Old-Age Benefits: Are Older Investors Better?

elephants-1081749_1280At least one asset is guaranteed to enrich your portfolio this year: your investing experience. Stick at it long enough and you will encounter practically everything from start-ups to meltdowns, flashes in the pan to flash crashes, slim pickings to fat fingers. You will also discover the financial impact of earthquakes and tsunamis, of both the political and geological varieties. The wisdom of the years, one might argue, ought to make you a better investor. [Read more on TCAM’s website]

The Twin Dimensions of Trust

To trust or not to trustYour ageing smartphone has just given up the ghost. Would you chance handing it over to a stranger for repairs?

First you would think about whether its memory holds any sensitive data, and wonder what the stranger might do with it. Once you’re satisfied there are no ill intentions, you would decide whether you believe the stranger has the ability to repair smartphones. Given the success of the entire transaction depends on the latter, it seems counter-intuitive that this judgment be made only as a second step, yet this precisely what we all do. Read more on TCAM’s website

Reputations Lost

Hardly a week goes by without some sorry tale of a lost reputation. If it isn’t a politician accused of ruthless betrayal, or a bank’s name sullied by the fraudulent activities of its traders, it is the country itself that suffers the ignominy of being stripped of its triple-A sovereign debt rating. Reputations are clearly things that people, firms and nations can have, and lose. But what are they? Where do they come from? What are they worth? And what does one do to repair a tarnished one?…

Read more on TCAM’S website


The World’s Most Expensive Dustbin

Open golden trash canJulia Roberts is a superb actress. All too often, though, she headlines in movies whose themes I find uniquely unappealing. This means, when I do see her films, I have been dragged reluctantly to the cinema by my insistent other. This simple observation partially explains my lack of appreciation for Ms Roberts’ choice of scripts: how could I confess to having liked a movie when I had protested my disdain 90 minutes earlier? Nonetheless, I am willing to confess here that one of her films did contain a scene I appreciated very much. This was the one in which a lady leaves some US city and embarks on a voyage of emotional, romantic and cinematographic self-discovery in Italy, Bali and India. The highlight for me was near the start of the film when she packed all of her belongings into self-storage before her grand departure. Continue reading

A Message That Can Save You Money

I’ve gotten into something of a pickle with this latest trading position. Just a few weeks ago it seemed that all the operational and economic stars were aligned to send this stock into the stratosphere, but things did not work out like they were supposed to. It is not a complete disaster, but there were numerous little ‘misses’ on the way. So, although the broader equity market is reaching a 52-week high, my stock is closer to its 52-week low, and I am losing money. Continue reading

Skin in the Game

I confess to having been deeply sceptical when I read an appeal last week by a boss of a fund management firm (Schnider,Walter & Kollegen)  to make it an obligation for fund managers to invest personally in the funds they manage. For Mr Walter, the notion that having some ‘skin in the game’ makes for better investment decision-making is so self-evident it barely needs defending. Nevertheless, the article cites a Morningstar study from 2010 that revealed above-average performances among funds where the manager held a personal stake. Continue reading

The Thirty-Year Stock Market Hangover

September 1987 was an inauspicious moment to begin a career in the financial markets, but that was the first time I found myself in the centre of the dealing operations of one of the world’s largest commodity operators. I had recently emerged blinking from an ivory tower and found this new environment fascinating, exhilarating, totally incomprehensible.  After scarcely four weeks on the job global stock markets crashed. Continue reading