News & Views

News & Views

David (Dave) Iben CFA

David Iben is the Chief Investment Officer of Kopernik Global Investors and is the sole Portfolio Manager of the Kopernik Global All-Cap strategy, Lead Portfolio Manager of the Kopernik Global Unconstrained strategy, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Kopernik Global Long-Term Opportunities strategy and Co-Portfolio Manager of the Kopernik International strategies. He is the Managing Member, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Kopernik Global Investors.

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Changes in Latitude (Feb 28, 2022)

Although our CIO’s commentary was planned to be published last week, in light of current world events, we elected to hold it back and to address more pressing matters first. We reiterate that our thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people during this troubling time. Like all of you, we continue to monitor events and hope for peace.

In this letter, we have the audacity to give a non-standard view of “Buffett” stocks. Fortuitously, Mr. Buffett issued his annual letter this weekend, lending credence to our belief that he may share the view that now is more of a time for investing in real assets than in the stocks of over-earning consumer brands. In his summary, Mr. Buffett writes about how Berkshire Hathaway was a struggling ‘value’ stock in 1965, having just cumulatively lost money over a nine-year period. Its stock had more than halved. This quintessential deep value stock was the only holding that Warren kept when he unwound his investment partnership in the late 1960s.

Buffett made a point to emphasize (headed ‘Surprise, surprise”) Berkshire’s “Four Giants”: a railroad (BNSF), an utility franchise (BHE), insurance businesses, and – yes – Apple. Three of the four are ‘value’ businesses, two of which are clearly endowed with significant Real Asset holdings. Interestingly, he starts his summary with the fact that Berkshire is the single largest owner/operator of infrastructure in the U.S. It is on their books for $158 BILLION. It was fun to see him end his summary with a reference to “Cousin Jimmy Buffett” who apparently will be selling “party” boats at the Berkshire annual meeting in late April. Apparently, a Berkshire subsidiary is building the boats that Jimmy designed, and Warren is buying one from him. We’ve read that they are long-time friends. Apparently 23andme recently disproved years of conjecture that the two are related.

We hope you enjoy the read.

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Sedona (Sep 2021)

In his new commentary, Kopernik CIO Dave Iben summarizes many of his thoughts on the current inflationary environment and gives examples of how this has benefited value investors. They now figuratively have the wind at their backs.

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29 Palms (Jul 2021)

In his newest commentary, Kopernik’s CIO Dave Iben draws inspiration from Robert Plant and the deserts of Morocco to discuss the Fed’s printing press, the Cantillon effect, and the value Kopernik is finding in scarce, undervalued, useful assets.

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Calypso's Market (Dec 2020)

With so much anxiety about the current euphoria in the market, we thought it was a good time to send out a little stocking stuffer with some of our thoughts. In a nutshell, we reach back into Greek mythology to explain why we believe that people are buying great companies but at the wrong prices. Of course, some are buying hopes and dreams at ridiculous prices as well, but that is a story for another time. More importantly, in our opinion, the real-money making opportunities lie elsewhere. This gives us hope as 2020 merges into 2021. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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Kopernik Perspective: A Differentiated Approach to ESG (July 2022)

In this whitepaper on ESG, Kopernik’s investment research team provides an update to our March 2021 webinar on the same topic. In summary, ESG is important, complex, and nuanced. This whitepaper will give an update on how we think about the current ESG environment, provide examples of the types of ESG risks we are evaluating, and explain how we integrate ESG risk into our valuation process.

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Managing Geopolitical Risk in a Global Portfolio (July 2022)

In this whitepaper, Kopernik’s investment research team builds on our April 2022 webinar about geopolitical risk, breaking down our process and examples of both successes and losses in emerging markets. Evaluating geopolitical risk has always been a key factor in our global investment process. As global crises have made our role as investment manager more crucial than ever, our mission of being independent thought leaders could not be more pertinent.

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Fear is Good (July 2022)

In his latest commentary, Kopernik analyst and co-portfolio manager for the International Strategy, Mark McKinney, compares today’s U.S. market to the tech bubble of the late 1990s and 2000s. He also gives examples of the many “mini bubbles” that have already burst under the surface of the bigger names in the index. Lastly, there are some thoughts on the US Dollar, inflation, and gold.

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The Greater The Suffering, The Greater The Peace (Jan 2022)

In his latest commentary, Kopernik analyst and co-portfolio manager for the International Strategy, Mark McKinney, compares the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the resultant inflation and choppy investment environment to the dangerous aspirations of villains in Hollywood spy films and how Kopernik is actively managing our investments through “the greater suffering.”

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Lord make me green…but not yet (Nov 2021)

In his latest commentary, “Lord make me green…but not yet”, Kopernik Analyst Steve Rosenthal discusses a range of factors that handicap “net-zero” emission pledges around the world. While this ambitious goal will hopefully materialize, there resides a paradox in achieving it at the rate and extent we want/need.

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At What Cost? (Sep 2021)

In his latest commentary, Kopernik analyst and co-portfolio manager for the International Strategy Mark McKinney uses Thomas Sowell’s classic question “At what cost?” to articulate potential unintended consequences of finding solutions to current economic challenges.

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The Wall Street Transcript: Waiting for the Market to Have a Vastly Different Opinion - Featuring David Iben

Kopernik's CIO David Iben was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Transcript.

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Barron's Video: Bargains Off the Beaten Track - Featuring David Iben

Kopernik's CIO David Iben recently spoke at a Barron's conference. In this interview, he discusses "three investments that look cheap in a fairly full-priced market."

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Forbes Article Featuring David Iben - This Stock Could Very Easily Triple Or Even Quadruple

Kopernik's Founder, CIO and Portfolio Manager, David Iben, discusses why Kopernik likes certain gold, uranium and phone companies in this current, especially inefficient market.

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Welling on Wall St. - Listening In: Dave Iben's Kopernik Thrives Where Others Fear To Tread (Jul 2014)

Kathryn Welling and David Iben discuss his recent endeavors and why Dave believes this is a great market for value investing.

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Value Investor Insight Features David Iben (Mar 2014)

Value Investor Insight features Kopernik’s Founder and Portfolio Manager, David Iben in “Against the Grain.” In the article, David Iben discusses the investment philosophy at Kopernik Global, why today’s market is reminiscent of 1972 and 1999, risk versus reward in Russia and China, and single-industry valuations on a global basis

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Forbes Article Featuring David Iben - This Stock Has 200% Upside

Kopernik's Founder and Portfolio Manager, David Iben, discusses why the current environment is ideally suited for active managers who are willing to think independently and invest in unpopular regions and sectors.

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