investing

Three Simple Questions

Each year in our Summer issue, we ask a group of the region’s leading financial experts to help our readers by responding to a question. This year, we’ve asked three. The first batch of the questions and answers follow. Question 1: Since the election of Donald Trump, stock markets have soared and the confidence of …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part VII

Well, the best-laid plans…I’d intended to interview the contestants in our little investment contest to get their take on the markets and on how well or badly they, personally, had navigated the various challenges those markets had offered. I was especially interested in what, if anything, the contestants had learned. But I was mainly thwarted. …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part VI

Bull Markets and Bear Markets are such momentous events that they tend to fixate investor attention to the exclusion of more important matters. Most people, for example, would define a “market cycle” with reference to Bulls and Bears. Typically, investors might view a market cycle as extending from the peak of a Bull to the …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part V

So far in our increasingly exciting investment contest, it’s been a positive experience all around. For the first three years the capital markets rose relentlessly: a modestly positive first year followed by two terrific Bull Market years. But things are about to change. Now, in Year 4 of our contest, the good times seem like …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part IV

Last week we observed how our investment competitors fared as they navigated a boring, so-so market environment. But this week things get more interesting. As we will recall, Years 2 and 3 of our contest were Bull Market years. The equity markets were so strong that even highly diversified portfolios rose 15% in Year 2 …

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Value Investing: Putting Time on Your Side

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” Throughout my 17 years watching markets and investing on behalf of high-net-worth individuals, families and organizations in the Pittsburgh area, I’ve never found this quote from legendary investor Benjamin Graham to be more appropriate. Investing is more than the cat and mouse game portrayed by …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part III

Last week we asked Mr. Market to establish the playing field for our investment contest. This week we’ll check in to see how our contestants are faring. Year 1 of the contest, we will recall, was a so-so, boring year in the markets. Mr. Market’s portfolio—that is, a portfolio with exactly the same asset allocation …

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Capital Preservation Paul, Part II

On the last day of March, we launched our own, far more interesting version of March Madness, namely, an investment contest. Our contest features the Investing Final Four, that is, the four main kinds of investors I’ve encountered in a long and checkered career in the financial advisory business. But instead of competing for something …

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Capital Preservation Paul

I’ve been in the business of advising wealthy families for 40 years. (Actually, it’s been longer than that, but I’ve reached the age where everything gets rounded down.) Over all those years, almost every family I’ve worked with has followed an investment strategy focused on the preservation of their capital, and it’s not hard to …

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Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part IV

We began this series of posts by examining the sorry state of value investing. We then moved on to making unfashionable arguments on behalf of hedge fund fees and performance. We’ll close the series by looking at the important role hedge funds—and, for that matter, value investing—play in the long-term success of investment portfolios. Hedge …

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Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part III

We’re talking about nobody’s favorite subject, hedge funds. Last week we dispensed with the ugly topic of hedge fund fees, and this week we’ll take a deep breath and tackle the even more noxious topic of hedge fund performance. On the surface, the only way to describe recent hedge fund performance is “terrible.” Over the …

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Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part II

In my last post, we discussed the sorry state of value investing following seven years of rigged markets courtesy of our central bankers. In this post we’ll turn to another category of investing that sits right near the top of so many investors’ Sh*t Lists: hedge funds. Whole books have been written about hedge funds, …

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Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless?

For reasons best known to themselves and their (not very robust) consciences, America’s central bankers concluded that the best way to drag the US economy out of the Financial Crisis was to make rich people richer and poor people poorer. They therefore adopted policies—QE1, QE2, QE3—that drove up the prices of assets mainly held by …

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The Yield Dilemma

Editor’s Note: Each year in our summer issue, we ask a group of the region’s leading wealth managers to help our readers navigate financial waters by responding to a question. This year, the question is: Many investors are hungry for yield as the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates very low; what strategies can investors …

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