For anyone who thought it was only the short sellers that have all the bright ideas about how to make money, twelve local and global fund managers have put up their best stocks to buy right now.

In any argument it’s always polite to present both sides of the case but the short sellers do seem to grab all the headlines whenever they come up with a target.

Think Quintis, Myer, Acconex, Bellamy’s and Vocus.

But on Tuesday in Sydney at the Generation Investment Forum there was no mention of shorts, or short selling.

Instead, in two unique sessions, that had fund managers up on stage as the stars of the show, all they talked about was a stock they wanted to buy

The so-called “edgy” strategy was put to one side as these fund managers went back to their roots and looked for value with a couple of growth stocks thrown in for good measure.

Although traditional portfolio theory says stock diversification is the best means of spreading the risk, there’s been a new breed of investors that have challenged that idea.

The latest theory says that all assets have been winners from the era of cheap money.

But that is coming to an end so investors need short positions as well as long positions.

Indeed, short-selling has become a real feature on the ASX over the past few years as they identify companies that are living a lie.

To date the hedge funds that practise short selling have been very good at it.

But on Tuesday that all took a back seat. Indeed, it was back to picking winners.

No talk of positive returns for their investors regardless of where the sharemarket is going – up or down.

No talk of shorting or any other complicated way managers can use to generate better returns through convertible securities or arbitrage.

No mention of index investing either. The battle between active and passive management, that has also stolen the limelight this year, took a break for the day.

For sure there was an acceptance among some of the fund managers that we are getting close to the end of the bull market, it’s now being going since March, 2009, but they still found a range of local and global stocks to buy.

Indeed, it was all about picking stocks that would make money if you buy them.

In no real order they included Afterpay, Reckon, Noni B, PWR Holdings, Telstra, Iluka Resources, Mineral Deposits and PMP from the local sharemarket and Haseko Corporation, Zayo Group, Apple, Office Depot, Nexstar Media and Whole Foods Market from global markets.

Similar to the Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference that took place at the Sydney Opera House in November 2016, this was a snappy paced day that should catch on.

Just like “Woodstock for Capitalists” is a unique weekend in corporate America, where investors flock to Omaha, Nebraska to listen to Warren Buffett , this slick show could become a must-attend day.

Each fund manager has around five to eight minutes to tell the audience the reasons behind why they were a buyer of the stock.

Before any of the presentations began the 850 people in the audience watched a video of Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer giving an impassioned speech that was all about four words.

I. Love. This. Company.

It’s a well-known video and the words are shouted out during a now infamous presentation in 2000 in which Ballmer struts across the stage to gee up his staff.

Although Ballmer was talking about Microsoft, the long-only fund managers then proceeded to talk about the stock they loved and why.

Each presentation was short, to the point but all the key points where made.

Chairman of FGG, Belinda Hutchinson, described it as speed dating for fund managers and it could take off as Australia creates its own batch of celebrity managers.


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