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Yale's CIO David Swensen passed away last month. He left behind an unprecedented track record, a whole new way of doing things, and a much better-funded university. How did he do it, and what can we learn from him? We explore with Capital Allocators podcast host and Yale Investment Office alum Ted Seides.…
 
Pension accounting is a cursed subject. So we called Hugh O’Reilly, who was happy to wade into the discussion with characteristic Canadian politesse. He has loads of experience putting his knowledge into practice as the former CEO of OPTrust (One of Canada’s largest pension funds) as well as a pensions attorney.…
 
Hello and welcome to Free Money, a podcast/newsletter from Sloane Ortel and Ashby Monk about how long-term investors can free themselves from the shackles of short-term thinking. If you’re new here, thanks for signing up! If someone sent this your way or you found this post through Twitter or some other channel, be sure to sign up below. We publish…
 
Looking for work is no fun at all. This is Sloane, and I know because I’m doing it. My consulting business has slowed down dramatically since COVID hit, which means I’ve gone from outright thriving to just surviving. Please do reach out if you’d like to chat about a project. But it’s not just my story. Everyone seems to have lost something during t…
 
Imagine governing a state right now. The best positioned public schools, parks departments, and police forces are merely contending with unprecedented times. For most, they are unpredictable as well. And neither condition is helped by a near-universal problem: there is not enough money. America’s national government can deficit spend thanks to the …
 
Where do innovative products and services come from? You might imagine that we have the “invisible hand” of the free market to thank. But in lots of cases, the answer is government-supported research. Consider your smartphone. It uses technologies like GPS, advanced transistors, active-matrix liquid-crystal displays, voice recognition, and graphica…
 
Standing by while others suffer is bad. Profiting from their exploitation is worse. And unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to do by accident. Take real estate investment as an example: investors who hold a diversified portfolio of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are likely to hold shares in GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) and CoreCivic (NYSE: CXW). GE…
 
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity….” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities True classics never seem to age. Think of Pride and Prejudice, The Iliad, and the observation that the general state of things is both bad…
 
There are durable returns to be found in deep research. So if you're taking the time to integrate a full understanding of environmental, social, and governance issues in your investments, you will tend to end up with innovative and enduring solutions just by doing the work. So in this episode, we decided to spend some time with a significant, oft-n…
 
How have pension funds handled the last few months? We’re told markets are in turmoil. But they’re also just an inch away at all-time highs. Retail investors are racking up triple-digit returns, and seem to be making an attempt at necromancy with the bankrupt husk of Hertz, the rental car market’s onetime global leader. So we called Marcie Frost. S…
 
Black lives matter. And not just in the abstract. When given the proper space and support, Black investors can materially improve portfolio returns. But that almost never happens. In aggregate, only about 1% of the $70 Trillion managed by professional investors is overseen by minority-owned firms. On this episode of Free Money, we were fortunate to…
 
Good things are happening even as we endure a global crisis. A Mumbai-based startup has successfully reversed the aging process in rats, a previously unthinkable breakthrough. A new era in American spaceflight begins tomorrow, when two astronauts travel to the International Space Station onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket. It will be the first crewed…
 
Unless we recognize “Something has died, and something new is coming after it,” it could take until 2040 before humanity emerges from the aftermath of this pandemic. That comes from Tom Baruch, a prolific “clean tech” venture capitalist who has led investments resulting in 18 IPOs and 8 M&A transactions and now operates from his family office, Baru…
 
There is “a time bomb waiting to go off” in some American states. That’s according to Ben Oppenheim, PhD, a computational epidemiologist at Metabiota and our guest on this episode of Free Money. We spoke on the first of May, one day after the United States endured its highest death toll so far in this pandemic. And the outlook isn’t great. The plac…
 
It’s the end of the year. What have we spent all of this time talking about? Mostly what it means that pension funds, sovereign funds, endowments, and other asset owner institutions collectively manage roughly a third of all the money on earth. They tend to be globally diversified and invest with long time horizons, which aligns them with the publi…
 
Many institutional allocators are troubled by the self-evident lack of diversity in investment management. It’s easy to suggest that one fix that: cultivate more diverse talent! Build a more welcoming environment for new funds! But how exactly would one accomplish that? Many pensions made worthy attempts with emerging manager programs, which were m…
 
Does misogyny cost money? Yes, but not enough. Ken Fisher - who runs the eponymous Fisher Investments - has a long history of inappropriate invective. One particular instance earlier this month at an investment conference triggered an outcry and then outflows of about $3 Billion. That response took remarkably quick action from the asset owner commu…
 
Capital markets are an inherently queer place. Securities produce financial returns by manifesting intrinsic value. Or as some might say, “living their best life.” As America’s leading loft-based finance transsexual, the inherent gayness of creating shareholder returns this way has long been old news to me. But while Ashby and I were discussing que…
 
Fox News host David Webb accused American liberals of “turning climate change into their religion” last week. An interesting thought. Pascal’s Wager came to mind while Ashby and I were exploring it on the podcast. It’s a 17th century philosophical argument about the existence of god advanced by the French polymath Blaise Pascal. The gist: humans be…
 
If financial risk doesn’t confuse you, you’re not paying attention. That’s advisable. Market minutia gets treated like breaking news around the world, and people listen even though it’s “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as the late Jack Bogle told me in 2017 (and Shakespeare wrote a few hundred years earlier). B…
 
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