Category Archive: Investment Strategy

Jun 06

Investment Philosophy … a short primer

Everything I do in my day job is in one way or another a function of the investment committee. My roles vary from governance oversight as Chair, keeping consultants and portfolio managers on their toes as an investment specialist independent member, or perhaps I am the consultant who provides advice on portfolio design including asset …

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May 22

Approaching the Zero bound

I’m always fascinated by the various changes in financial market behaviour and this economic lockdown has created some new behaviours in the cash or money markets not seen before (or that I’m aware of). The chart below shows the performance of 3 cash benchmarks: RBA Cash Rate Target … currently 25bps (Green) RBA Cash Overnight …

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Apr 24

Worry about Valuations??? … yeah, a bit …

The biggest market in the world, often represented by the S&P 500 index, crashed pretty quickly from 24 February reaching its bottom on 23 March. This fall, in US Dollars, was around 34%. Since then, it has bounced back by around 25% after almost 5 weeks … not a bad turnaround, but obviously not back …

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Mar 19

Most markets are mostly efficient most of the time … maybe not so much now

Its clearly been a long time since I updated this blog and perhaps this current crisis makes most sense to make a comeback; particularly given I started this blog not long after the worst of the GFC (Jan 2009 to be precise). Anyway, the current crisis has clearly required a global response to slow down …

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May 31

A Few Investment Selection Faux Pas

Over the years having worked in consulting and research I have been sent countless portfolios for opinion. Virtually all portfolios have followed a pre-defined asset allocation aligned to a specific risk profile but occasionally that is where the alignment ends. This is because the investments selected bear little to no relationship with their desired characteristics …

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Apr 27

From Asset Allocation to Risk Allocation

Background After capital market forecasts and assessing investor objectives, the current method for portfolio construction starts with the asset allocation decision followed by investment selection. In the Australian financial planning industry, it widely accepted that the asset allocation decision is responsible for most of the portfolio performance variability, and it is, rightly or wrongly, regarded …

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Mar 14

Diversification … clearing up what it is and what it isn’t

Diversification is one of the central tenets of investment management and fundamental beliefs across the global financial planning industry. Its validity was set in stone by Harry Markowitz in his PhD dissertation and 1952 Journal of Finance article, Portfolio Selection, which demonstrated the effects of combining uncorrelated assets … i.e. improvement in the portfolio’s return …

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Aug 29

Beware the Benchmark Hugger … it might be you?

Background For quite a few years now, many commentators and researchers have criticized active strategies that charge active fees to receive benchmark-like returns. If a portfolio looks a lot like the benchmark it is trying to outperform, it doesn’t mean there won’t be outperformance, but after taking fees into consideration it is much more difficult. …

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Feb 13

Economic Growth & Sharemarket Returns … looking for relationships

Background According to (Elroy Dimson, 2010) the “conventional view Is that, over the long run, corporate earnings will constitute a roughly constant share of national income, and so dividends out to grow at a similar rate to the overall economy. This suggests that fast-growing economies will experience higher growth in real dividends, and hence higher …

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Aug 17

Look for the Signal amongst the Noise

Background When disappointing performance occurs, alarm bells will typically ring in the minds of investors, advisers, asset consultants and perhaps the managers themselves. Investing has only ever been a long game but thanks to the internet, the 24-hour news cycle, social media, etc. etc., it appears that success is expected to occur quickly and this …

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