These are glorious days for value investing. Sale prices abound and sellers are eager to make a deal.
The challenge for buyers is separating the wheat from the chaff. Same as it always was, although given the economic backdrop there’s a lot more chaff than wheat these days and so caveat emptor has rarely been more germane to the money game, regardless of strategic focus. That’s the price of opportunity, one might say. Nonetheless, there are a lot of bargains out there if you know where to look–and how to look.
For starters, value-minded investors need to distinguish among assets with encouraging prospects that happen to be trading at discounts to fundamental value from those that deserve to be priced on the cheap. Figuring out which is which with an eye on profiting from the knowledge was Ben Graham’s forte, of course. Among the celebrated value investor’s countless disciples is one Jon Heller, CFA and president of KEJ Financial Advisors in Newtown, Pa.
Value investing is a redundant phrase for Heller, who headed up the equity analytics department for many years at Bloomberg L.P. before opening his financial planning practice. The premise of looking for dollars trading for pennies is synonymous with the basic concept of “investing,” he believes. Until recently, that was a rather tedious affair, although it’s recently become a lot more interesting and potentially a lot more productive.
We last talked with Heller in June, when he discussed his Cheap Stocks 21 Net/Net Index, which he writes about along with other value-oriented subjects on his Cheap Stocks blog. With the end of the year approaching (mercifully), and the opportunities for value investing seemingly in surplus, the timing is right to chat with this aficionado of “deep value” investing.
Heller also happens to be our debut guest on our newly launched Inside View podcasting series for The Capital Spectator. Going forward, your editor will routinely be interviewing a variety of investment strategists, economists and other guests of note in finance and economics. But first, let’s start the show…

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