What is Pragmatic Capitalism?
The field of finance and economics seems to be filled with myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings. Pragmatic Capitalism is the personal blog of Cullen Roche that attempts to cut through the noise and describe the world as it is while providing answers to the toughest questions in finance and economics. The goal of the website is to help educate and inform through an unbiased and open-minded approach by understanding the financial system for what it is.
Pragmatic Capitalism (https://pragcap.com) was founded by Cullen Roche in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008. Mr. Roche foresaw many of the events that led up to the crisis and felt that the government was slow to react and when it did finally react, responded with insufficient medicine. Using his expertise in the financial markets and the monetary system, Mr. Roche provides objective answers to the world’s big macro questions. Pragmatic Capitalism has become a place where investors, economists and laypeople can discuss complex financial issues and find answers to the ever problematic world of money. Mr. Roche doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but provides his expertise where possible to help others learn and become more financially aware. Ultimately, the goal of the website is to try to provide a resource for better understanding and a forum for discourse and debate (see here for more).
Pragcap has been named one of the best finance blogs by CNBC, the third ranked financial advisory website as compiled by Brightscope and Michael Kitces, one of the five best financial blogs by Josh Brown and one of MarketWatch’s 6 financial blogs you should reading.
What is a Pragmatic Capitalist?
A Pragmatic Capitalist is someone who understands that capitalism is a system that leverages the talents of individuals and incentivizes them to compete and produce for society. This system has produced tremendous good for the world as living standards have boomed in the last 100 years and poverty has collapsed. At the same time a Pragmatic Capitalist understands this system for what it is and understands that a capitalist system will tend to veer towards monopolization and inequality. This can cause social conflict and extreme hardship for many. To twist a Winston Churchill quote, it could be said that capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the rest. This website is a place to understand, learn and discuss these realities and I hope that an objective exploration of these concepts can help us improve the world a little bit.
Who is Cullen Roche?
Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC a financial services firm offering fee only financial advisory services. The company was founded to provide investors with an alternative to the profit-first, client-second business model that has come to dominate much of Wall Street these days. Orcam was founded with the idea that financial services firms can better serve public purpose and Orcam’s goal is to offer products and services that help create better informed and more independent investors, consumers and producers.
Cullen has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry working with some of the biggest firms as well as founding his own firms.
Prior to establishing Orcam Mr. Roche founded his own investment partnership in 2005 after working at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management where he worked on a team overseeing $500MM+ in assets under management. Unhappy with the large brokerage firm business model, Mr. Roche formed his own private investment partnership in 2005 with a substantial personal investment at the age of 25. Over the next 7 years he guided the partnership to average annual returns of 14.5% with a Sharpe Ratio of 1.21 and no negative full year returns during one of the most turbulent periods in stock market history. He founded Orcam Financial Group in 2012 to focus more on helping retail investors with a low fee advisory service.
Mr. Roche’s primary areas of expertise include global macro portfolio construction, quantitative risk management, behavioral finance and monetary theory (Cullen is proud not to be considered a technical “economist“). He is the author of the popular book “Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Money and Finance” as well as “Understanding the Modern Monetary System”, one of the top 10 all-time most downloaded research papers on the SSRN network. He is the long-time #1 economics writer on the popular financial website Seeking Alpha, was named one of the “Top Wall Street Economists, Experts and Opinion Leaders” of 2011 by Wall Street Economists and was named one of the “101 Best Finance People” by Business Insider where he was described as “one of the most influential economic thinkers today.” In 2015 Mr. Roche was named one of the “40 Under 40” most influential people in finance by InvestmentNews. He is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal, on CNBC and in the Financial Times.
Mr. Roche is a Georgetown University alumnus, growing up in the DC area and now living in San Diego, California with his wife Erica, daughter Della, goodest good girl Cal, an Australian Shepherd and their flock of laying hens. Cullen is an avid traveler and loves to experience and learn about new cultures. When he’s not pretending to care only about finance Cullen is always outdoors. He’s completed the 140 mile IRONMAN triathlon, surfs badly, runs slowly, fishes badly, loves gardening, raises chickens and tries not to take himself too seriously.