competence.

 

In order to value a business, and henceforth identify ones selling for below their value, an investor must have a high level of confidence in what the business is going to earn over the pursuing years. Because of this, an investor dramatically improves their chances of success by staying within areas of business they feel they have a superior level of knowledge.

 

Due to the overconfidence man often has in himself, and the animal spirits John Maynard Keynes identified within all of us, it is extremely easy and very tempting to convince ourselves we have superior knowledge in areas where we in fact don’t. Because of these irrational tendencies, an investor must constantly strive to restrict themselves to areas where they do indeed have a superior level of knowledge. Without the proper amount of self-restraint, an investor will drift into areas that can only offer the illusion of successful investment.

 

The question remains of course, how to define one’s circle of competence and ensure that they stay within that boundary.

 

Defining one’s circle of competence consists not of understanding how the products or services of a company work, such as the computer science behind a technology company, but rather understanding how consumers react and adapt to a company’s products and services in their buying decisions; and from there understanding what consumer behavior is likely to be over the next 5 to 10 years. If one cannot say with assurance what the attitude of consumers will be towards a company’s offerings in the future, then they cannot designate the company as one within their circle of competence.

 

This again leads us to further restricting ourselves to investments that offer a safety of principle, an adequate rate of return, a wide margin of safety, and now ones that reside within our circle of competence. Making this refinement all the more difficult is the often-excessive pressure that comes from others to act on things that are seen as fashionable at the time, but are in reality purely speculative (tulip bulbs, dot com stocks, sub-prime mortgages, cryptocurrencies).

 

However, if an investor can stand by their own convictions, not giving in to the emotions of the crowd, they can rest assured by their investment decisions, and superior returns can only be certain.

Investment Strategies

While all investment goes back to the same purpose of putting in cash now to receive more cash at a later date, the activities of this fund can be categorized into three different investment strategies. 

Undervalued Common Stocks

The use of the term undervalued stocks has gone misinterpreted for many decades as a synonym for companies having a low price-to-earnings ratio or low price-to-book value. More confusing has been the public’s desire to categorize stocks between growth and value. While this misinterpretation is understandable, it is, for all intents and purposes, completely wrong. To quote the world’s most successful investor Warren Buffett, “all investing is value investing”, for what is the purpose of investing in something unless you are getting value for your money. 

 

Our goal with common stocks then is to estimate how much cash a business is going to earn, and then purchase their stock at a price that yields a favorable return. If a company can be expected to earn $30 per share over the coming years and their stock can be purchased at $100 per share, an investor would receive a very adequate 30% rate of return. 

 

The goal of an investor is to answer 3 main questions as it relates to common stocks:

 

  1. How much money is this company going to pay me?

  2. When do I expect to get paid by this company?  

  3. How sure am I that this company is going to pay me?

 

Finding the answer to these questions involves a substantial analysis of both quantitative and qualitative factors. Performing this analysis is one of the main purposes of this fund. 

Mispriced Bonds

Similar to common stocks, the purpose of investing in bonds is to receive enough value from the income of the bond so it produces an adequate rate of return. While the market for bonds is much larger than the market for stocks, common stocks almost always represent a better investment. 

 

However, there are occasional instances, usually during times of panic, when certain issues of bonds become extremely mispriced. The use of the term “mispriced” here is used to describe bonds which yield extremely high returns but whose issuer shows no sign of defaulting. 

 

As an example, suppose a municipality in southern California issues a bond to build a new highway. At the time of issuance the bond comes with a 6% coupon attached, or $60 (bonds are mostly issued in $1,000 increments). After a panic inducing event occurs, perhaps an earthquake in an area close by, the price of the bond falls from $1,000 to $300 resulting in the yield going from 6% to 20%. 

 

Now, while all other similar bonds are yielding a mere 6% we have purchased our bond at a price to yield 20%. Because this earthquake was not strong enough to cause damage to our bond-issuing municipality, and the bond’s drop in price was based on fear rather than rationale, it became “mispriced”, presenting a wonderful opportunity for the observant investor. 

Event Arbitrage

 

Arbitrage originally pertained to the process of purchasing and selling a security in two different places at the same time. If 1,000 bushels of wheat was selling for $2,500 in the European commodities market and for $2,550 in the American commodities market, an arbitraer would purchase the 1,000 bushels in the European market and then instantly sell them in the American market, pocketing the $50 difference in the process. 

 

Event arbitrage relates more specifically to the purchase of securities with the expectation that a certain corporate event will occur, such as a merger, recapitalization, tender offer etc., with the arbitrager expecting to make a small profit as a result of the event occurring. 

 

A non-hypothetical example may suffice. On May 19, 2020, Epsilon Energy filed a tender offer with the SEC for the purchase of 2 million shares of their common stock at a price of $3.06 per share, with the tender to be completed by July 30 (a tender offer is the process of buying in one’s own stock). On the day after the filing was released Epsilon’s common stock was selling at $2.89 per share. If the vigilant investor were to have purchased the common stock at $2.89 and sold it into the tender offer 8 weeks later they would have realized a 5.9% gain in less than three months, resulting in an annualized return of  35.4%.

Expectations

 

The partnership will take a long-term point of view

 

In the same way an investor purchases a piece of real estate or a restaurant franchise with the expectation to hold it for many years, partners should take a similar view with their investment in the fund. Good investments are not something that should be bought and sold on a frequent basis, and investors in the fund should invest with the expectation that their money will be invested for many years. Since the beginning of the country the most successful individuals have gotten their wealth through holding equities in businesses for an extended period of time: Benjamin Franklin with newspapers, Vanderbilt with railroads, Rockefeller with oil, and Gates with software. None have gotten their wealth through a short term viewpoint towards their business. 

 

The partnership will have down years

 

Partners should have no misconception that the fund will have a positive return every single year. It is in the nature of securities markets that there will be years in which the price of common stocks fall dramatically. When these years do occur the result will be a drop in the net asset value of the fund.  

 

Incidentally, when these down years do occur there will most likely be a far greater number of companies selling for below their value, providing numerous opportunities for the fund to make wise investments.

 

There may also be years in which we earn a positive return but fail to provide a higher return than the broader stock market, which may occur if the managing partner does not find any extremely attractive investments or believes prices in the market to be too high. Again, the purpose of this fund is to provide an adequate rate of return to investors while incurring the least amount of risk, where risk involves purchasing into companies we do not understand or purchasing into companies at too high a price. 

 

The managing partner will have significant portion of his net worth in the partnership

 

To ensure that the managing partner has an equal amount of downside as the limited partners, he will have a significant portion of his net worth invested in the partnership. A large portion of individuals put in charge of managing an investment fund do so without actually having much of their own money within the fund. The result is a limited downside for the investment manager but unlimited downside for the other investors in the fund. To avoid this disparity the managing partner of the fund will have almost all of his net worth invested in the fund. 

 

The partnership will use debt sparingly

 

Throughout the entire history of investing in financial markets, the biggest ruiner of individuals and organizations

 has been the use of excessive leverage. Yet, countless people still fall into the same trap as people have before. The motivation people have for investing with leverage is that it brings the possibility of a higher return on their investment, however, if things do not go the way they expected they are left owing substantial amounts of money. Because of the numerous failures that have resulted from leverage (LTCM, Lehman, etc.) Olympus Capital LP will rarely, if ever, engage in the use of debt to purchase securities. 

 

Limited Partners can withdrawal their funds at the beginning of every year

 

At the beginning of every year limited partners in the fund will be able to withdraw all or part of their invested capital. Withdrawing capital is a simple matter of contacting the managing partner and requesting that their capital be withdrawn, at which time the managing partner will explain how much capital the limited partner has to withdraw and will then send the funds to the limited partner. Along with the funds that are sent to the limited partner there will be tax documentation explaining how the limited partner should report their profits on their tax return. 

 

Limited Partners will be updated on their investment once per year. 

Towards the beginning of every year investors in the fund will receive an annual letter from the managing partner detailing the fund’s performance over the previous year as well as an explanation of some of the investment activities performed over the year. The managing partner may also publish his writings on the Olympus Wealth Management website at www.olympusw.com/william-douthat. Limited partners are welcome to call or email the managing partner at any time during the year with questions regarding their investments. 

Performance

The performance of the fund will be measured based on the percentage increase of the fund assets during the calendar year and will then be reported back to all investors at year-end.

Past performance is show below:


 

 

Year

2019

2020

Partnership Gain

10.97%

10.77%

Compounded

22.92%

*Past performance is no guarantee of future returns

Management & Fees

The managing partner of the fund is Olympus Wealth Management which was founded in 2018 and is owned 100% by William E. Douthat. William was involved in the start up of a financial forecasting software application and shortly after passed FINRA’s Series 65 Exam to become licensed as an investment advisor. He started Olympus Wealth Management in August of 2018 and formed Olympus Capital LP in 2020 in order to manage money for others. 

 

As a performance fee the managing partner will retain 20% of all profits earned by the fund within a given year. Olympus Wealth Management will not charge a so-called “management fee” which is usually a 1-2% fee charged to investors irrespective of performance. This fee tends to be irrational and unfair to partners and the partnership maintains the notion that the managing partner should not receive any payment unless a positive return is provided to all partners.


For any further questions or concerns please contact the managing partner at william@olympusw.com

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