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Brandes Investment Partners, a large San Diego money manager, has laid off more than 40 employees, mostly in the local office, according to former employees. The company did not respond to queries about the layoffs. Curiously, the layoffs seem to be concentrated among clerical personnel — those who take complaints from clients, for example. Apparently, the investment researchers were largely unaffected. That is a mystery: Brandes has made disastrous investment decisions in recent years. In 2007, the firm had $125 billion under management. As of Sept. 30, that was down to $34.2 billion, according to the Brandes website. As the Reader has reported, Brandes was a major shareholder in newspaper chains Gannett and McClatchy, buying in at prices far above current levels. The firm eventually got out of newspapers at considerable losses. It also bought into financial institutions that turned out to be scandals: Countrywide, Washington Mutual, and Freddie Mac, for example. Again, the losses were large.

Founder Charles Brandes has been featured regularly in society columns with his new young bride, Tanya. (For example, they joined David Copley's entourage at Cannes one year.) They married in April of 2006. Elton John supplied the music. Their Rancho Santa Fe home at one point was worth $60 million, according to Forbes magazine. Charles Brandes strongly disputed the figure. He has also been involved in a bitter divorce suit with his second wife, Linda. Despite the firm's sharp decline in money under management, Charles Brandes is still a billionaire, according to Forbes.

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Comments

Visduh Dec. 7, 2011 @ 10:41 a.m.

Don, you're being kind. His new young bride, Tanya, is what they call a trophy wife. Brandes is doing on the marital front just about what Trump did. Was Trump his inspiration? Then there's the claim that he's still a billionaire; if he did the same job with his own fortune that he did with those of the clients, can he still be that rich?

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Don Bauder Dec. 7, 2011 @ 11:01 a.m.

Tanya has a medical degree from Stanford, as I recall -- at least, a medical degree from a prestigious university. So I wouldn't call her a trophy wife, lovely as she appears to be from photographs. I understand she has practiced medicine for free among poor people of Africa. Why she and Charles want to hang around with San Diego's BPs I do not know. I don't think it is wise for Charles to be photographed with the BPs so often when the firm is doing so poorly. I agree that Forbes should reassess Charles's wealth. I have dealt with the Forbes 400 researchers on a couple of occasions and been impressed with their thoroughness, but they have to make a lot of educated guesses. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 7, 2011 @ 12:32 p.m.

2.Tanya has a medical degree from Stanford, as I recall -- at least, a medical degree from a prestigious university. So I wouldn't call her a trophy wife, == She's a trophy wife, even with a medical degree from Stanford.

Im buying one once I make my first billion, but a pre-nup is mandatory.

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Don Bauder Dec. 7, 2011 @ 12:46 p.m.

It would be much easier to marry a woman who is a billionaire. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Dec. 7, 2011 @ 5:04 p.m.

You mean the way John Kerry married the Heinz widow?

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Don Bauder Dec. 7, 2011 @ 7:56 p.m.

Yes, the way Kerry married the Heinz widow. She is a very bright woman, incidentally. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Dec. 7, 2011 @ 8:26 p.m.

She's arguably brighter than he is. Then, most people are. But he gets by, doesn't he?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 8, 2011 @ 8:57 a.m.

Back in 2000 or so, before Kerry ran for Prez, he was done at the Embarcadero near the end of Laurel Street where it hits the water, with 2 other guys looking out over the bay...I knew whe was a politician but did nto know his name then, just knew him from TV.

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Visduh Dec. 7, 2011 @ 5:08 p.m.

A true trophy wife is supposed to be more than young and pretty. She's supposed to be accomplished in her own right. But, still, she should not be very old and must be attractive and socially graced. Sounds like this one fits the bill right down the line.

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Don Bauder Dec. 7, 2011 @ 7:58 p.m.

Nobody is discussing trophy husbands. I guess they have to be young, bright, and socially adept. I will never qualify. Nor has my wife, to whom I have been married almost 50 years, ever called me her trophy husband. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 8, 2011 @ 9 a.m.

Cher, Madonna and now Jennfier Lopez have all had "Trophy Boys" as boyfriends/boy toys.

But they are not dumb enough to marry them........well, you have to take out Britney Spears :)

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 9:32 a.m.

Read about Porfirio Rubirosa, the great Dominican playboy and lover of the 20th century, who wooed and wed rich ladies, including two movie stars. His lovemaking prowess was legendary. Now there was a trophy husband. Best, Don Bauder

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AnnHumphreville Dec. 8, 2011 @ 9:59 a.m.

We're getting off topic. The issue is gross mis-management and destructive cronyism. It’s a shame that the folks that held the firm together operationally during Brandes’ crisis period are now blamelessly suffering the justified adverse consequences directed by the firm’s clients toward Charles and his apparently deficient investment team. Recently terminated employees should be encouraged to seek legal counsel.

Once again, another example of the 1% sticking to the 99%.

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 12:45 p.m.

Charles Brandes should have to explain the poor performance. He has attempted to do so in some of his essays on the firm's website. He followed the precepts of Graham-Dodd value investing. Are these ideas out of date or did Brandes Investment Partners misuse the approach? In all his socializing and concentration on his opulent lifestyle (Charles Brandes had something like 20 fancy cars), did he neglect the business? Leave it in inept hands? These questions cry out for answers. Best, Don Bauder

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Tizmanian Dec. 8, 2011 @ 1:24 p.m.

"Ann" - please refrain from being so inconsiderate. It's the least you can do.

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 2:11 p.m.

I do not think Ann (whoever she is) is being inconsiderate. She is addressing matters that management of Brandes Investment Partners should be held accountable for. This is the trouble with the investment community: it is not held accountable for egregious performance, incompetence, or theft. Ann is saying that Brandes investment executives, who have clearly made many bad bets, should stand up and say what happened. And Charles Brandes should be asked why those investment pickers were not fired, while employees who had no or little role in the bad performance lose their jobs. Best, Don Bauder

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Tizmanian Dec. 8, 2011 @ 1:01 p.m.

The user named "AnnHumphreville" is an imposter ... it is rude and inconsiderate to post on behalf of someone who has passed. Where is your decorum?!

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 2:22 p.m.

Anyone who uses a pseudonym on this blog should not be called an impostor. I have no idea if someone by the name AnnHumphreville is deceased. How do you know that the poster used that name deliberately? Best, Don Bauder

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Tizmanian Dec. 9, 2011 @ 6:16 a.m.

Don - how would YOU feel if a random stranger (using your name as a pseudonym) posted to a thread anywhere on the internet and blasphemed your family (or any place or other person to whom you were loyal)... just sayin'.

When you click on the user name it shows that this individual opened their user acct on 12/8/11. It is very obviously intentional by this individual. And they are a coward for doing so.

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Usmc May 13, 2012 @ 1:37 p.m.

Don,

You need to check your facts first. I personally have worked with Ann Humphreville (CFA) and helped her day in and day out work. In fact, i went to her funeral. She was an amazing woman. She suffered at the end of her day.
The person who is posting under her actual name is a coward.

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brigidparsons Dec. 8, 2011 @ 4:10 p.m.

Ann Humphreville was an employee of Brandes for many years, and passed away a few years ago after a difficult illness. Whoever is using her name is a jerk for using it as he or she has done in the past. They obviously have issues with the company, which is fine, but using her name is just plain wrong. Pick another pseudonym or use your name and own your comments.

Brigid (Yentz) Parsons, former Brandes employee.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 8, 2011 @ 5:19 p.m.

They obviously have issues with the company, which is fine, but using her name is just plain wrong. Pick another pseudonym or use your name and own your comments.

Brigid (Yentz) Parsons, former Brandes employee.

By brigidparsons == Brigid puts her money where her mouth is!

I agree, if the person is dead it is not a civil thing to do.

And ANYONE who comes on here and uses their real name has B***S....well great courage at a minimum!

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 10:25 p.m.

I have no problem with pseudonyms. Some sites are insisting on real names. I don't know if the Reader is thinking of going in that direction, but I, at least, like the use of pseudonyms, because people can speak without fear of retribution. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 10:23 p.m.

I can see your point on that. Best, Don Bauder

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hawk Dec. 8, 2011 @ 9:31 p.m.

Don,

You should know that Ann Humpreville was a former Brandes employee that died of cancer. Regardless of what you think of Charles Brandes, it is very poor taste to allow somebody to post under her name. A link to her obituary is below. Please delete this user's posts so we can have a reasonable discussion.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/signonsandiego/obituary.aspx?n=ann-wilhelmina-humphreville&pid=100422764

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 10:26 p.m.

I have no control over posts. An administrator would have to make that move. Best, Don Bauder

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beemer Dec. 8, 2011 @ 9:44 p.m.

Whomever is using Anne Humphreville's name is a COWARD at best. Ms. Humphreville was a kind, intelligent woman who suffered through a devastating illness. I can't think of ANY reason someone would use a deceased person's name except that they are a spineless, feckless and inconsiderate worm.

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Don Bauder Dec. 8, 2011 @ 10:28 p.m.

I think we have covered the Humphreville topic well. I suggest we get back to the matter at hand: poor performance of Brandes Investment Partners. Best, Don Bauder

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hawk Dec. 9, 2011 @ 12:27 a.m.

Don,

I've always wondered: what is your obsession with Brandes? Did he turn you down for a job back in the day?

I detect a tinge of jealousy in your numerous rants about him. Why is that? Let's compare Brandes' accomplishments to yours:

Brandes: successful firm employing hundreds of San Diegans Don B: internet blog

Case closed.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 9, 2011 @ 1:29 a.m.

Brandes: successful firm employing hundreds of San Diegans ==

If you think losing $100 BILLION of other peoples money is "successful", I think you have a very different idea of what is successful from the rest of us!

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nan shartel Dec. 10, 2011 @ 10:30 a.m.

i agree Don...hawk's comment is harsh and unfounded...

it's also dissing u as a longtime (dotting all ur i's and crossing all ur t's) journalist

this blog is a mere fraction of Don's lifework Hawk

GET UR RESEARCH HAT ON BUDDY!!!

(down off my soapbox now)

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 2:05 p.m.

I can only remember meeting Brandes face-to-face once. It seems to me we were on a panel together. I have interviewed him over the phone several times -- many years ago. I have never applied for a job with a money manager; I am a journalist. Brandes and his supporters have to realize that when you build the most expensive home in the county and get photographed at the BP shindigs regularly while your business is sinking, and go through one of the county's messiest divorces (second wife), you are going to attract some media attention. Best, Don Bauder

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BenGraham Dec. 9, 2011 @ 9:22 a.m.

I want my letter back...and the nice case it's in...

Sincerely,

Benjamin Graham

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 2:08 p.m.

Dear Benjamin Graham: You co-authored that famous book on value investing back in the 1930s, and you were already a seasoned pro then. Are you sure you are still alive? Best, Don Bauder

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BenGraham Dec. 9, 2011 @ 3:17 p.m.

Indeed I am Don, thank you for asking. I just took up residence again in my condo on Eads Street down in La Jolla, and will be reforming my partnership with Jerome Newman, if I can find him. Being 118 years old, my mind isn't as sharp as it once was, but I am sure that values like National Presto still abound out there.

All the best, Ben

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Ponzi Dec. 9, 2011 @ 9:41 a.m.

Pseudonyms or “user names,” were once encouraged for privacy on the internet. Now some sites, like SDUT, want to use Facebook in an attempt to have “real people” posting. But that doesn’t work because many accounts on Facebook are pseudonyms. The only way the media is going to get close to restricting posts to true names is to require the use of a credit card to register. Then you have some substance because the majority of credit cards are going to be a persons real name.

Now, back on topic, if I change my name to “Elvis P. of Las Vegas” is that going to anger people? After all, he is dead as well. I think some ex-Brandes people are making much ado about nothing. Imitation is the best form of flattery.

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 2:11 p.m.

Well, you don't look like Elvis. You look like Charles Ponzi, who couldn't sing a note. Best, Don Bauder

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EdwardDeVere Dec. 9, 2011 @ 10:01 a.m.

Kierkegaard used pseudonyms in his authorship as a short cut to providing a literary, psychological and cultural context to the major points in his work.

If “annehumphreville” is indeed a pseudonym, it may be helpful for posters to view its use similarly; specifically, as a symbol or at least as an “homage” to a departed victim.

Many recall Ann as being a talented and dedicated professional who seemed deliberately and pointlessly stymied by management in her professional and personal growth at the firm. Despite her seniority and scope of responsibility, she was never made a partner. Her dedication did not appear to be reciprocated and she seemed embittered in the end by her treatment. Ann, therefore, seems emblematic of capricious and unnecessary trauma exacted by management on employees then and certainly now. She would agree with every word ascribed to her here.

The intelligent reader will immediately recognize “annehumphreville” as “Banquo’s Ghost”, returning to accuse its worldly victimizer or “Old King Hamlet” encouraging the survivors to wake up to ignored injustices, spurring them on to “dull revenge”. Recall her memorial service where managing partners paraded around in mock sorrow abusing even her memory as an opportunity to display emotions that were nothing more than sublimated and narcissistic thanatophobia.

I see no disrespect above. What I see is a literary person being represented in a literary way.

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 2:15 p.m.

I did not know Ann, of course, and had never heard of her until her name came up in this colloquy. To the person who used her name as a pseudonym, she was probably a symbol of the victim of corporate arrogance and abuse. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 9, 2011 @ 11:40 a.m.

31.Pseudonyms or “user names,” were once encouraged for privacy on the internet. Now some sites, like SDUT, want to use Facebook in an attempt to have “real people” posting. But that doesn’t work because many accounts on Facebook are pseudonyms. == Exaclty!

FB has sock puppet accounts too.

The fact is many people cannot use theor real names for fear of retribution, and harrassment.

If you look at all the sites that have gone to FB names, they have 1/100th of the comments they did using ficticious handles. It does not encourgae free speech or ideas.

I have had a few problems using my own name, harrsaament problems, and I did end up suing one of the people, the other stopped after I threatened a lawsuit. But a lawsuit is a hassle, espeically when the other side is judgment proof.

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 2:19 p.m.

I would certainly hope that none of the vituperation barbs hurled about on this site end up in lawsuits. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 9, 2011 @ 4:21 p.m.

No, not here.....some clown I used to actually be friends with.....

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Don Bauder Dec. 9, 2011 @ 10:38 p.m.

It was President Warren Harding who said he wasn't worried about his enemies; it was his friends who were making so much trouble (corruption) that bugged him. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel Dec. 10, 2011 @ 10:48 a.m.

only the vipers here would do that....sue that is

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2011 @ 2:23 p.m.

Poets like you, Nan, are immune to lawsuits. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel Dec. 10, 2011 @ 10:46 a.m.

i know 4 a fact ur name is "Surfs Up Puppy" and u hate ur middle name

Happy Christmas honeypop!!!

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

SurfPup would prefer the middle name honeypop. I would like it myself. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel Dec. 11, 2011 @ 12:44 p.m.

i looked and looked 4 a surfing pit bull 4 u Pupster...nada sigh.....

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nan shartel Dec. 11, 2011 @ 12:46 p.m.

Honeypop Bauder...hhhmmm...it has a certain cache

;-D)

Merry Christmas Honeypop2

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Visduh Dec. 10, 2011 @ 9:11 a.m.

That move by the U-T to get rid of pseudonyms on its SignOn comments was just more of the dumbing down of the rag. From time to time I do get a letter to the editor of the U-T printed, and on occasion get quoted by a columnist. Those comments are always watered down because of the policies of the paper. Letters are more likely to be printed if they show up almost as soon as the piece that provoked them is published, are short and to the point, and are simple. No complexity permitted. Comments to blog entries can ooze satire, be biting and/or sarcastic, express complex ideas, and be non-PC. Putting one's name on them is not wise in most cases. There are seriously wacked-out people out there, and some could take violent umbrage at sentiments expressed. That's why I feel for Don; he cannot remain anonymous when he exposes all this foolishness or criminal activity.

As long as the website administrator can delete comments that cross the line into slanderous or libelous areas, there's no need to oblige use of true identity. These comments benefit from the free play of ideas and attitudes.

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2011 @ 2:34 p.m.

In all the years I have been writing about San Diego, I have only had about 4 death threats. That's not bad for 30 years with the U-T and almost 9 years with the Reader. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 10, 2011 @ 4:53 p.m.

I am shocked you received any, as a business journalist, unless it were people who got mad about their scams being exposed.

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David Dodd Dec. 10, 2011 @ 9:31 p.m.

No, that's low, SP. I've written so infinitely comparatively little compared to Don and I've received more death threats than that. And I'm often much more nice than Don! ;)

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nan shartel Dec. 11, 2011 @ 1:56 p.m.

u have to discount that one where i said i'd hug u 2 death honeypop2

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David Dodd Dec. 10, 2011 @ 9:38 p.m.

To whom it may concern: When I'm dead, you may use my name as a pseudonym. I don't mind, I'll be dead and either won't know or I'll have other problems to attend to. You're welcome in advance.

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nan shartel Dec. 11, 2011 @ 1:54 p.m.

if i did use ur name refried will it make me a better Mexican chef???

Merry Christmas hun ;-D)

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SurfPuppy619 March 13, 2012 @ 11:26 a.m.

Can I use it NOW?? If I use a disclaimer?

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valueinvestingisdead Dec. 30, 2011 @ 6:51 a.m.

Reply to 37 - Well written and said. Only way to Partner is blackmail and/or nepotism. The countless stories of ex-workers who now have mental and/or physical health issues from the stress of that so-called "successful" place is staggering. Anyways, what goes around, comes around, and the performance numbers the past several years speak loudly.

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katzkup Jan. 4, 2012 @ 7:48 a.m.

Thanks Don for the heads up about this story a couple of weeks ago. Can't believe I missed this post last month. Nothing here surprises me. Just as was with me back in the day the Holidays are BIP favorite time of year to wrongfully terminate....er layoff the honest hard working employees who have spoken up about the firms misbehavior/mismanagement. It's the same as it has always been within BIP. Zero accountability at the top. Cronyism at it's finest, and yes these same individuals could careless about the health of there current or former employees. When I was wrongfully terminated back in the day, I was suffering from crohn's disease that landed me in the hospital two months later after I spoke up about the sexism and promotions rewarded to some regardless of there competence or qualifications. I know in my heart, some day, these nasty human beings will be exposed for who they really are.

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valueinvestingisdead March 13, 2012 @ 8:04 a.m.

Reply to 14 - I still say this was a ponzi. They built success based on buying illiquid international stocks. When you have a ton of money chasing illiquid securities, the price will go up. Thus, those that got in early, did great as the money behind them pushed up their securities' prices. Once they got too big, they had to go to U.S. and their "value" approach purchased such winners as Countrywide, Washington Mutual, McClatchey, Micron, General Motors (old), etc etc....all stuff that crashed to zero. So much for margin of safety. It worked while the ponzi was in place. Once it wasn't, down goes the ship. I am stunned they still are in business. Oh well, atleast Don was brave enough to expose them as for years they stayed out of the media.

COLT

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Usmc May 13, 2012 @ 1:43 p.m.

I have nothing to loose by taking good or bad about Brandes. I worked there for 4 years. It is an amazing organization with lots of happy people. I truly miss it. Herk is a great guy and a leader. It was a pleasure working with him and for him. The average employee tenure there was something like 12 years with lots of people having over 15 years. That stands for something. The company was ran as a model investment organization in my opinion.

IT there is top-notch and so are other department. Every company has its ups and downs. Remember that this is Brandes' first lay off round since it was first established in 1974. Good to see you here Bridgit.

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