• Financial Times - Busting the myths of investment: Do equities outperform bonds?

    As an equity fund manager, questioning the investment myth that equities outperform bonds is the equivalent of coprolalia, an occasional characteristic of Tourette’s syndrome in which the sufferer involuntarily utters socially inappropriate remarks.
  • Financial Times - Busting the myths of investment: who needs income?

    There seems to be something so alluring about dividend income that it often seems to lead investors to abandon common sense or be encouraged to do so by the investment industry. For example, how many times have you heard it said that the majority of returns from investment in equities comes from reinvestment of the dividends?
  • Financial Times - Busting the myths of investment

    Adding small-caps to a global equity portfolio adds value without heightening the risk. If you are an investor you may have encountered these two adages. First, that in order to earn a higher return you must take greater risk. Second, asset allocation is the most important contributor to performance.
  • Financial Times – ESG? SRI? Is your green portfolio really green?

    You decide to buy a car. You tell the dealer you want to be environmentally responsible and trust him to supply something appropriate. You had an electric car in mind but he supplies a hybrid. Not too bad, but when it arrives you find that the internal-combustion part of the power plant is a diesel supplied by a German maker caught lying about emissions.
  • Financial Times – AstraZeneca is beginning to look like Tesco

    It might be tempting to view last week’s fall in the AstraZeneca share price in isolation, related to the results of the “Mystic” lung cancer drug trial. However, I suspect that AstraZeneca’s problems go much deeper than a setback for a single drug.
  • Financial Times – The unique advantage of equity investment

    Investment in stocks and shares – equities – has a unique advantage over other asset classes which in my experience is rarely understood and almost never discussed. Equities can compound in value in a way that investments in other asset classes, such as bonds and real estate, cannot. The reason for this is quite simple: companies retain a portion of the profits they generate to reinvest in the business.
  • What did you invest in before the war, great grandpa?

    In this centenary year of what contemporaries called the Great War and we now call the first world war – because it became necessary to number them – what can we learn from the changes in the constituents of the stock market over the intervening century?
  • Big Blue investors may not have a winning hand

    In 2011, the legendary investor Warren Buffett caused a stir by announcing Berkshire Hathaway’s first major investment in a technology company, an area of the market he had always avoided, claiming that he didn’t understand it.
  • Investors are their own worst enemies

    Michael Johnson, the former American sprinter, once said: “The only one who can beat me is me.” I suspect that this statement simply demonstrates a lack of modesty, but it can have another, subtler meaning: that even if we are good at what we do, we are capable of producing a bad result because we allow our own emotions to defeat us. So often we are defeated not by our competition or the difficulty of the task but by our own psyche.
  • Just the facts when weighing investments

    In the 1950s, an early detective series on TV was Dragnet, starring the fictional Joe Friday. In the opening sequence to every show he would say: “My name is Friday. I’m a cop”. His other famous one-liner, usually delivered while trying to extract evidence from a hapless babbling witness, was: “Just the facts”.
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