Pragmatic Capitalism

Capital for Living a More Practical Life

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Let’s Talk About the VIX (Again)

I’m getting a lot of questions these days about the low volatility we’re seeing in the stock market. So, step into my office and crack open an ice cold Bud Light. Just kidding, I don’t give people Bud Light in my office. I give them Coors Light.¹ Anyhow, a few years back I said that… Read More

QE, Stock Buybacks and Other Stuff

Did QE work?  That remains one of the most common questions in finance and economics. My answer is simple – it depends! I know, that’s not a super helpful answer, but hang around and let me explain in more detail. I want to use a simple analogy to analyze how QE works and whether it… Read More

Let’s Talk About Expert Predictions

Come into my office ladies and gentleman. We need to have a discussion about a growing problem in the investment world – guru worship & putting expert predictions in perspective. Investing is hard. Really hard. In fact, the overwhelming majority of professionals and amateurs are bad at it. That’s why indexing is growing so fast.… Read More

Getting What You Need vs What You Want

I’m still hung up on the fiduciary standard because, according to my inbox, this is actually a controversial topic. So, let’s try this again. If I had to summarize the fiduciary problem in finance it would be this: Too many finance professionals sell people what they want rather than selling people what they need. When… Read More

Being a Fiduciary, Part Deux

Here’s Matt Levine on the Morgan Stanley decision that I wrote about yesterday: This is exactly right. Matt is just describing the world as it is today. Which is really the crux of the whole debate about the fiduciary rule. But that world is changing in large part because the salesman are forcing the stores… Read More

Can you be a Fiduciary Without the Best Low Cost Options?

Here’s some blockbuster news from AdvisorHub: EXCLUSIVE: Morgan Stanley Purges Vanguard Mutual Funds Wow. A brokerage firm purges the largest low cost fund manager on Earth from their platform. That’s amazing. This is like the food court in your local mall purging pizza.  Which is a pretty good analogy for what a brokerage firm is… Read More

Can You Pick the Best Factors?

In the footnotes of my last post on factor investing I asked if I was being too skeptical: Maybe I’ve read too much Carl Sagan who once said: “If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then,… Read More

It’s Always Different This Time – Sports Edition

Although I live in Southern California I will always be a Washington sports fan. I didn’t forget where I came from after all. But even though I reside in the sunny skies of SoCal I am tormented all year by the storms that accompany every Washington sports team. This is especially true of the Nationals and… Read More

Factor Investing – Tilting at Windmills

(I hope you have your big boy pants on today because I am about to unleash another beat down on factor investing. I apologize in advance to all my colleagues in finance who love factor investing so much.) Factor investing is all the rage these days. If you don’t know what it is, stop being… Read More