Opinion

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Over the last few weeks we have considered our process. This last blog falls under the title ‘repeat, repeat, repeat’. I was discussing our process recently and mentioned that the day we stop innovating and challenging is the day that we stop as complacency will have taken over, and this has the potential to destroy all the work we have done. In July and August, I often breathe a sigh of relief. All the clients have agreed to the new portfolios and have been rebalanced into them. For two months I can effectively rest. In September I gear up to start the process again; hence ‘repeat, repeat, repeat’.

Passive vs Active

“The index fund is a most unlikely hero for the typical investor. It is no more (nor less) than a broadly diversified portfolio, typically run at rock-bottom costs, without the putative benefit of a brilliant, resourceful, and highly skilled portfolio manager. The index fund simply buys and holds the securities in a particular index, in proportion to their weight in the index. The concept is simplicity writ large.” ― John C. Bogle

Coronavirus

The human suffering from COVID-19 has been in the news for over a month but until the last week the financial markets had not been materially affected. However, over the past two days markets have fallen substantially, with news of the spread of infections to Europe, especially Italy. It is not possible to know how serious and long lasting this will be. Often in the past, fears in the markets (including medical) have caused significant and rapid falls in prices but have been short term in duration.

The boffin in the room

I am often found locked away in a room, spending most of my life looking at spreadsheets, and talking to fund managers. About 70% of my time is spent working on the investment strategies. In the last blog we explored why we do what we do. We concluded that it is vital to retain this part of the process, that this is what we are paid for and we should devote our time and energy to it.

Let’s talk about investments

“The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” Phillip Fisher When we started the business, we focused on investments; as we have developed, we placed greater emphasis on financial planning. We have produced a series of blogs expanding on the importance of goals and plans […]

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”

Frankly, I am bored! Referendums and elections, but nothing seems to have changed for the last three years. One certainty about this election is that that the outcome is uncertain; opinion polls will tell you one thing but as we have seen over the last couple of years, they have not been a good weather […]

Investing for the long term

My advice to the trustee could not be more simple: Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard‘s.) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors—whether pension funds, institutions, or individuals—who employ high-fee managers.

Fund Analysis

A new norm, and what it means for cash

At the turn of the century (well nearly 20 years ago) cash was a usable asset class. For those wanting to “safeguard” capital and receive an income it seemed the perfect choice; £100,000 could provide an “income” of around £5,000 per annum. In 2008/2009 this all changed as globally, interest rates dropped to near zero; […]

Interest rates – this time really could be different

As fads and phases in markets and economies come and go, the smouldering wreckage of once hyped ‘must have’ investments often lie in a worthless crumpled heap next to people muttering. ‘But I really thought this time was different’ It rarely is!

What’s Happening Next?

George and I spend many hours discussing the politics and economics of the world, with reference to where and how to most productively employ capital. We try, in doing this, to separate the personal from the strategic, so what I will write is not necessarily my own view on what would be best or honourable but rather an analysis of what we currently see as likely to happen and why.

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