Good reads from around the Web.
Even a decade ago, it was rare to hear a peep from future Nobel prize winning economists like Robert Shiller or under-the-radar investing legends like Jack Bogle.
Sure, they spoke. If you went to a bar with Bogle, I’m sure he held forth.
Shiller even wrote a famous book.
But most of the time, investing and finance was not mainstream media material, and wonky passive-style commentary was rare indeed.
I have a friend who thinks the world is now obsessed with the markets. He’s one of my lefty friends who runs a business and yet hated Thatcher.
But I do wonder if on this he has a point.
Perhaps it’s a legacy of the financial crisis or the ongoing Eurozone crisis, but the market does seem to make the front pages more often these days.
Or maybe it’s just that with so much online media around, there’s more opportunity for the obscurer titans of finance to sound off, and for us to read it?
Just this week, for example, I read interviews with Shiller and Bogle. Both featured notable quotes.
First this rather strange utterance from Shiller via Bloomberg:
“You can’t free yourself from the prison of the zeitgeist unless you become a smart beta person and start mechanically doing investments that don’t sound right.”
Er, sure thing prof. (I think he means buy a few cheap and scary-looking Greek and Russian equities).
Meanwhile 85-year old John Bogle offered this typically feisty quote in an interview with Institutional Investor:
“Smart beta is stupid; there’s no such thing. It’s an idiotic phrase. Quoting Shakespeare, I guess: It’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
It’s just another way of saying, “I know I’m going to be above average.”
Active managers are just trying to come back and say there is a better way to index, when they know damn well there isn’t a better way.”
Gosh us investing nerds will miss him when he’s gone.
Keep making up for lost time, John!
Note: Today is the self-assessment tax return deadline. You have until midnight to submit your return online.
From the blogs
Making good use of the things that we find…
- Moving beyond soundbite investing – Oblivious Investor
- Just leave your 60/40 portfolio alone… – Abnormal Returns
- … because 60/40 works, after all – A Wealth of Common Sense
- The ‘Search for Yield’ trilogy – Vanguard
- Binary thinking is rarely useful in investing – The Value Perspective
- Unilever is growing too slowly – UK Value Investor
- Keynes would be fired today – A Wealth of Common Sense
- Capita’s latest UK dividend report [PDF] – Capita
- Q&A with Buffett-like Francis Chou – GuruFocus
- Prem Watsa’s massive bet on deflation – Brooklyn Investor
- It’s hard to see how London house prices can rise – The Value Perspective
- Invest in yourself first – Malice for All
- Calculating how rich you are and will be – Mr Money Mustache
- Deciding how much is ‘enough’ is tough – Mister Squirrel
- Thinking versus doing – Oddball Stocks
Product of the week: Mortgage rates continue to fall, with HSBC now touting a two-year fix charging just 1.19%, notes ThisIsMoney. You’ll need a 40% deposit and there’s a big fee, so do your sums. (When I asked if you could afford NOT to have a big mortgage a couple of years ago, I had no inkling they’d get this cheap!)
Mainstream media money
Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1
- How passive funds changed investing [Search result] – FT
- Interview with Research Affiliates’ Rob Arnott – ETF.com
- Passive is even more prudent in inefficient markets – Morningstar
- Ritholz: My four beefs with Bogle – Bloomberg
- New iShares ETF tracks lower volatility US REIT index – ThisIsMoney
- Jim Slater: Two more growth picks on AIM – Telegraph
- Negative yields are everywhere [Search result] – FT
- Sticking with shares as Draghi finally delivers [Search result] – FT
- Crispin Odey predicts once-a-century recession – Management Today
Other stuff worth reading
- Solar firm that sold 6.5%-paying mini-bonds goes bust – Guardian
- Where to buy property with the strong pound – Telegraph
- Housel: 12 interesting things I’ve learned recently – Motley Fool US
- Want to convert a surplus pub into a home? – ThisIsMoney
Book of the week: If you’re curious to know more about the wildcatters in the US shale industry who made a fortune in recent years – only to crash the oil price and perhaps their own businesses – then The Frackers is one of the more exciting books to tell the tale. Though with more US rigs mothballed every day with oil below $50, the latest chapter is still to be written…
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- Note some FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [↩]