Why the Name "Silver Ring Value Partners"?

When I was a child growing up in the former Soviet Union, my mother gave me a gold ring that had been hers since childhood. Later, when we immigrated to the United States, we were allowed to take only one ring per person. And so the ring my mother had given me was left behind to make room for more valuable ones.

As part of the immigration process, we lived in Italy for five months while awaiting permission to enter the United States. While there, my mother and I had to sell some of our things at the local bazaar to cover living expenses. During that process I encountered a jewelry store that, by luck, had a small gold ring similar to the one that I had been forced to leave behind. It was very inexpensive, the equivalent of about $4, and much cheaper than similar rings in the store. After obtaining my mother’s permission I proudly returned to the store and purchased it using some of the money that I had made in prior months. I soon discovered why that ring was so inexpensive: within two weeks the gold plating wore off, revealing silver underneath.

That “silver ring” experience taught me three important lessons: that careful research must precede every significant purchase; that quality should be an important component of the investment decision; and that if something is conspicuously cheap there may be a reason for its low price that merits investigation. “Value” reflects that at the core of my investment approach is a belief that intelligent investing involves a comparison between the value of what we are getting and the price that we are paying, with a need for a large margin of safety between the two. And “partners” reflects my belief in treating investors as true partners who will share a common aim of safely compounding our capital over the long-term rather than merely as clients.