Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Tag: charles ellis

Legend in Investing – Charles Ellis

Do you want to see and hear an investment legend interviewed by two of the nicest and smartest advisors I know? Tune into this episode of the Rational Reminder podcast with guest Charles Ellis, famous author, investing authority, and a top-notch communicator.

Cameron Passmore cohosts the Rational Reminder and is someone I consider a friend. He and his talented partner, Ben Felix, run one of the best podcasts related to investing. If you like this episode I suggest subscribing to their channel.

Here’s the rundown of what’s covered:

0:00 Intro

4:18 Charley defines a “Loser’s Game”

8:21 Why money management is a loser’s game

11:38 How the market has changed since writing about the loser’s game

19:09 Whether or not the sentiment toward active management is negative

22:03 Types of investor who should not invest in low-cost index funds

30:27 What investors and their advisors should be focused on

37:25 The importance of a well-defined investment policy statement

39:01 What investors can do to protect themselves from themselves

40:43 The most under-appreciated action investors can take to be more successful

50:16 Charley’s opinion on Vanguard’s entry into private equity

55:27 Where Charley sees the biggest future opportunities in the field of investment

1:00:15 What has made Vanguard successful as a company

1:08:14 What Charley has learned about personal motivation and productivity

1:12:04 Charley defines success in his life

1:14:12 Outtake

If you’d rather listen to the episode instead of watching on YouTube here is a link via Apple Podcasts.

Illustration of the Month: How To Play the Winner’s Game

I’m obsessed with tennis. It’s mostly a healthy obsession, but this time of year, I start to slip. Why? Wimbledon, the finest tennis tournament in the world, is about to begin. It’s steeped in tradition, and yet its host, the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, isn’t afraid of innovation and science.

Whenever there’s a way to combine statistical analysis, tennis, and investing, I’m all over it. That’s why my life was transformed nearly 20 years ago, when Larry Swedroe did exactly that in the brilliant introduction to his first book (emphasis mine):

“After making what I thought was a great shot, a forehand that landed right in the backhand corner of my opponent, my teaching pro said, ‘That shot will be your worst enemy.’ While it was an exceptional shot, he explained, it was not a high percentage shot for a good ‘weekend player.’ Remembering how good that shot felt, I would try to repeat it. Unfortunately, I would be successful on a very infrequent basis. The pro asked me if I wanted to make great shots or would I rather win matches? (I thought that one was the cause of the other.)”

Playing the winner’s game is what the pro was getting at as he cautioned Larry about falling in love with his special and rare shot. Winning calls for consistent and disciplined play. When players go for shots beyond their skills, they’re playing a loser’s game. This decades-old analogy goes back to a book by Dr. Simon Ramo, Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Player.

With this background, you’ll know why the following ad is so meaningful to our firm. As a minor sponsor for the April 2018 Men’s Clay Court Championship, Hill Investment Group was proud to support an event that has been in play for more than a century – and held near our Houston office since 2001. As our sponsorship ad expressed, we enjoy helping investors play a winning game, by embracing a “long view” game plan.


Click on image to enlarge it


The Decline and Fall of Fund Managers

Friends and clients of our firm know that we’ve been singing the same evidence-based refrain for many years, so it is a pleasure to see when the major financial media joins in our song. In the Sunday, August 22nd issue of The Wall Street Journal, Jason Zweig concludes that the old-fashioned, active fund manager is dead. Anyone with that job description is best served looking for new employment.

Jason bases his piece on a recent submission by Charles Ellis to the Financial Analysts Journal, The Rise and Fall of Performance Investing (subscription required). Here’s an excerpt from the summary of Ellis’ article:

As acceptance of indexing grows, clients and managers have an opportunity to stop focusing on price discovery (which has made our markets so efficient) and refocus on values discovery, whereby investment professionals can help investors achieve good performance by structuring an appropriate, long-term investment program and staying with it.

So where will the active managers land next? Today, there are only a few hundred thousand financial advisors for tens of millions of investors. Ellis asks, “Who better to fill the insatiable demand for financial advisers than former portfolio managers who know firsthand how hard it is to beat the market?”

Click here to read Jason Zweig’s WSJ piece (subscription required).

Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Hill Investment Group