I’ve seen complexity fail over multiple investment cycles in these types of portfolios, but as Keynes told us, “Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for the reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” Somehow simplicity has become the exception while complexity is now the rule.
I believe that meeting long-term spending needs for institutional portfolios and controlling risk can be accomplished through simplicity. That’s not to say that it’s easy, just less complex. A complicated portfolio relies on the hope of being smarter than your investing peers and the markets while taking on added risks. We all know hope is not an investment strategy.
Confessions of an Institutional Investor (via Josh Brown)
The world of investing is infinitely complex. It feels like we need complex strategies to generate returns. The problem is that as Adams says complicated systems are more likely to lead to “opportunities for failure.” We cannot control what the markets do. We can however control our own actions. For the vast majority of investors a simple system that we can follow over time will in all likelihood lead to better outcomes.
Simplify your investing to avoid ‘opportunities for failure’ (from Tadas Viskanta)
How many people here think that this bull market, wonderful as it is, is built on a foundation of robust and impressive macroeconomic growth and policy choices that are laying a foundation for impressive growth in the years that lie ahead? And how many think that it’s [built on the Federal Reserve's] printing press? I prefer to play in markets that are priced attractively, priced to offer strong, long-term returns, not ones that are expensive.
Where should you put your money now? From Rob Arnott and others (via Fortune)
Modern day investment management resembles, sadly, another old profession – and I’m not thinking of the oldest one, although there may be parallels there as well. Rather, I’m thinking of ancient alchemy with its near constant promises to turn lead into gold, just as investment managers repeatedly offer to transform low returns into high returns. This raises the question as to why investors/people keep falling for the stories offered up by investment managers/alchemists.
No Silver Bullets in Investing (just old snake oil in new bottles) (from the wonderful James Montier)