WINNER: State Street Center for Applied Research and CFA Institute
For the second year running, the Investment Insight Award goes to Suzanne Duncan's team at State Street Center for Applied Research. This year, the research was carried out in conjunction with the CFA Institute.
Discovering Phi: Motivation as the Hidden Variable of Performance
The authors explore motivation theory and the nature of motivation in investment management firms. They examine how investment managers can improve their “phi” (purpose, habits and incentives) in order to generate better outcomes. The research has implications for the management of investment firms and for fund manager selection.
The Free Lunch: The Value of Decoupling Diversification and Risk by Salient Partners
The authors of this very interesting paper discuss why considering diversification and risk independently may help investors build more efficient portfolios. They argue that asset allocators should rethink the impact of low volatility diversifiers in higher risk portfolios. Some low vol asset classes (e.g. hedge funds) may primarily have a “de-risking” impact, but not a "diversifying" impact. The paper demonstrates that, perhaps counter-intuitively, high volatility diversifiers can sometimes be very effective, and allocators should consider these strategies.
Reflections on the Ten Attributes of Great Investors by Michael J. Mauboussin
Thirty years ago this year, Michael J. Mauboussin started on Wall Street. It goes without saying that he has seen dramatic events and change during that time. Equity market indices are roughly 10 times higher today than they were in 1986. And of the 10 biggest companies by market cap then, only AT&T, Exxon Mobil and GE remain in that league today. In this piece, he shares his reflections on what makes great investment managers.
Market Macro Myths: Debts, Deficits and Delusions by James Montier, GMO
This paper by James Montier focuses on the concept of "sound finance" in the context of the role played by debts and deficits in overall economic policy. Montier believes that budget deficits shouldn't be avoided if they help policymakers achieve the two main goals of macroeconomic policy, namely price stability and full employment. He seeks to show why the advocates of "sound finance" are wrong and debunk a set of "myths" put forward by them.
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