Martin J. Whitman, CFA
Chairman and Portfolio Manager
Mr. Whitman has proven for more than 50 years that active, opportunistic investors can find under-priced securities in companies with strong balance sheets. He is also an adept control investor who has led the rehabilitations of Nabors Industries and Covanta Energy among others.
After serving in the Navy during World War II and then attending college on the G.I. bill, Mr. Whitman joined the ranks of Wall Street as an analyst at Shearson Hammill & Co. The Street's simplistic analysis and focus on short term earnings was not for him. When he encountered a timber company rich with assets but no visible earnings power he realized there was a better way. Later, while working at the family office of William Rosenwald, son of a founder of Sears Roebuck, he developed a risk aversion commensurate with the responsibility of managing another family's legacy. His ability to find safety through the careful study of assets enabled him later to venture where other investors wouldn't like the bankrupt Penn Central railroad or troubled utilities like Consumers Power Co. of Michigan and the Public Service Company of New Hampshire.
Mr. Whitman founded the predecessor to the Third Avenue Funds in 1986 and M.J. Whitman, a full service broker-dealer affiliated with Third Avenue in 1974. He managed the flagship Third Avenue Value Fund since inception in 1990 through March 1, 2012. He was Third Avenue's Chief Investment Officer from its founding through January 2010.
For over 30 years, Mr. Whitman was a Distinguished Management Fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also an honorary trustee at Syracuse University, his undergraduate alma mater and home to the Whitman School of Management. He is the author of The Aggressive Conservative Investor, Value Investing - A Balanced Approach and Distress Investing: Principles and Technique. He holds a master's degree in Economics from The New School For Social Research and is a magna cum laude Syracuse graduate. Mr. Whitman is a board member at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies. He is a frequent speaker and commenter within the financial services community.
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Barse has led investment boutique Third Avenue Management LLC for two decades, overseeing a roster of alternative strategies, mutual funds, separate accounts and sub-advised portfolios. Each of Third Avenue's products adhere to the disciplined, deep value investing strategy developed by Martin J. Whitman and honed by the talented roster of investment professionals led by Mr. Barse. Third Avenue specializes in global and domestic equities, debt instruments, and special situations.
Mr. Barse has overseen Third Avenue's expansion into investments outside of the U.S. including developed markets in Europe and Asia as well as emerging and frontier markets worldwide. Drawing on his background as a bankruptcy attorney, he has worked on Third Avenue's most high profile distressed investments, including Kmart, USG, and Covanta Energy. In each case, Third Avenue either controlled or had elements of control in the reorganization of the company. Mr. Barse currently serves on the board of Covanta Holdings Corporation, a market leader in energy from waste technology.
Prior to joining Third Avenue in 1991, Mr. Barse had a distinguished career in bankruptcy and corporate law. At the creditors' rights firm of Zalkin, Rodin & Goodman LLP he primarily represented commercial banks in the workouts of non-performing loans and the financing of companies in Chapter 11 through debtor-in-possession loans. Later at Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn & Berman LLP, his work helped to develop the secondary market for distressed debt.
Mr. Barse is frequently sought after by the financial media, including CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business News, Forbes, Fortune, Business Week and Bloomberg. Mr. Barse can speak about market conditions, corporate finance, corporate governance, business ethics and bankruptcy law.
Mr. Barse holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a B.A. from George Washington University. He is a member of the Brooklyn Law School Board of Trustees and serves on the Board of Directors of the City Parks Foundation.