Research & Evidence
How our judgments are formed
In nearly every learned profession, whether it’s medicine, law, or engineering, there is a wide body of underlying research that represents the foundation of professional practice.
Although each practitioner may take a unique approach in the way that they apply this research in their day-to-day work, there is a common body of knowledge that links every upstanding professional in that industry together.
Think of a legal library at any major law firm, where a lawyer has access to hundreds of years of legislative history on legal statutes and case law. Attorneys regularly refer to scholarly publications to stay informed about legal issues and to draw upon the research of subject matter experts.
This information is used on a daily basis in order to make informed recommendations to clients that are based on current law and historic precedent.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the financial services industry operates in a manner that could be considered similar to law or medicine.
Instead, so-called “advice” from most individuals and companies in the world of investing is the financial equivalent of selling snake oil.
Rather than standing on a foundation of evidence, logic, and peer-reviewed research, most of what we hear in the news media and read in personal finance magazines is simply advertising, self-promotion, and fear-mongering masked as unbiased analysis.
Most financial advisors make decisions based on guessing & speculation
Cut Through the Noise
We review every client decision through the lens of extensive, academic and industry research published in highly-respected, peer-reviewed journals, including:
While we can’t predict the future or guarantee success, we can apply the latest research from the smartest financial minds around the world and combine it with sound, logical principles.
This approach provides our clients with the highest confidence that they will achieve their financial goals. It also allows them to spend more time enjoying the journey, rather than worrying about the destination.
The signal to noise ratio in the world of investing is sadly lower than in any other industry known to man. Americans are bombarded with billions of dollars of advertisements for financial products every year, each claiming a different approach to solving our problems.
Meanwhile, the news media and investment publications that claim to be objective are really in the business of promoting whatever content increases the consumption of Wall Street ads (and ultimately Wall Street products).
For these reasons, it is always helpful to take a step back and remind ourselves of the views and recommendations of leading investment minds and thought leaders like Warren Buffett, David Swensen, and John Bogle.
Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of quotes that help to illustrate the clear path to success (and often make far better use of the English language than we could ever hope to). Here are a few of the best:
Founder and Retired CEO of The Vanguard Group
“Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.”
Former Manager, Fidelity Magellan Fund
“It is paradoxical that wealth is often created through investment concentration, but maintained through diversification and careful management.”
Managing Director & Founder, Parametric Risk Advisors
“We have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.”
Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
“In money management what sells is the illusion of certainty.”
Chief Investment Officer, Bronte Capital Management
“Over the long-term the superiority of indexing is a mathematical certainty.”
Author and Wall Street columnist
“If I have noticed anything over these 60 years on Wall Street, it is that people do not succeed in forecasting what’s going to happen to the stock market.”
American economist and father of value investing
After receiving the Nobel Prize, Daniel Kahneman was asked by a CNBC anchorman what investment tips he had for viewers. His answer: “Buy and hold.”
Professor at Princeton University and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.”
Economist and professor of economics at Harvard University
“The inconvenience of going from rich to poor is greater than most people can tolerate. Staying rich requires an entirely different approach from getting rich. It might be said that one gets rich by working hard and taking big risks, and that one stays rich by limiting risk and not spending too much.”
quote from their book Investment Management
“…I believe the best investment strategy for most investors is not to buy and sell stocks at all, but simply to allocate assets to low-cost passive funds. I didn’t use to believe this. When I worked on Wall Street, it seemed absurd to think that the massive amount of energy, brainpower, and money expended on buying ‘good’ stocks and selling ‘bad’ ones was usually wasted (or worse). In the years since leaving the business, however, I have examined the evidence, and I have been startled and disappointed to realize how conclusive it is.”
Former equity research analyst at Prudential, Oppenheimer & Co., and Merrill Lynch
“Most people think they can find managers who can outperform, but most people are wrong. Eighty-five percent to ninety percent of managers fail to match their benchmarks. Because managers have fees and incur transaction costs, you know that in the aggregate they are deleting value. The investment business is a giant scam.”
Former President, Harvard Management Company (which manages the $32B Harvard University Endowment)