Best of 2017: Top Stories for Investors



For this outdated lion worth investor, 2017 was a irritating 12 months. It was troublesome to search out financial knowledge to help the spectacular liftoff in fairness values. I do know as a result of I attempted.

On the optimistic facet, corporations throughout the globe lastly appear able to put money into rising their companies reasonably than in share buybacks. But I can’t get the thought out of my head that for years extra money was invested in share buybacks. Since we’re within the midst of an eight-year bull market, you can’t inform me that current buybacks have been executed with the identical economics as these in 2009. Isn’t this an enormous destruction of capital?

Hiring in the United States is up, but when adjusted for inflation, wages are flat to down over the last — get ready for it — 40 years! Multi-factor productivity is waning. Car loan defaults are soaring. And in my forthcoming Weekend Reads, you will notice that one in three US citizens has debt that is at least six months in arrears. But equities march ever upward as if Mount Everest instantly went flat.

Be that as it might, identical to yearly, 2017 featured some excellent tales. Here are my picks for the most effective of 2017.


Part of this bull run — and the double entendre is meant — is as a result of huge lovefest for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that despatched crazed capital charging into the markets. So what wins the gold for my story of the 12 months in 2017? Steven Bregman’s presentation on some of the frightening eccentricities of ETFs from the 2016 Grant’s Interest Rate Observer convention. Thank you, Chris Scibelli, for sending it to me.

This perennially helpful infographic reveals the vast infrastructure of the United States and helps clarify the nation’s intensive competitive benefit.

Investment choice makers have two very large jobs: to see the world for what it’s, not what they would favor it to be; and to be decisive with that understanding. In phrases of talent acquisition, the primary job is definitely simpler, whereas recommendation on choice making often devolves into aphorisms and hyperbole. That’s why I really like this curated checklist of how successful business people make decisions.

Blockchain! There, sufficient mentioned. Here is an ace graphic displaying the effect of blockchain technology on various industries, courtesy of one of my favourite publications.


Is the mixed risk of machine studying and massive knowledge getting you down? Are you fearful about how you’ll compete with such glorious and excellent intelligence? Do not fret. Human beings are spectacular and our minds are nonetheless not properly understood. But if you wish to insulate your self in opposition to obsolescence, then I like to recommend embracing lifelong learning.

A candidate for my story of the 12 months and winner of the bronze is that this disturbing examination of how highly talented employees are frequently denied advancement opportunities for obscure causes. One such purpose: Their supervisors desire to maintain and harvest expertise to advance their very own careers. Think this doesn’t occur? I encourage to vary.

Quantitative Methods

Earlier this 12 months, I highlighted an outline of Renaissance, that almost all well-known of quant hedge funds, and how it makes its sausage. By now, Renaissance has probably radically modified its algorithms. But this perception into their strategies is way from insanity.

How to ask good questions of your knowledge is essential to gaining an understanding of what is basically occurring on the planet. I like to recommend this examination of easy methods to unlock the power of the expert opinion buried within normal datasets.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Financial Statistics” summarizes some of the main pondering on how knowledge is used to govern reported outcomes. To me, it’s a must-read for those that love “factor models,” for instance.

Behavioral Finance

Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner’s Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction is one of the extra attention-grabbing books about finance and economics to return out lately. Many of you’re conversant in it already, and if you’re like me, you additionally need to learn the primary research on which its conclusions are primarily based. Tetlock has supplied free entry to some of his analysis. Just comply with the link and click on on the “Research” tab.

Way again in March I mentioned that this piece can be a number one candidate for story of the 12 months  The intervening months didn’t change that opinion. It wins my silver medal in 2017. The title says all of it: “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.”

Though I already emphasised the significance of lifelong studying, it’s also essential to know easy methods to unlearn issues. This story makes the case: How do we unlearn anything?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

The World Bank created standards for underwriting bond issues from the world’s poorest nations this 12 months. Anyone who has traveled to areas the place individuals stay at subsistence degree acknowledges the stark actuality: Capital goes a lot additional in these locales than within the host nation. I’m hopeful that this helps these poorer nations to boost much-needed capital.

Another runner-up for my story of the 12 months describes how every time a climate disaster strikes, we all get poorer. An apparent level — however it’s exhausting to see the fee of current pure disasters being priced by fairness markets. Apparently, the prices of these disasters are already being discounted . . . hah!


You know I’m a critic of synthetic intelligence (AI). Why? In half, as a result of we’re working with no correct principle of the thoughts and of intelligence. In different phrases, we are heading down the wrong path in understanding the human brain.

The finest AI story I’ve learn was despatched to me by a person who labored in that discipline for over 30 years. It questions the myth of a superhuman AI. The explanations of the factors that should be met for AI to attain the lofty heights of pure intelligence are particularly illuminating.

When Data Is Worth More Than Assets,” was one other story-of-the-year contender. It’s an interesting thought piece that jarred my regular contexts.

Fun Stuff

I really like quantum physics (and Einsteinian physics, too). Rare is the scientific work that simplifies and explains these theories clearly, however this infographic succinctly describes both types of physics for the layperson.

This catalog of the worst corporate lingo sins retains me laughing. C’mon, you’ve used some of this language. Finance is rife with this rubbish.

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All posts are the opinion of the creator. As such, they shouldn’t be construed as funding recommendation, nor do the opinions expressed essentially replicate the views of CFA Institute or the creator’s employer.

Jason Voss, CFA

Jason Voss, CFA, tirelessly focuses on bettering the power of buyers to raised serve finish shoppers. He is the creator of the Foreword Reviews Business Book of the Year Finalist, The Intuitive Investor. Previously, Jason was a portfolio supervisor at Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., the place he co-managed the Davis Appreciation and Income Fund to noteworthy returns. He holds a BA in economics and an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Colorado.

Ethics Statement

My assertion of ethics could be very easy, actually: I deal with others as I want to be handled. In my opinion, all techniques of ethics distill to this easy assertion. If you consider I’ve deviated from this customary, I might love to listen to from you: [email protected]


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