10 Sunday Reads

Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures: • A premeditated lie lit the fire Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit […]

MiB: Adam Karr, Orbis Investments

     This week, we speak with Adam Karr, portfolio manager at Orbis Investments and head of the firm’s US division. Orbis manages $37B in assets, and has a unique fee approach, where they only are paid a fee when they outperform; not only that, they refund fees to clients when they underperform. The […]

Succinct Summation of Week’s Events 1.15.21

Succinct Summations for the week ending January 15th, 2021 Positives: 1. This Presidency is in its final days; I welcome a return to boring2. Home mortgage apps rose 8.0% w/o/w.3. Home refinance apps rose 20.0% w/o/w.4. CPI rose 0.4% w/o/w.5. Import prices rose 0.9% and export prices rose 1.1% w/o/w, above expectations.6. Business inventories rose […]

Favorite Stories from the Least Favorite Year

click for videoSource: Asset TV I spoke with Jenna Dagenhart of Asset TV about what a productive & miserable year 2020 was. We also go over what it was like launching RWM, along with some of my favorite posts from 2020. Previously:Favorite Big Picture Posts of 2020 (December 31, 2020)

1960 Maserati 3500 GT

In its early days, Maserati spent most of its time and effort with motorsports. Road cars were an afterthought. This changed in the late 1950s, with the introduction of 1960 Maserati 3500GT. The 3500GT was a 2+2 coupé with elegant bodywork by Carrozzeria Touring. Hand-formed aluminum panels over a steel tubular frame. The straight-six engine […]

The Unpredictable 2020

Source: How Much I am otherwise occupied this morning on a few pressing matters, but I had to share this chart from How Much annotating the markets fall and recovery in 2020. It is a reminder how much randomness and unpredictability is encountered by investors. It is very easy to get distracted. The Armageddonists who […]

Silicon Valley De-Platforming: Freedom & Censorship

I want to discuss some of the sillier hot takes on the “De-Platforming Trump” actions already occurring (Lots of companies have dropped Trump as a client or user). The debate needs to be reframed in terms of Freedom & Censorship. First, a quick note about the cries of First Amendment violations. Try this: Break the […]

MiB: Re-Optimizing 60/40 Portfolios in an Era of Low Yields

   How can asset allocators manage risk assets when stocks are pricey and yields are low? That is the challenge confronting Sébastien Page, head of T. Rowe Price’s $363.5 billion multi-asset division. He also sits on the firm’s executive management committee and its asset allocation committee, which oversees $1.31 trillion in assets. Page is […]

“A Republic, If You Can Keep It…”

In 1787, Ben Franklin said that our founders had created “a republic, if you can keep it.” More than a monarchy or dictatorship, a republic depends on the goodwill, patience and shared values among citizens. The events of the past week tested that. Regardless of your political views, this is an important interview.   Preserving […]

Transcript: Sébastien Page

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sébastien Page, T. Rowe Price, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~   VOICEOVER: This is Masters […]

Succinct Summation of Week’s Events for 1.08.21

Succinct Summations for the week ending January 8th, 2021 Positives: 1. Markets rally on hopes of more stimulus – and less chaos – as Democrats sweep Georgia Senate races.2. Jobless claims fell 3k w/o/w from 790k to 787k.3. Unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6.7%, below expectations.4. Home mortgage apps fell 0.8% w/o/w.5. Factory orders rose […]

Favorite Books I Read in 2020

My greatest book-related indulgence is that I order every single book that gets recommended by MiB guests. Every. Single. One. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have the time to read 3-5 per weeks. But it creates a library that urges me to read more than I might do so otherwise. I end up reading […]

Eventual Failure of False Beliefs

Source: Regal Pastry     What is the penalty for being wrong? It is a surprisingly complicated question. The answer depends on many factors: what you got wrong, by how much, the impact of your error. The repercussions for getting something very big very wrong varies dramatically, depending upon the inherent feedback loop of that […]

What If You Only Invested at Market Peaks?

This is the story of Bob, the world’s worst market timer. Follow along on Bob’s journey as an investor who had the misfortune of only investing his savings at the peak of the stock market just before a crash. The results may surprise you. Check out Ben’s post that inspired this animation. What If You […]

MiB: Doubling in Size through M&A

How do you double the size of a firm during a pandemic? If you are Dave Welling the CEO of Mercer Advisors, you use all of the technological tools at your disposal to do acquisitions, despite this being a “knee cap to knee cap” business. He explains how the firm, which has been around for 35 […]

Transcript: Dave Welling

Transcript Dave Welling The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Dave Welling, Mercer Advisors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business […]

MiB: Dave Welling, Mercer Advisors

This week, we speak with Dave Welling, CEO of Mercer Advisors. The Denver-based RIA has 450 employees and manages more than $21 billion. Welling’s nontraditional career path involves experience in consulting, private equity and technology, which has given him a unique perspective on the financial services business. Welling was named “RIA Firm Leader of the Year” […]

10 New Years Day Reads

My start of the new year morning reads: • The List: 2021 What will be out and in for the upcoming year What a fantastic year! So many great developments, right? Carbon emissions were down! (Because we were all afraid to leave our homes.) Confederate statues were toppled! (Because they were up for way too […]

Favorite Big Picture Posts of 2020

Photo by Vintage RS from StockSnap 2020 was both a productive and frustrating year of writing. I worked on a number of big projects, revamped the company website, reworked a longstanding idea for a book, and cranked out a lot of columns, pods and posts. Way back when, it was easy to see what the most significant posts: […]

Video: Wrapping up 2020

Why the economy is not the stock market, the performance of human-run hedge funds compared to quants, and why more money flowing into passive means greater opportunities for active managers. Hedge Fund Managers versus Quants, Indexed Assets vs Active Source: Bloomberg

Tracking Covid Vaccinations (& Return to Economic Normalcy)

click for updated data Source: Bloomberg So far, more than 5.1 million doses in 22 countries have been administered, including 2.32 million doses in the USA. We know that courtesy of a state-by-state tally that the infographic team at Bloomberg is doing. It is live, and auto-updates — just wait a few minutes, refresh and […]

Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Industry Employment

Source: How Much I am fascinated by the chart above: It is filled with surprises, but also is so revealing about the current state of the US economy. Let’s start with the obvious, but also consider some not so obvious issues: Holding up wellFinancial services are still continuing along, ’cause even during work from home/lockdown, […]

MiB: Pandemic Excuses for Upgrading Audiophile Equipment

Amps that sell of $17,000 (but you need at least two of them); speakers that go for $200,000. If you thought that the pandemic was killing retail sales, you may not have been looking in the right places. So says Jeff Poggi, co-CEO of McIntosh Group, manufacturer of audiophile components widely regarded as among the finest […]

How Pfizer and Bio-N-Tech Bet on mRNA

Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, were the only major vaccine developers to refuse federal money for research and development, yet they were the first to get emergency use authorization from the FDA. Friday the biotech company, Moderna, was granted authorization too. Under Operation Warp Speed, the federal government set a target of 20 million […]

Transcript: Jeff Poggi

The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Jeff Poggi, co-CEO of McIntosh Group, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with […]

Succinct Summation of Week’s Events 12.25.20

Succinct Summations for the week ending December 25th, 2020 Positives: 1. Covid-19 shots go to 3.3 million people, >1.2 million Americans2. President’s attempt at overturning election fails (a win nonetheless).3. Home refinance apps rose 4% w/o/w, above previous increase of 1%.4. Jobless claims fell 89k w/o/w from 892k to 803k.5. FHFA House price index rose […]

Accelerating the Advancement of Future Technology

Barry Ritholtz, founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, says we are accelerating the advancement of future technology. We Are Accelerating the Advancement of Future Technology: Ritholtz Source: Bloomberg, December 24th, 2020

MiB: Growth at an Unreasonable Price

How do you outperform the S&P500 by a 1000 basis points in a year? For Tom Slater, head of the U.S. equities team and long-term growth portfolios at U.K.-based investment firm Baillie Gifford, the answer is “Growth at an unreasonable price.”  The firm has over $370 billion in assets under management. Slater is a decision-maker […]

Transcript: Tom Slater

    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Tom Slater, Baillie Gifford, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ This is Masters in Business with Barry […]

Cost of Financing US Deficits

Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics,       As the Congress continues to debate the details of a Covid rescue package, a brief reminder: Low interest rates makes it easier to pay off debts. This is what awaits the new administration that will begin governing in a little over a month. The facts about deficit […]

Time: The History and Future of Everything

How much time do you have left? Time makes sense in small pieces. But when you look at huge stretches of time, it’s almost impossible to wrap your head around things. Kurzgesagt teamed up with “Wait but Why” to make this video to help you putting things in perspective with some infographics! The History and Future […]

The Cult of Ignorance

40 years ago, Isaac Asimov, one of America’s best know writers, explained the issue with both-sides-ism. “It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, ”America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?” None of those things, of […]

MiB: 1,000 Year Bonds & Where Fixed Income is Attractive

What do you do when yields plummet and bonds lose much of their appeal? You ignore the conventional wisdom, find relative performance, and hunt for inefficiencies caused by institutional habits. That was what Mike Swell, co-head of global fixed income portfolio management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), did. He is managing director and head […]

Transcript: Mike Swell

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Mike Swell, co-head Global Fixed Income, Goldman Sachs is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ This is Master […]

MiB: Mike Swell, co-head Global Fixed Income, Goldman Sachs

This week, we speak with Mike Swell, co-head of global fixed income portfolio management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), where he is responsible for co-leading the global team of portfolio managers that oversee multi-sector portfolios. He joined the firm in 2007 as a managing director and head of structured products, and oversees $700 billion […]

AirBnB & DoorDash Showcase Best and Worst of Uber

    Uber, the ubiquitous on demand app that turned people’s spare time and cars into a global fleet taxis, is the gold standard of market disruption via an app. Consider the forces that Uber recognized and acted upon: – Greater demand for taxi service than cities had been allowing; – App versus phone hailing […]

Finding Investing Lessons in 2020 Election Fails

Who Can Investors Listen to When Everybody’s Wrong?There are lessons in the deductive reasoning errors and faulty data analyses that often lead even the savviest market participants astray.Bloomberg, December 7, 2020 The year 2020 will be remembered for any number of things, including how wrong so many were about so much. From the pandemic to […]

“Unprecedented” Is 2020 Word of the Year

I tell Tom Keene on “Bloomberg Surveillance: “The unprecedented comes along all the time…32 new highs in the market? Unprecedented. The pandemic? Unprecedented. As Ray Dalio loves to point out, unprecedented usually means you haven’t seen it in your lifetime, but it very likely happened before.” Be sure to stick around for the last 30 […]

Transcript: Catherine Keating

The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Catherine Keating, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ This is Masters in Business with Barry […]

Contrarian Take: Covid Vaccine & the End of Anti-Vaxxers

The modern Anti-Vaxxer movement of recent years traces its origins to a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by (then Dr.) Andrew Wakefield linking 12 children who developed autism soon after vaccine administration. We later learn that Wakefield was funded by litigants against vaccine manufacturers, a detail he failed to disclose. The paper was […]

Oversampling: Did Covid Impact Polling?

I have been working on a post-2020 “Lessons for Investors” column, when I stumbled upon an interesting Nate Silver post mortem discussion (above + ABC). His pre-election forecast was a 90/10% likelihood of a Biden victory. While that was correct, lots of the rest of the polling industry forecasts were wildly off. Silver notes “Polls […]

MiB: The Deals that Reshaped Wall Street

Consider all of these deals: The spinout of Blackrock from Merrill Lynch; the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America; the sale of the Miami Marlins baseball team; the conversion of the Rockefeller Family Office into a Wealth Management firm; even the sale of SALT – The Mooch’s firm – so he was free […]

Transcript: Greg Fleming

The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Greg Fleming, Rockefeller Capital Management, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz […]

Succinct Summation of Week’s Events for 11.27.20

Succinct Summations for the week ending November 27th, 2020 Positives: 1. POTUS belatedly admits loss, allows GSA to begin transition.2. Home mortgage apps rose 4.0% for the second straight week.3. FHFA House Price Index rose 1.7% m/o/m, above the expected increase of 0.9%.4. Chicago Fed National Activity Index came in at 0.83 for October, above […]

10 Black Friday AM Reads

My end of week morning train WFH reads: • Beat Black Friday Traps with Six Expert Behavioural Money Tips Shoppers will spend billions during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Retailers use a host of tricks to encourage you to buy what might not be the best deal. These behavioral nudges risk costing you […]

What is a Recession?

Today in wonky economic ephemera: This morning, Thom Keene was discussing the possibility of a slowdown, zero growth, or a contraction. He specifically asking Citigroup’s Global Chief Economist: “Are we going to approach an NBER recession?” Her answer: “Well, of course, the NBER recession is the two consecutive quarters of negative growth, thats the official […]

Coronavirus Pandemic Halfway Point

This is a first: Martin Bamford of Informed Choice (Twitter, YouTube) made a video of our recent post, The Halfway Point: “Over the weekend, I read an inspiring blog from Barry Ritholtz, where he makes the shocking observation that we are at the coronavirus pandemic halfway point. On that basis, and with another 8 months […]

De-Politicizing Your Feed

I built my reputation on being a blunt, honest and a bit off the center of mainstream. At the same time, no one wants to purposefully alienate half of their clients (or listeners or readers). On occasion, it can be a challenge to thread that needle. When the Matt Phillips of the New York Times asked […]

MiB: Generating Performance via Concentrated Growth

What if your investing process was to find attractive companies to buy, regardless of style, size, or location? Once you have identified which of these companies have the greatest growth potential, figuring out the best home for it is almost secondary. Surprisingly, this is the opposite philosophy of how most mutual funds operate. Most have […]