How Prem Watsa of Fairfax Financial (FRFHF), the ‘Oracle of Ontario’, beat the downturn:
Outlook India Magazine
"Watsa was introduced at that 2007 event by Prof George Athanassakos, director of the centre. Athanassakos recalls that speech: “Mr Watsa is an outstanding VI (value investor) with a contrarian view on things. His excellent reading of the markets in the last four years enabled him to successfully use credit default swaps (CDSS) and make money when everyone else lost. He had commented on the markets in a conference I ran in May 2007, in which he was the keynote speaker. During my visit to see Mr Buffett, he asked me who endowed my chair, and when I said Mr Watsa, he smiled and said, ‘Smart guy, he made a lot of money on cds.’”
This idea has been out there for about 15 years, spurred largely by CEO Prem Watsa's shameless immitation of B00-Fay. There is a historical difference between W.E.B. and Prem: W.E.B. has always tried to buy good companies in dull industries; Prem buys mediocre and bad companies in dull industries.