“We have not invented anything new - we just arrange the pieces in ways different to others.”

Warren Buffett

When Ben Graham passed away in 1976, he left an investment world that would be unrecognisable today. Since then, the world has experienced:

-          Inflation

-          Deflation

-          Isolationism

-          Globalisation

-          Technological advances and disruption that both create and destroy business monoliths in ways that are completely unforeseeable

-          The longest recorded bull market in bond yields

-          Negative interest rates

-          Unprecedented policy actions

-          Hostility not seen since 1945

-          Unprecedented levels of indebtedness

If Graham were alive today, how might he make sense of all these dynamics bumping up against each other? How might he value businesses whose competitors only exist because of zero or negative interest rates? How might he appraise the value of business “moats” that could be disrupted out of existence in an instant?

What happens when secular trends such deflation and globalisation change direction?

How sensitive is the world today to rising interest rates from unheard of low levels? Are we near the end of a credit creation super cycle? We are about to find these things out.

The objective of Graham’s Benjamins is to suggest how Graham might have made sense of today’s investment landscape. Or to offer potential ways of how Graham might have rearranged the pieces, were he here today.


Grahams Benjamins
Fund Manager, Writer, Sort of Historian