|Born||April 23, 1946|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania (BS)|
University of Chicago (MBA)
|Occupation(s)||Co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management|
|Spouse||Nancy Freeman Marks|
|Children||Andrew Marks (with Nancy)|
Jane Hait (step-child)
Howard Stanley Marks (born April 23, 1946) is an American investor and writer. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, the largest investor in distressed securities worldwide. In 2022, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, Marks was ranked No. 1365 on the Forbes list of billionaires.
Marks is admired in the investment community for his "memos", which detail his investment strategies and insight into the economy and are posted publicly on the Oaktree website. He has also published 3 books on investing. According to Warren Buffett, "When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they're the first thing I open and read. I always learn something, and that goes double for his book."
Marks focuses on risk management and says that investors should set investment strategy according to their personal situations and ask themselves whether they worry more about the risk of losing money or the risk of missing an opportunity. Marks believes that it is hard to gain an investment advantage through research since so many smart people are doing it already; the ways to get an advantage are through better inferring the consequences implied by current company data, managing the psychology of investing, and assessing the present stage of the business / market cycle. He hopes to have average returns during a bull market, while minimizing losses during bear markets due to his belief that losses do more harm than any benefit investors obtain from gains. Marks does favor using market timing strategies to have cash available to be invested during a downturn. Marks notes that it is important for investors to admit what they don't know instead of believing something is certain. He aims for a "high batting average" over "home runs".
Early life and education
Marks was born in 1946 and raised in Queens, New York. Although his family was ethnically Jewish, he was raised as a Christian Scientist. He attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate studies where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He graduated cum laude in 1967 with a major in finance and a minor in Japanese Studies. In 1969, at age 23, he earned a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he won the George Hay Brown Prize. In 1975 he became a CFA charterholder.
From 1969 until 1978, Marks worked at Citicorp, first as an equity research analyst and then as the company's Director of Research. From 1978 to 1985, he served as a Vice President, as well as a senior portfolio manager overseeing convertible and high-yield debt. Citibank allowed him to move to Los Angeles in 1980.
In 1985, Marks joined TCW Group where he led the groups that were responsible for investments in high-yield debt and convertible securities, and in 1988 he and Bruce Karsh organized one of the first distressed debt funds from a major financial institution. In 1995, he, Karsh, and 3 others decided to leave to start their own firm and petitioned TCW to let them continue managing the funds they managed at TCW, giving TCW a portion of the management fees; when TCW refused, the 5 partners left the company and founded Oaktree Capital Management in Los Angeles.
From 2000 to 2010, he chaired the Trustees' Investment Board at The University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and chairs the Investment Committees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is a trustee, and the Royal Drawing School (London).
Marks' first marriage ended in divorce. He has one biological son with his second wife Nancy (née Freeman), who runs the Marks family office, Freemark Partners, and one step-daughter from Nancy's prior marriage.
In 1992, Marks created the Howard S. Marks Terms Scholarship to provide renewable scholarships to undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009 he endowed the Marks Family Writing Center at the university.
In March 2023, Nancy and Howard Marks made a $5 million gift to University of California, Los Angeles to endow a faculty chair held by the Vice Chair of Women’s Health Research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The gift will provide resources to help ensure that women’s health research efforts at UCLA Health are led by an eminent physician-scientist. 
In 2010, Marks bought an oceanfront property in East Hampton for $30 million. In May 2012, he and his wife purchased a duplex unit at 740 Park Avenue for $52.5 million. In 2013, Marks sold his mansion in Malibu, California for $75 million. In 2015, he purchased a house in Beverly Hills for $23.7 million. In 2017, he purchased the house next door to his house in Beverly Hills for $9.7 million. In 2019, he purchased parcels in Amagansett, New York, near his East Hampton property, for $35 million.
Marks is a member of the Democratic Party and has been critical of the economic policy of Donald Trump. In 2016, he contributed over $200,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and similar organizations. However, he has criticised the tax plan proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a Democrat representing part of New York), saying "a great deal of America’s economic progress has resulted from people’s aspiration to make more and live better".
- 2011: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
- 2012: The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
- 2018: Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side
- "Forbes". Forbes.
- Walsh, Ben (December 21, 2011). "The Best Of Howard Marks: Advice From A Legendary Investor". Business Insider. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Kimes, Mina (March 31, 2011). "Howard Marks: bonds are back in fashion". CNN. Archived from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Zhen, Ye (November 14, 2013). "Investing: 'not a game, not a hobby'". Shanghai Daily. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Kobayashi-Solomon, Erik (September 14, 2018). "Howard Marks On Business Cycles And The Option Value Of Cash". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- "Howard Marks established Oaktree as a leader in distressed debt". Crain Communications. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on January 24, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Wee, Gillian (June 17, 2011). "Biggest Distressed Debt Investor Marks Europe With 19% Returns". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 2020-04-09. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
- Marks, Howard (December 26, 2004). "Saving the mother tongue from a dusty silence". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Mott, Amanda (May 19, 2020). "Howard and Nancy Marks endow the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing". Penn Today. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Biography: Howard Marks". Oaktree Capital Management. Archived from the original on 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
- "Member Directory".
- "Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side—A Conversation between Howard Marks, CFA, and CFA Society Portland". 10 January 2019. Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
- Petruno, Tom (March 16, 1995). "5 Key Officers to Leave TCW, Form New Firm : Securities: Their departure is likely to spark a heated battle for TCW's employees and clients". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Petruno, Tom. "5 Key Officers to Leave TCW, Form New Firm". Los Angeles Times.
- Banerjee, Devin; Dharmarajan, Sheila (May 7, 2012). "Oaktree's Marks Says Share Sale Was Humbling Experience". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
- "Forbes: the World's Billionaires - Howard Marks". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
- "Brookfield to Acquire 62% of Oaktree Capital Management" (Press release). Globe Newswire. March 13, 2019. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- "$5 million gift from Nancy and Howard Marks endows chair in women's health research at UCLA".
- "Deutsch sells Hamptons property for $30M". The Real Deal. October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- David, Mark (May 15, 2012). "Howard Marks Spends Big at 740 Park Avenue". Variety. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Brennan, Morgan (January 7, 2013). "Billionaire Howard Marks Sells $75 Million Malibu Mansion In Record-Breaking Deal". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- David, Mark (June 16, 2015). "Nick Vanoff Estate Sells to Billionaire Financier". Variety. Archived from the original on May 25, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- McClain, James (October 21, 2017). "Billionaire Howard Marks spends nearly $10 million on the little house next door". Dirt. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Oaktree Capital's Howard Marks buys 4 Amagansett parcels for $35M". The Real Deal. May 23, 2019. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Xiao, Derek (August 18, 2016). "Billionaire Investor Howard Marks Slams Trump's Economic Policies for 'Ignoring Economic Reality'". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- "Howard Marks Political Campaign Contributions 2016 Election Cycle". Archived from the original on 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
- Langlois, Shawn (January 31, 2019). "Billionaire Howard Marks on Ocasio-Cortez's tax plan: 'People at the bottom won't have as many at the top to resent'". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2020-03-05.
- Marks, Howard (2011). The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231153683.
- Marks, Howard (January 15, 2013). The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. Columbia Business School Publishing. ISBN 9780231162845.
- Marks, Howard (October 2, 2018). Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9781328480569.