Applied Finance, a thought leader in valuation and portfolio construction, is a true “value” investment management company. Unlike the majority of firms today that focus on low multiples to define “value”, we define value as identifying companies trading below their intrinsic value. Our Valuation Driven™ approach forms the foundation of our investment decisions
Applied Finance is 100% employee owned, with the average tenure of our 10 partners being over 17 years.
History of Innovation
Research has always been a critical part of Applied Finance’s culture. In 1995, we humbly began in a Chicago basement, with the idea to create a better approach to measure corporate performance and value companies than existed at the time.
Our roots were and remain dedicated to answering two questions critical to any investment decision:
- What is a firm’s economic performance?
- What is a firm worth?
We developed the Economic Margin® framework to measure a firm’s economic, rather than as-reported accounting performance, leading the industry with primary research into:
- Capitalizing R&D
- Estimating size and leverage risk premium
- Modeling competitive advantage through Economic Profit Horizons
Ultimately, creating a direct link from corporate performance to valuation.
Shortly thereafter, we began assembling a technical team that today includes a unique mix of professionals with diverse functional, educational and cultural backgrounds. The result is a special workplace that values: accomplishment, stability, and ethics in the pursuit of excellence for our clients.
Since 1995, over 20 million individual, point-in-time, company valuations have been calculated. Each week we calculate approximately 20,000 intrinsic value estimates to continually expand our knowledge and improve our strategies.
Our proprietary research analytics provide the foundation for our repeatable and sustainable investment process.
Buying stocks trading below their intrinsic value forms the foundation of our strategies.
As obvious as that phrase seems, we believe there is much to appreciate in its meaning and implementation that is too often is either ignored and/or misunderstood in the investment community.
First, we focus our efforts on understanding a firm’s intrinsic value, not its cheapness. While there has been an abundance of academic research and marketing expenditures promoting cheapness as a desirable stock attribute, we disagree. After controlling for valuation, cheapness provides no tradable excess returns. We instead believe it is important to develop realistic, accurate, empirically tested estimates of intrinsic value from which to evaluate candidates for inclusion into our various strategies.
Second, we actively cultivate a vibrant valuation culture within our investment group through an ongoing commitment to:
- Develop and maintain a deep professional expertise
- Oerform ongoing theoretical and applied valuation research
- Continually review our valuation efficacy.
Lastly, we understand it’s easy to perform a valuation, but extraordinarily difficult to perform a valuation that accurately estimates a company’s intrinsic value.
Unlike any other firm, Applied Finance over the past 25 years has developed and maintained original, proprietary research to properly model equity risk premiums and Economic Margin® sustainability. This enables us to avoid the unrealistic assumptions common to most valuation approaches practiced today.
In addition, we archive 20,000 valuations weekly, over 20 million since 1995, that allow us to understand how well we value the stocks we own in our portfolios and just as importantly those we do not so we continually learn and grow our knowledge base from our mistakes.
Research Team Bios:
Rafael Resendes, MBA – Applied Finance Partner
Co-founder of Applied Finance. BA from University of California, MBA from the University of Chicago.
In 1995, together with Daniel Obrycki, Mr. Resendes developed the Economic Margin framework to measure a firm’s economic, rather than as-reported accounting performance, and directly link corporate performance to valuation.
Resendes graduated from The University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economic Analysis. Resendes went on to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago. Resendes is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Prior to co-founding Applied Finance, Mr. Resendes was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and served as director of research for HOLT Value Associates.
In 2003 Resendes began serving on the CFA Institute’s Speaker Retainer Program speaking to over 45 Financial Analyst Societies in 12 countries. Resendes has also served as a guest speaker for various equity valuation seminars, National Investor Relations Institute and served as a Professor at DePaul University in Chicago.
Daniel J. Obrycki, MBA – Applied Finance Partner
Co-founder of Applied Finance. BS University of Missouri-Rolla, MBA from the University of Chicago.
In 1995, Mr. Obrycki and Rafael Resendes together created the Economic Margin framework to measure a firm’s economic, rather than as-reported accounting performance, and directly link corporate performance to valuation.
Mr. Obrycki directs Applied Finance research efforts and also serves as the head of the investment committee.
Mr. Obrycki graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Rolla with a BS in Geological Engineering and obtained his MBA with a finance specialization from the University of Chicago. Obrycki has also taught finance at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.
Prior to co-founding Applied Finance, Mr. Obrycki was the Manager of Research for HOLT Value Associates. In addition, he worked as a Senior Economic Analyst for Amoco Production Company in their domestic and international business units. There he provided extensive economic analyses and valuations on numerous investment opportunities, acquisitions, divestitures, funding arrangements, and tax issues.
Jun Wang, MBA, CFA – Applied Finance Partner
Portfolio Manager and Fundamental Research Analyst. BA Southwest University China, MBA from California State University, Fresno.
Jun Wang, CFA, joined Applied Finance in 2002 and has actively participated in numerous fundamental research initiatives, including company models, industry recommendations, and sector reviews, in early years. Ms. Wang now directs the analyst team which is responsible for maintaining structured portfolio products.
Wang received a B.A. degree from Southwest University in English Literature in China, and holds an MBA degree from The California State University of Fresno. She obtained her CFA charter in 2006.
Prior to coming to the United States, Ms. Wang taught English at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China.
Dhaval Sanghavi, CFA, CPA – Applied Finance Partner
Portfolio Manager and Fundamental Research Analyst
Dhaval Sanghavi, CFA®, CPA® joined Applied Finance in 2004 and has actively participated in numerous fundamental research initiatives, including the development of Applied Finance’s International database system, company models, industry recommendations, and sector reviews. Mr. Sanghavi covers the Technology and Telecommunications sector for Applied Finance analyst driven portfolios. In addition to covering the Technology sector, Mr. Sanghavi is responsible for managing the data vendor relationships and for the quality control of Applied Finance’s international database.
Prior to AFCM, Mr. Sanghavi worked as a Senior Financial Analyst at Sears Holdings in their Corporate Planning department and prior to that position, as a Senior Analyst at Arthur Andersen in their Shareholder Value Services practice.
Mr. Sanghavi received dual B.S. degrees in Accounting and Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He obtained his CFA charter in 2004.
Derek Bergen, Applied Finance Partner
Portfolio Manager and Quantitative Research Analyst
Derek Bergen, CFA joined Applied Finance in 2005 and focuses on the development of quantitative metrics and strategies. Mr. Bergen also leads curriculum development efforts for Applied Finance’s support center to train research clients on best practice application of Applied Finance research tools. Mr. Bergen also works with the development team to design product enhancements that improve portfolio management and due diligence workflows. Mr. Bergen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Finance and Real Estate. He obtained his CFA charter in 2016.
John Holt, MBA, CFA – Applied Finance Partner
Portfolio Manager and Quantitative Research Analyst
John Holt joined Applied Finance in 2014 and is involved in the management of both quantitative strategies and analyst driven strategies. Additionally, Mr. Holt works with Applied Finance clients on portfolio implementation solutions and research initiatives.
Mr. Holt graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University with a B.S. in Economics and a Minor in Math. He then went on to earn an MBA from George Mason. Mr. Holt obtained his CFA Charter in 2019.
Alex Plascencia, MBA
Fundamental Research Analyst
Alex Plascencia joined Applied Finance in 2005 and participates in Applied Finance research initiatives as an equity research analyst. Mr. Plascencia develops financial models, provides industry recommendations and sector overview updates. In addition to his contribution to the analyst team, Mr. Plascencia also provides support to the quality control of the domestic database.
Mr. Plascencia received a B.S. degree in Business Administration from University of California, Riverside and earned an MBA degree from University of California, Irvine.
Mark Everette, MBA, CPA – Consultant to Applied Finance
Utility Sector Consultant and Fundamental Research Analyst. BA and MBA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mark has over 25 years of consulting experience serving utility sector clients and brings deep experience covering such areas as: strategic business planning and business intelligence systems design, enterprise and business unit economic modeling, shared service organization design and process implementation, activity-based cost and performance management systems, business process re-engineering, management audit preparation, and due diligence reviews related to acquisition and divestiture transactions.
Through his combination of both operational and financial expertise, he has developed system and process business requirements and built economic decision models for a wide variety of utility strategic initiatives, including distribution Smart Grid implementations, generation performance management, transmission business unit planning, and business intelligence / ERP systems design.
Regulatory experience includes preparing studies and expert testimony concerning the appropriate determination of working capital requirements, performing reviews of forecast information included in filings to support tariff changes, and directing the filing information required for FERC-RTO transmission rate applications and SEC Public Utility Holding Company Act submittals. He has implemented shared service organizational designs and developed cost allocation requirements for several clients in support of regulatory filings.