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Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

What’s wrong with quant approaches?


You know the old story: when a celebrity gets to be Time Person of the Year, it’s time to short them. Obama received the honor twice, in 2008 and 2012 and look where that got him! Trump was Time Person of the Year 2016 so look out! In the same vein I notice that the Wall Street Journal now has a new and separate section on quants. Does that mean th...
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Are dynasties the future of democracy?


So I know I don’t have to remind you that we have a family running the US of A. Let’s say that it continues, with or without a gap between other family members also getting into the saddle. That’s what a dynasty is, in both cases. And this is hardly new. In modern times we’ve had the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons. The Roosevelts before that...
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Quantum economics – can 2 (or more) minds be entangled?


I just read “ The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis . You remember him? The author of Moneyball , the best-selling book about a new way to win at baseball. “The Undoing Project: is about the emergence of behavioral economics and behavioral finance. It focuses on the two key figures in the drama, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and the incredibly f...
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Can refugees be the key to a new and vibrant immigration policy?


I think the debate about immigration is missing something really big. The biggest thing we should be worried about is the vitality and energy of our country. If we get that right everything else falls into place. I was just watching a documentary about Japan and the ongoing depopulation there. With more and more seniors as a proportion of the popul...
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Are celebrities better venture investors than the professionals?


We Americans are obsessed by celebrities. Many of them have lots of moolah. So I’m sure you took notice of the recent announcements that Leonardo DiCaprio has joined a Boston VC firm . Maybe you also happened to notice another recent announcement that Kobe Bryant had launched a $100 MM VC fund, with one Jeff Stibel . This is just the tip of the ice...
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Can we unify traditional and behavioral economics?


So active investing is dead. Even the investment literati have finally figured that one out even though the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I’ve been heralding the issue (“ An Inconvenient Truth - Alpha Financial Styles Beget Ginormous Returns ” and “ Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like ?”)....
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ECB Should Push Issue of Refugee Bonds to Turbocharge EU Growth!


Useless factoid for the day: the European Central Bank (ECB) recently let it be known that it will likely start buying equities as part of its radical approach to quantitative easing . Apparently there aren’t enough bonds around for it to be able to buy. Mario Draghi, its head, really meant it when he said the ECB will take all steps to jumpstart e...
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How do negative interest rates impact leadership and risk globally?


It just came out that the Bank of Ireland and RBS bank have introduced negative interest rates on large deposits. Germany and Japan both have banks with negative interest rates, as well as some of the Scandinavians. That’s got to qualify as a megatrend. It looks like negative interest rates are spreading fast. We are in uncharted territory. Likely ...
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Should we deliberately slow down innovation?


Did you notice that Alvin Toffler, author of “Future Shock ” just passed away? His book was published in 1970. That was well before the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and even photocopiers and hand-held electronic calculators. Think what he would say today? Clearly the pace of change has accelerated dramatically since Toffler alerted us to the problem...
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BREXITed - UK Gain, EU Pain


So ok the UK is out. The pundits tell us that was a really bad move by the Brits. I beg to differ. Actually I think that BEXIT is going to lead to the British economy experiencing its biggest growth spurt in a century. It’s the EU we need to be worried about. How so? Leaving the EU is going to result in an epochal rollback of regulations in England...
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Would Trump be a Billionaire without his Inheritance?


Is this the elephant in the room? Trump's frequent allusions to his vast wealth and to how smart he is sounds awfully like the rich son who inherited it all but wants to convince everyone else – and himself – that really he did it all himself. So I thought I would do an analysis of this question. I think I’m well qualified to do that. For the past ...
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Space will be the New Driver of Global Economic Growth


So Yellen and the Fed just wimped out of raising interest rates, yet again again. What does that tell us? The world is in an economic funk. Nothing's working. China’s about to crash big-time so its role as a growth driver has definitely ended. The emerging markets are in an even worse pickle – Russia a total mess about to implode yet again, the Bra...
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An Inconvenient Truth - Alpha Financial Styles Beget Ginormous Returns


Apologies to Al Gore for another inconvenient truth. There’s been a lot of talk about alpha these days, but not just about investments. Trump, Putin - alpha is definitely in vogue. As in alpha male. Like Tarzan. Does that tell us something about the investing world? Yep it does. Check out my book The Three Financial Styles of Very Successful Leader...
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Could Genetically-Modified Humans Re-Ignite Global Growth?


I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vermont law that says that all foods that include genetically-modified ingredients must be disclosed on the label starting July 2016. Of course most of Europe doesn’t allow GM foods. China officially bans GM crops, although in fact the vast majority of them are in fact GM . So the movement to ban all GM foods is pret...
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Fast fashion for Wall Street? Spice up investing with synthetic sectors!


Are you into fashion? You’ve probably noticed that retailing icons like Banana Republic and The Gap are getting crushed by the fast fashion guys like Zara and H&M. I mean, who wants something that’s a week old anyhow? Hmm, tell that to the guys on Wall Street. The same old asset classes, the same old sectors. I was just reading an analyst repor...
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High Frequency Trading Trashed by Quantum Computers?


I’m sure you’ve all heard of high-frequency trading (HFT). We now realize that  HFT could actually bring down the stock market . As it is, HFT accounts for at least half of all the stock trading in the US. This isn’t to complain about HFT. It is what it is. Maybe it makes it hard for small investors. It’s certainly changed the nature of equity...
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We need the Interplanetary Monetary Fund now!


So finally SpaceX made it and soft-landed its booster rocket. An epochal achievement. And Bezos’ Blue Origin did much the same although on a lower orbit. So now the race is on. Next it will be the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, maybe even the North Koreans, God forbid. It’s now obvious that we have pretty much everything we need up there to keep body...
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Sleeping with the enemy – should central banks adopt bitcoin?


Hands up anyone who hasn’t heard of Bitcoin. No takers of course. So far it has been a qualified failure. Its most faithful users are the wrong kind of people who use if for money laundering and criminal activities. Yet bitcoin has many good uses and there are even legitimate companies that are starting to use it. But there is a use for bitcoin whi...
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Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like?


Did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal lately about how investors are pulling cash from hedge funds?   Seems like their returns are lagging the stock market. Of course that’s hardly new. The era of managed investing seems to be coming to a close as index funds take over. Far better to do as badly as everyone else than to once in a ...
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Are recessions contagious?


We're in one of the longest economic expansions in history right now. So of course the forecasters are jumping off the bandwagon to predict the next recession. The only thing though: economists are tragically unsuccessful at predicting recessions. According to the IMF, in the 1990s private economists only predicted correctly 2 of 60 recessions one ...
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