As we reflect on the outcome of yesterday’s presidential elections, you may enjoy a reminder that, big picture, the world has a way of continuing to turn, come what may. My personal inspiration came last week when I took a little longer than usual to knock off for the day, scheduling a 6 pm Skype with a new friend I’d recently met: Phil Stockton of Private Capital Ltd.
BREAKING NEWS: As I was putting together this week’s whimsy, I was delighted to see that my British communications colleague and Evidence-Based Investor author Robin Powell published a podcast conversation between us. In “What’s With the Name?” we explore the origin and meaning of Evidence-Based Investing. I also happened to mention my conversation with Phil toward the end. I do hope you’ll give the show a listen. We’re all one, big happy global family!
Now, back to my own post: I was willing to delay happy hour last week, because my Wednesday evening was Phil’s Thursday morning, and another busy day for him as he and his partners Rick Adkinson and Mathew Bate are spreading the mostly unheard-of word on evidence-based investing to families sorely in need of hearing more about it – in Hong Kong.
I don’t leave my corporate world headquarters (third bedroom) that often, let alone schlep across the country for a one-day gathering. But there are so many signs that evidence-based investing is taking off in a big, exciting, scary, glorious, challenging, amazing, awesome, perfect storm of a way, I couldn’t resist being part of it.
Given the similar names, there’s naturally some synergies to be explored between our EBA group and the EBI Conference, don’t you think? The event’s hosts did, so they have extended a special invitation to our group, along with a $400 DISCOUNT off the regular registration rate. Any advisor who is an EBA group member can attend for the reduced rate of $1,095 (regularly $1,495).
To find out what code to use to receive the discounted rate:
Why might you want to attend? Because we’ve carefully curated this EBA group as a forum of relatively like-minded advisors, we’d like to see a strong showing of us at an event that is, after all, celebrating a term we’ve collectively embraced as our own.
“There’s something’s happening here | What it is ain’t exactly clear …”
If you’re an American flower-power child from the 60s or 70s (or have similar musical tastes), you’ve probably now got a certain classic protest song injected into your head, which you may be humming all day. You’re welcome.
The song’s title, “For What It’s Worth,” is less familiar. Even less well known is its intent. I was surprised myself when I read on Wikipedia that, despite its 1966 “man with a gun” lyrics, it was apparently not another anti-war song. It was composed in reaction to a 10 pm curfew aimed at clearing out the music-loving party-goers who were congesting Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Who knew? Based on the crowds that remain there to this day, I’m guessing that curfew thing didn’t go so well.
Evidence-Based Investing: The Movement
What’s this got to do with evidence-based investing? There’s been something happening here too, baby, in a big way. Any of us who have been part of the movement for a while can’t help but notice it. After years of playing the role of the anti-establishment protester, we’ve recently picked up a mass of followers in the U.S. and around the globe. The crowds are spilling out into the streets. Suddenly (or so it seems), we pacifist protestors have become the Man, the Establishment, the status quo to rail against.
Hire an Adviser or Do It Yourself?If ever there were a promising candidate for a DIY approach, it would be me.
That’s not always been so. When I embarked on my investment journey around 1990, I was just a typical investor about to enjoy a tech-boom-fueled run in the markets. Then, in 1998, I happened to accept a position at Buckingham Asset Management, where I was introduced to a new way to invest. I’d written about healthcare, libraries and pet care products. Why not finance? I knew as much about investing as the next person.
Which is to say, I knew nothing.
In what turned out to be one of the luckiest breaks in my life, I heeded the advice of my new employers and shifted my scattered stocks into a portfolio of Dimensional Fund Advisors funds. I didn’t really know why, but to be a team player, I took a leap of faith.
This is a question I often ask advisors. The answer usually involves a journey that begins with a broken brokerage-house gig before the fiduciary-minded find their financial footing in a finer place.
You’re probably all too familiar with such stories. Still, it can be challenging to share them with investors who struggle to understand the essential difference between financial business as usual, versus what YOU have to offer.
Fortunately, evidence-based advisor, and now author Matt Hall has just provided a new book to help you share this critical message. Due for release in early April, “Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor” relates Matt’s journey from stock-picking chump to evidence-based investment champion. Your own tale may vary, but once investors hear it, it’s usually only a matter of time before those who understand what it can mean to them want to know how they can join our ranks.
Matt’s book can cue up that conversation for you. Or, if you’ve always wanted to successfully publish material about your own experiences, he offers some first-hand advice in our Q&A below. Enjoy.
Your new book, “Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor” is about to hit the newsstand. What inspired you to write it?
It’s absurd how excited I am about it coming out April 12th! The feedback from the early reader group has blown me away and gets to the heart of why I did this – I want the message of our approach to stick! Remember the book Made to Stick by the Heath brothers? I’ve been haunted for years by the fact that not everyone embraces an evidence-based investment approach. In my experience many people give up on reading about how to improve their financial lives because of the wonky technical jargon. The question I knew I could answer – Can we bury the technical inside of stories? – allows the essential investment message to get through to a bigger audience.
I don’t remember how I discovered SensibleInvesting.TV and its landmark video series, “Passive Investing: The Evidence.” But I do remember my reaction when I did: Eureka! It was one of the first times I knew that US and UK investors alike had sensible proponents of evidence-based (formerly “passive”) investing, to help them find their way in our grueling global markets.
The respect is clearly mutual. The series features some of the same familiar voices we’re used to heeding here in the states – so familiar that their surnames usually suffice: Bogle, Sharpe, Fama, French, Bernstein (William, that is), Malkiel, Ferri, Goldie … And Swedroe, Larry Swedroe, who has both shaken and stirred the financial community many times over with his collection of investment books for helping everyday investors discover evidence-based investing.
Imagine my delight when I learned that Sensible Investing’s founder and host Richard Wood and his colleague Igors Alferovs had recently collaborated with Larry to publish a British version of one of his most popular books: “Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffett.”
I was pleased when Richard and Igors agreed to share with me their experience advocating evidence-based investing in the UK. Here are the results. (Additional book ordering information is below, if you are interested in obtaining a copy of Larry’s Anglicised book for you or your clients.)
What is Sensible Investing? When did you found it and why?
Sensible Investing is an online video channel and information website featuring film, articles and comment about evidence-based, or passive investing. We began it in 2012 while we were making our documentary Passive Investing: The Evidence, and realised there was a gap in the market for independent, impartial, fact-based information about investing. This was especially the case in the UK, which was (and still is) years behind the US in awareness of the true cost of traditional active investing. An online channel for videos, blogs and downloads, combined with an active social media presence, seemed to be the best way of reaching as many people as we could. Although it’s funded and run by our wealth management firm BRWM, we are committed to keeping it as independent as possible, and are happy to feature content from other organisations who share our beliefs. Continue reading “A Sensible Shot Heard Around the World: An Interview with UK’s Sensible Investing Hosts”→
If you’ve not yet heard about it, a small team of us has been maintaining an Evidence-Based Advisors (EBA) LinkedIn group since 2008. What began as a modest adventure has grown to a list of 1,500+ members, with new join requests coming in weekly.
The majority of members are evidence-based advisors, just as the name implies. There also are a scattering of service providers like yours truly; fund manager representatives from firms such as Dimensional, AQR and Bridgeway; and some academics who have expressed interest in participating in meaningful conversations (versus using the forum as a promotional venue). Advisors from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of other countries are represented in the group. Just this morning, we accepted a join request from an advisor based in Santiago, Chile. Bienvenida!