Shai Dardashti, Managing Director of The Manual of Ideas, recently conducted an exclusive interview with Sean Stannard-Stockton, president and chief investment officer of Ensemble Capital, based in Burlingame, California. The firm, which dates back to 1997, manages the Ensemble Fund (ENSBX) as well as separate accounts.

The following transcript has been edited for space and clarity.

MOI Global: Please tell us about the investment mandate of Ensemble Capital Management.

Companies with little to no competitive advantage end up in our “too hard pile” no matter how cheap they might appear.

Sean Stannard-Stockton: Ensemble Capital is a wealth management firm managing approximately $425 million on behalf of a little over 100 families and charitable institutions as well as a publically traded mutual fund. Our investment mandate varies across clients, but always involves a focus on long-term capital appreciation and protection. For our mutual fund, as well as for many of our clients, we manage a focused portfolio of 15-25 high quality companies, which we believe are competitively advantaged and trade at a discount to our estimate of their intrinsic value.

MOI: Please tell us about your background and how you became interested in value investing. What events or people shaped your investment philosophy the most?

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