Investment Philosophy

Semper Augustus is an SEC registered investment advisor, founded in 1998 with principal offices in Denver and St. Louis. We are a fundamental, value-driven investor managing concentrated equity portfolios of well-run, well-capitalized businesses with share prices trading below our conservative appraisals of intrinsic value. We go where the value is.

Our process identifies companies earn free cash returns in excess of a realistic estimate of the firm’s cost of capital. This margin of safety is crucial to managing risk in the portfolio. We define risk as permanent loss of capital, not as volatility around some mean. Over time, we believe our risk-averse investment portfolios should realize long-term compound annual rates of return higher than those generally available from the average investor’s general experience in securities.

Equity Strategy

We are a fundamental value manager with concentrated investments in great businesses whose publicly traded securities trade at discounted prices to our conservative appraisals of intrinsic value. Our purpose is long-term outperformance versus the aggregate stock market (Standard & Poor’s 500).  We invest in companies of high business quality and our entire investment process is driven by risk awareness and management.

Our portfolios generally contain fewer than 30 holdings, and are often highly concentrated in a small handful of business with high business quality and a significant discount to appraised value. We value growth and recognize growth is but a component of the value equation. Growth without commensurate free cash profits can destroy value. Our investment process employs a dual margin of safety – that of business quality and price. We keep business quality high and are disciplined about the price we are willing to pay for a business. We conversely apply the same approach in our sale discipline. In combination, our buy and sale disciplines revolve an understanding of opportunity cost.

Our Approach to Cash

Cash is typically a byproduct of the investment process. An individual client’s allocation to cash and cash equivalents depends on their individual circumstances. In a new account, we may take a period of time to deploy cash. That amount of time can vary by account.