Value Creation

Shawn Baldwin analyzes value creation along with the people and methods that have created billions in value

Value Creation
Shawn Baldwin with a portrait of Reginald F. Lewis in the background. RFL was one of the greatest Value Creation masters ever. In 1987 he turned $1 million investment into a majority stake of a $1.7 billion multinational conglomerate Shawn Baldwin Images

As of late, it seems that finance has been under attack and demonized by various sources from the government to the media. As a finance person I might be admittedly biased in terms of the derision, but as a practical person I understand the need for modern finance and trading to make all components of the society work.


If people thoroughly don’t believe this: eschew bank and credit cards and resort to paying cash for any and all of your transactions from your home, to your car and education–most people aren’t in a position to do this, so we are enabled with additional mobility by modern finance.

Proselytizing aside, I see these grumblings as a form of protest because of the underlying issue: most people don’t see how they can benefit in the broader economy outside of finance. I constantly receive a number of messages asking for ideas that don’t require extensive knowledge of trading and capital markets because they don’t see how they can participate in it. That is a false perception because the markets actually are a meritocracy and will lift those who are willing to take the risk.

With that being said, I wholly agree that the broader society needs to see upward mobility. Subsequently, I believe that there needs to be a focus on value creation along with the consequential creation of jobs, in which everyone can participate. I have been bombarded with questions on how can people outside of the confines of finance participate in the upswing in the markets. Most all of the questions start with, “I only have..”as they believe that since they do not have millions or tens of millions that they can’t participate in what I outline. That isn’t particularly true, but it is evidence of the need to define the methods of successful people in arenas other than finance.

To that extent, I decided to move beyond the study of numbers, prices and balance sheets to the thesis, plans and actions of a number of my clients along with the businesses that I follow. The Value Creation series will serve to interpolate how they extrapolate value in the broader economy from their companies. I have spent the greater part of my adult life in financial transactions, economic prognostication and securities analysis–so I will always be a trader in my heart– but after a long career, however, I believe that now is the time to explore value creation beyond the numbers in a intrinsic and involved fashion.The purpose will be as my business role model, Reginald F. Lewis stated “ get behind the numbers..” and determine what moves and drives value.

In this critical period after the financial crisis, America is in grave need of new creators of value that will assist in generating new jobs.The greatest evidence of job creation through value creation is in the technology industry and can be seen in the wealth and jobs that are created on the west coast. We are constantly seeing examples of young undaunted college kids who create billions in value, by dint of will and effort and as a result build monolithic companies in relatively short periods.

This is the spirit that built America and it needs to be spread abroad.


In homage to that spirit, I will present the stories and methods of people such as Carlos Slim, Patrick Soon Shiong, T.Boone Pickens and others who have conspicuously and inconspicuously created billions of value in companies in sundry areas not directly tied to finance. It is my hope that these articles will inspire others, serve to ignite their passion, give them direction and help to motivate and move them to action.

Follow me on Twitter @ShawnDBaldwin

About the author

Shawn D. Baldwin is Chairman of the AIA Group (AIA), an alternative investment and advisory firm based in Chicago.