BERKOWITZ: FAIRHOLME TURNAROUND?

September 30, 2016

An exclusive interview with a deep value investor whose outstanding long term track record has been seriously tested in recent years. Why Fairholme Fund’s Bruce Berkowitz says there is light at the end of the tunnel.

WEALTHTRACK Episode #1315; Originally Broadcast on September 30, 2016
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BRUCE BERKOWITZ

  • Portfolio Manager,
  • The Fairholme Fund

Consuelo Mack

There is a retirement crisis in this country that is escalating as an estimated 10,000 thousand baby boomers a day turn 65.  Two thirds, or 40 million, of the approximately 76 million boomers are already 65 or older… and Social Security, which nearly two-thirds of boomers cite as their major source of retirement income, is headed for insolvency.

Unless changes are made to Social Security in terms of increased funding and tighter  eligibility, the program is projected to spend more than it earns by the end of this decade and will be completely depleted by 2034.

It’s not just baby boomers who are in trouble.  With the demise of traditional pension plans and increased longevity younger Americans are facing enormous savings and retirement plan shortfalls as well unless their savings and investing habits change.  It is past time to address the crisis.

2016 is the tenth anniversary of the Pension Protection Act, or PPA, which was largely designed to shore up financially troubled defined benefit plans, and their insurer, but the legislation also vastly improved the health of defined-contribution plans including 401(k)s, now the dominant individual retirement savings vehicle for those Americans who are offered such plans at work, mostly at large companies.

There is a huge gap in access for employees of small businesses, long the primary drivers of job creation and employment. Nearly 40% of working households do not have access to employer based plans. And the vast majority of part-time and contract workers are left out entirely.

Momentum is building from the private and public sector to change this and offer much greater access to retirement plans that work for employers and employees alike. This week’s guests are in the forefront of these efforts.

We’ll be joined by Brigitte Madrian, Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  Since 2014 she has also been one of the 19 members of the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings set up by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The commission of business, political and policy leaders recently issued its recommendationsto reform  Social Security,  broaden access to workplace retirement plans and promote savings.

We’ll also hear from Fredrik Axsater, Global Head Of Defined Contribution at State Street Global Advisors which oversees more than $2 trillion in both actively managed and passive assets globally. About $300 billion of that is in global defined contribution plans.  SSGA is the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.  Axsater, who joined SSGA in 2011, has devoted his professional career to making retirement work for employers and employees around the world.

SSGA’s CEO Ron O’Hanley recently wrote an open letter to Congress calling for mandated workplace retirement coverage for all private sector workers. I asked both  guests why they believe focusing on the  workplace is key to solving the  retirement crisis and why they are both optimistic that expanding 401k access nationally will happen.

If you miss the show on air this week, you can always catch it on our website.  We also have an EXTRA interview with both Madrian and Axsater, available exclusively online.  As always, we welcome your feedback on Facebook, Twitter or via the Contact Us link on our website.  We read all of your comments.

Thank you for watching.  Have a great weekend and make the week ahead a profitable and productive one.

Best Regards,

Consuelo Mathews Asia

UNDERSTAND YOUR RISK TOLERANCE

No Bookshelf titles this week.

“MONEY GOOD” YIELDS

Buy Chesapeake Energy Corp bonds

  • Maturing between 2017 & 2020
  • High yields
  • Below investment grade but “money good”
Fannie Mae (FNMA) FNMA Chart

FNMA data by YCharts

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (FMCC) FMCC Chart

FMCC data by YCharts

The St. Joe Company (JOE) JOE Chart

JOE data by YCharts

Sears Holding Corp (SHLD) SHLD Chart

SHLD data by YCharts

Bank of America Corp (BAC) BAC Chart

BAC data by YCharts

American International Group Inc (AIG) AIG Chart

AIG data by YCharts

This transcript will be available soon. More information regarding WEALTHTRACK transcripts can be found here

Bruce Berkowitz from the WEALTHTRACK Archives:

PRESIDENTIAL TEAM

Which presidential candidate gets the nod from Fairholme Funds’ deep value portfolio manager Bruce Berkowitz? He says its more about the team than the candidate.


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