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|Mario Joseph Gabelli|
June 19, 1942 |
The Bronx, New York
|Alma mater||Fordham University
Columbia Business School
|Occupation||Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors|
|Net worth||US$ 1.2 billion(March 2013)|
Mario Joseph Gabelli (born June 19, 1942) is an American stock investor, investment advisor, and financial analyst. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors (GAMCO Investors) a $30 billion global investment firm (assets under management (AUM)) headquartered in Rye, New York. Forbes magazine's 2006 Forbes 400 rankings listed him as #346 on the list of wealthiest Americans and estimated his net worth at $1 billion as of 2011.
Gabelli founded his firm in 1977 as a broker/dealer, and the company has since grown into the diversified financial services corporation. Gabelli does not receive salary, bonuses, or stock options, but is paid a management-fee-based compensation. He was paid $55 million in 2004. His pay of $58.2 million in 2006 was "more than the pay of any senior executive of a major Wall Street firm" that year, despite the fact that he manages only a fraction of the assets of larger Wall Street companies. Gabelli was paid $45.9 million in 2008 at Gamco Investors, a 35% decrease compared to his 2007 compensation of $70.9 million.
Gabelli is a leading proponent of the Graham-Dodd school of security analysis and pioneered the application of Graham and Dodd's principles to the analysis of domestic, cash generating, franchise companies in a very wide range of industries. His proprietary Private Market Value methodology is now an analytical standard in the value investing community.
Gabelli is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member and former officer of the New York Society of Security Analysts, the New York Society of Auto Analysts and the Entertainment Analysts Group of New York.
Gabelli has been a frequent commentator on CNBC, Bloomberg, and CNN, and appeared ten times on Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street. Gabelli is often written about in the financial print media including Institutional Investor, Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, Money, and Changing Times. He has also written articles for investment publications such as the Financial Analysts Handbook and for the GAMCO blog.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 The Gabelli Mutual Funds
- 4 Fund Manager of the Year - 1997
- 5 Philanthropy
- 6 Barron's All-Century Team
- 7 The third decade
- 8 Controversy and related
- 9 The Fourth Decade
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
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Gabelli, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in The Bronx and went to Fordham Preparatory School there. He has said he read market reports for fun when he was very young and that he bought his first stock when he was 13 years old.
Gabelli won a scholarship and graduated from Fordham University summa cum laude. He received his Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School. At Columbia, he was taught by Roger Murray, noted value investing professor and co-author of the Fifth Edition of Security Analysis, The Graham & Dodd Value Investing Bible. Gabelli and his firm later launched the Graham & Dodd, Murray, Greenwald Award for Distinguished Value Investors. This award is presented yearly at his Annual Client Symposium.
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After graduation, Gabelli accepted a position at Loeb, Rhoades & Co. as a farm equipment and auto parts analyst and later media and broadcasting. Gabelli was putting into practice the theory of value investing that he learned at Columbia. He rated companies not by earnings but cash flow, analyzing a firm in great detail to calculate what he called private-market value: not the share price at which a stock was selling on an exchange, but the price per share someone would be willing to pay in order to buy the whole company. This method would be widely used in the 1980s in leveraged buyouts, in which a public company's managers would buy their company, or at least a considerable part of it, and take it private. The calculations employed were often not the same as the standard valuation measures for public companies. This methodology was later trademarked as The Gabelli Private Market Value with a Catalyst Methodology.
Gabelli & Co.
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In 1976, Gabelli formed Gabelli & Co., a brokerage house, with borrowed funds and money he had accumulated trading his own account. Soon after Gabelli formed Gabelli Investors ( later GAMCO Investors) to manage money for clients. After sending a memo to a Barron's editor touting a company he fancied, Chris-Craft Industries, Inc., Gabelli landed on the cover of this financial weekly. By 1981, GAMCO had 81 accounts and was managing about $33 million. Despite the rocky economy and stagnant stock market or the late 1970s and early 1980s, Gabelli made money for his clients each year. While investors were seeking to get in on the ground floor of a company's growth, Gabelli preferred to cash in on a company's death. During the next few years, he invested in or recommended companies that were taken over by other firms or privatized.
By the mid 1980s Gabelli was managing over $350 million in client assets and compounding returns at more than 35 percent per year. While Business Week was touting the "Death of Equities" on its cover, Gabelli was quoted as saying "I don't need a rising market to bail me out." Gabelli's firm was doing all its own research, usually with the idea of identifying firms that might be candidates for leveraged buyouts: those with characteristics such as a large amount of cash on hand, underlying assets such as real estate, or a large block of stock in the hands of a company founder with no children. He also looked for companies in industries where new competition was difficult and cash flow was high. Once Gabelli selected such a stock, he was willing to wait for years until it appreciated. He began buying Cowles Communications, Inc., for example, in 1977 at $14 a share and eventually became its biggest stockholder. In 1984, the company (now Cowles Media Co.) was privatized at $46 a share, for a total payoff to Gabelli's clients of $33 million. Another media winner was Chris-Craft, whose BHC Communications achieved almost a sixfold pretax gain in income over six years in the 1980s and in the 1990s assembled its own network, United Television. The relentless Gabelli was visiting about 50 companies a year to gain information and meeting the managers of more than 100 other corporations annually, as well as getting together with other portfolio managers to discuss ideas and reading about 20 trade journals, two or three newspapers, and a number of industry and company reports. He also was writing research reports for his brokerage customers and portfolio-manager and other professional-investor clients. "I read annual reports instead of novels," Gabelli told Jerry Edgerton of Money in 1986. As a narrowly focused investor with large holdings in a few companies, he was able to bring influence to bear on company management.
Between 1978 and 1985, Gabelli's portfolios outperformed the Standard & Poor's index of 500 stocks each year and more than doubled the results of this S&P index in five of those years. Between 1977 and 1988, Gamco Investors' assets appreciated at an annual compounded rate of 28 percent, a rate exceeded by very few money managers. This money management entity had never lost money over a year and had met Gabelli's objective of ten percent annual return after taxes and inflation in all but two years. GAMCO Investors' equity assets, flush with cash invested by company pension funds, reached $1.6 billion in 1986.
The Gabelli Mutual Funds
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Gabelli's first investment vehicle for the general public, The Gabelli Asset Fund, launched in March 1986 as a no-load fund requiring a minimum of $25,000 to invest. Later, and today, this Fund is available for a minimum investment of $1,000 and accepts IRA investments without a minimum. The Asset Fund was later followed on by The Gabelli Equity Trust, a closed-end fund, which, at the time, was the largest equity offering on the NYSE. By the end of 1988, Gabelli's firm had three mutual funds—two run by himself—with combined assets of $650 million.
Fund Manager of the Year - 1997
In 1997, when ten Gabelli equity funds averaged a return of 31.7 percent, the best of any U.S. mutual fund group, Gabelli was honored by Morningstar, Inc. as the domestic equity fund manager of the year.
Columbia Graduate Business School
In July 2013, The Gabelli Foundation pledged an additional $15 million. This gift is earmarked for the construction of Columbia Business School's new Manhattanville campus. The building is scheduled to open in 2018.
Among those recognized at the 2010 Fordham University Founder’s Award Dinner were Mario J. Gabelli, CBA ’65, and Regina M. Pitaro, FCRH ’76, a Fordham trustee and managing director of GAMCO Asset Management. In September 2010, Fordham formally announced Mr. Gabelli’s $25 million gift, the largest ever in the university’s history. The gift allowed Fordham, which renamed the undergraduate business college the Gabelli School of Business, to expand student scholarships and faculty chairs, and is crucial to the creation of the Center of Global Investment Analysis which brings together students, faculty and professionals in the financial community to enhance scholarship in the study and understanding of capital markets.
Gabelli gift lifts alma mater
Thursday, September 27, Fordham unveiled a new 50,000-square-foot building for its undergraduate business school.
The building, in the heart of the university's 85-acre campus in the Bronx, cost $38 million to renovate. It will now have the latest technology for education, lounge space on every floor and ample Bloomberg machines—not to mention a Roman fountain.
It is only part of the business school's efforts to boost its standing, however.
As part of the institution's capital campaign, renowned investor Mario Gabelli, chief executive of Gamco Investors Inc. and a Fordham alum, pledged $25 million, the biggest gift the university has ever received. The funds helped push the business school's donations to $50 million, $10 million over its goal. In honor of his gift, it has been named the Gabelli School of Business.
But instead of putting his money into brick and mortar like many philanthropists, Mr. Gabelli—who said this is the biggest single gift he has made yet—wanted his grant to help build the school's faculty.
"My heart and soul is based on education and giving back to help the system," said Mr. Gabelli, who also contributes to Columbia Business School and Boston College, among others. "And what makes a good university is faculty." His money will endow six faculty chairs, create a visiting-professor program and support a new center for global value investing—a highly unusual program for an undergraduate business school.
Donna Rapaccioli, dean of the business school, said Mr. Gabelli's support has already put it on an upward trajectory. This year, the college received more than 7,100 applications for 395 spaces in its freshman class, up from 6,000 applications the previous year.
"Mario's gift certainly added to making Fordham a hot school, and this new facility is adding to that," Ms. Rapaccioli said.
In September 2010, Boston College announced Mr. Gabelli’s $3 million gift that was used to endow a professorship in finance in the college’s Carroll School of Management. An undergraduate dormitory is also named after Gabelli because of a past donation to the school. Previously, Mr. Gabelli, who serves on the college’s board of trustees, gave $10 million to create the Gabelli Distinguished Presidential Scholars Fund which provides fifteen students with full tuition every year.
University of Miami
In 2011, a gift from Mr. Gabelli enabled the School of Business Administration to establish a new endowed professorship. The Gabelli Asset Management Endowed Professorship will provide critical support of the University’s faculty, research and services initiatives. In addition the Finance Professorship, GAMCO has supported the school’s academic initiatives, scholarships, mentoring and job placement initiatives.
A Day of Unity
Barron's All-Century Team
On January 10, 2000, Gabelli was inducted into the Barron's All-Century Team, their list of the most influential mutual fund industry portfolio managers. 
The third decade
By 1998, Gabelli Asset Management Inc. was managing $16.3 billion. In February 1999, the company went public selling 6 million shares, or about twenty percent of the common stock at $17.50 per share.
In March 2006, a judge awarded partial summary judgment in favor of claims that Gabelli had unfairly prevented investors Frederick Mancheski and David Perlmutter from selling their shares in Gabelli Group Capital Partners at fair market prices. In the ensuing settlement, Gabelli distributed assets on a pari-pasu basis to the plaintiffs, including $80 million in GAMCO shares and approximately $20 million in cash.
In 2001, whistleblower Rufus Taylor III filed a civil lawsuit against several companies owned by Gabelli, alleging fraudulent practices in FCC auctions between 1995 and 2000. In those auctions, the government set aside cell phone licenses to be sold to small businesses. Taylor's lawsuit said that Gabelli used more than twelve "sham" startup companies to meet the requirements of a small business applicant in the auctions and acquire the licenses at a small business discount, sometimes up to 25% off the high winning bid in the auction.
The lawsuit allegations claim Gabelli and the "sham" companies were fraudulent because Gabelli had de facto control over the companies and had assets that far exceeded the ceiling of the small business criteria, which would disqualify an applicant from the small business discount auctions. The suit was put under seal for years and kept silent while the plaintiff and attorneys pursued their case, the government and Justice Department stood on the sideline and did not take up the suit for the American public. Little information about the quiet suit reached the media even though the suit sought almost half one billion U.S. dollars in damages from Gabelli and the defendants. The "whistleblower" actually was an attorney who once worked in the telecommmnications business for Gabelli company's competitor Adelphia. Supposedly, many other groups of wealthy investors and players in the wireless auctions, totally unrelated to Gabelli, also set up "dummy" business arrangements to take advantage of the small business discount and succeeded, even though in reality they too could not pass the small business criteria. In other words, Gabelli and associates might be guilty, but they were not the only ones committing potential fraud. These parties were not sued by the government or private plaintiffs. Indeed, Gabelli's own attorney stated that Gabelli complied with FCC requirements and intimated that the FCC, if not the legal enforcement arms of the government like Justice Department, FBI, or Treasury white collar crime investigation, could have interceded and prevented fraudulent applications but did not do so, essentially acting with blinders while the FCC auction sales amounts grew higher and higher, bringing money to the government. Apparently, money is the prime mover and common denominator and the government may have turned a blind eye for a time. Nonetheless, given some new, heretofore unheard, evidence, come to light, in March 2006, the U.S. Government joined the Taylor lawsuit, which Taylor had filed under the Federal False Claims Act. The suit had alleged that the Gabelli-backed false "entrepreneurs" included his relatives, a former aerobics instructor, and even the caretaker of a Gabelli vacation home, as well as other wireless auction players who worked for both Gabelli and non-Gabelli companies. On July 12, 2006, the suit was settled when the bidding entities reportedly agreed to pay $130 million to settle the allegations. Taylor, the "whistleblower", was reported to have personally received $32.2 million for his part in the suit. Under the terms of the settlement, Gabelli was not required to admit any wrongdoing. Gabelli's money management business, GAMCO Investors, Inc., was not a party to the lawsuit. Neither Gabelli nor his companies nor any of the other parties were charged with any Federal criminal offense for fraud or false pretense. The Justice Department joined the suit, settled it very swiftly, then closed it. The American public saw little headlines of the multi-million dollar settlement nor did the Justice Department pursue any other wireless auction participants for fraud in the small business discount area. At the time of the settlement, the Justice Department portrayed its win as a triumph for the public good, but Gabelli and other FCC auction participants continue to participate in the ongoing auctions of wireless spectrum and other FCC license auctions, without punishment, and, indeed, the government has not given an accounting of where the money collected by the FCC for the auction sales resides, let alone the collection of money from Gabelli from the lawsuit.
The Fourth Decade
Institutional Investor - Money Manager of the Year
The Institutional Investor selected Mario Gabelli as 2010 Money Manager of the Year for its second annual U.S. Investment Management Awards. The award selection was based on performance as well as a survey by U.S. institutions. In 2010, GAMCO returned 28.6% for institutional clients. Since inception in 1977, it has generated annualized returns of 16.3%.
On April 27, 2012, Mario J. Gabelli was at the 24th annual Boston College Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner in New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Mario was presented with the President’s Medal for Excellence in recognition of his achievements, exemplifying the Boston College motto “Ever to Excel.” The black-tie dinner drew more than 1,000 guests.
Gabelli is a founding member of the Boston College Wall Street Council, a network of more than 1,700 BC alumni, parents and friends who work in and represent the financial community in New York. Through its annual dinners, the council has raised more than $25.6 million for BC’s Presidential Scholars Program. Boston College’s most academically gifted undergraduates are chosen for the Presidential Scholars Program, an extraordinary honors program that combines rigorous course work, community service, international experience and internships.
Since its inception, more than 200 Presidential Scholars have graduated, earning some of nation's most prestigious academic awards, including Rhodes Scholarships, Fulbright Grants, Marshall Scholarships, National Science Foundation Fellowships, Truman Scholarships, Beckman Scholarships, and many others.
Gabelli established the Gabelli Distinguished Presidential Scholarship and is a lead supporter of the Presidential Scholars Program. In addition, he has served as a University Trustee and Trustee Associate and has endowed the Mario J. Gabelli Professorship in Finance in the Carroll School of Management. In 1995, the residence hall at 80 Commonwealth Avenue was named in honor of Gabelli.
Columbus Day Pararde - Grand Marshal
When Mario Gabelli leads the way down Fifth Avenue for the over 35,000 participants expected to march in the 68th annual Columbus Day Parade on Oct. 8, he’ll join a list of notable New Yorkers who have presided over the celebration as grand marshal that stretches back to its beginnings in 1929. It’s an esteemed list of honorees that includes men and women recognized for their contributions as Italian Americans by the Columbus Citizens Foundation (CCF), a non-profit organization that fosters appreciation for Italian-American heritage and achievement here in New York City through a slew of cultural and charitable activities, as well as scholarship and grant programs for students.
Gabelli’s appreciation of the honor was apparent during a recent phone interview. Of the many awards he’s received throughout his 45-year career in the financial industry, which include the CCF award for Business and Education; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Business Leaders; the South Bronx Educational Foundation’s distinguished Public Service Award and the Sacred Heart University’s Discovery Award, presiding over the Columbus Day Parade on behalf of CCF, of which he’s been a member since 1976, is especially rewarding given Gabelli’s advocacy for academics and CCF’s legacy of supplementing the education of deserving students. The pairing is particularly fitting. “For me, it’s about providing some sort of visibility and leadership for what we do to help individuals that need scholarships to go to school,” says Gabelli, a Bronx native and first-generation Italian American whose mother and older sister were both born in Italy. “That’s very fundamental to me. It underscores the meritocracy of this country. It underscores that education is the great driver and underpinning of that meritocracy, so the notion of equal opportunity for everyone is alive and well, and we want to keep it that way.”
Gabelli himself graduate from Fordham and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and honorary doctorates from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and Fordham University. He is a trustee of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Boston College and Roger Williams University. He also serves on the boards of The American-Italian Cancer Foundation, The Foundation for Italian Art & Culture, The Winston Churchill Foundation and the E.I. Wiegand Foundation. In 2010, he donated $25 million to Fordham University, the largest gift in the school’s history, for its undergraduate business program, known now as the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business.
In 1977, Gabelli started GAMCO Investors, Inc., an investment consulting firm esteemed within the financial industry as a provider of investment advice, alternative investments and mutual funds, as well as institutional and private wealth management. Gabelli has created mutual funds that have consistently been recognized as among the industry’s top performers. His “Private Market with a Catalyst” is widely recognized for its visionary and innovative research methodology that focuses on individual stock selection by identifying firms selling below intrinsic value with catalysts to realize the value. Thirty-five years after founding the company, as chairman and chief executive officer, Gabelli is still actively involved in GAMCO’s everyday operations. He travels often on business, but is looking forward to being in the city for Columbus Day, and says now that he’s returned to New York from a recent business trip, the totality of his impending duties as grand marshal are starting to take effect.
“I did talk about it this morning with my wife,” Gabelli says. “I think the last time I walked down a parade was probably when I was in high school. The Columbus Day Parade happens on a Monday when Wall Street’s open, so historically, I’ve never tried to take the day off from work, but am more than delighted to do it this year”.
On April 12, 2013, Mario Gabelli received from Iona College the 2013 Legacy Award. The award was presented during the 51st Annual Trustee Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and it exemplifies the college's mission of service, scholarship and value-based learning.
Roger Murray - Value Investing 20 Years Later
On April 17, 2013, GAMCO Asset Management together with the Gabelli Center for Global Investment Analysis at Fordham University hosted a 20th Anniversary presentation entitled "Value Investing 20 Years Later: A Celebration of the Roger Murray Lecture Series 1993-2013" at The Paley Center for Media in New York City. The focus of the presentation was the value approach to investing pioneered by Professor Benjamin Graham and David Dodd and further developed by Professor Roger Murray and current Professor Bruce Greenwald of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
The World's 99 Greatest Investors: The Secret of Success
The following is an excerpt from The World's 99 Greatest Investors: The Secret of Success by Magnus Angenfelt:
"Buy what you know. Develop a core competency in an industry or industries and invest there. Become an expert - read every trade publication, talk to every company management (public or private), and go to every company and industry presentation in your area of competence. Do hard work. Creat spreadsheets on companies you want to buy, breaking out earnings, cash flows, and private market values for each stock. Model numbers for the next five years. Focus on companies that have a stock price below intrinsic value. Look for a margin of safety. Look for a catalyst or event that will help surface values. Then remember investing is for the long term.
Work hard - that's the best advice I can give anyone. The world is full of smart people. Those who are smart and also willing to make sacrifices to truly excel in their profession will be the biggest successes.
I think the real bargains are what they would call the smaller, ignored, and unloved companies."
Foreign Policy Association
On June 27, 2013 at the Foreign Policy Association's 95th Anniversary and Annual Dinner, Mr. Gabelli was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal which recognizes individuals who demonstrate responsible internationalism and work to expand public knowledge of international affairs.
- Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Mario Gabelli March 2013
- Mario Gabelli - Forbes Forbes.com
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- Mario's entry on Forbes 2006 list
- Gabelli Asset Management Company (GAMCO) Investors website
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- Rohrer, Julie, "The small firms rise again," Institutional Investor, March 1979