An Economist at Last — Life Changes for David

I started my business career as an actuary.  For an actuary, though, I had an unusual background — I wasn’t a math or a statistics major, I was an economics major, though admittedly, one with a lot of math.  You can’t get through the Ph.D. courses in econometrics without a lot of math.  In my business career, I’ve put my economics background to use, and added to it through studying finance.  Now, I studied much of the finance and economics of risk literature back in grad school, and developed a healthy dislike for MPT, the CAPM, and suchlike.

I grew up in a home where my self-taught mother used her head and picked stocks.  She did it quite well, too, and continues to do so today.  I figured that I could do it too, and over the past fifteen years, have done so.  Perhaps my major theme would be “hunt for value, and don’t be afraid to have a portfolio that looks weird.”  My studies of finance in my post-academic days were practical in nature, analyzing ways of beating the market, or reducing risk, realizing that any strategy can become overused, and useless.

After leaving my former employer, I’ve done a bunch of things — writing, consulting, etc.  Now it is time to focus.  I have taken a job as Chief Economist and Director of Research for Finacorp Securities, based in Irvine, California.  Their main focus is serving the investment needs of municipalities.  I have three main tasks:

  • Publish research that encourages clients to trade with us.
  • Provide research for internal staff and clients, enabling staff to serve clients better.
  • Build an asset management franchise for our clients around my value investing, and bond investing.

Beyond that, aid in the management of the firm where possible.  Now, I’m not changing locations; I am still based near Baltimore.  What I do can be done from anywhere, so long as I can connect to the Internet.
I have already produced a draft version of a newsletter for our institutional clients.  I am making preparations to offer equity asset management services to clients.  What form that will take is still open.

That said, it is interesting at this point in my life to finally have the word “Economist” in my job title, as well as “Chief.”  In one sense, this dovetails well into my interests, as those who read my blog will know.  I write about the intersection of macroeconomics and investing.  That’s what I do.  It allows me to keep my interests broad, while solving a wide array of practical problems.  I have sometimes said that I am an investment omnivore.  That’s not quite true, but I like to wander across the investment wilderness, and gather disparate data, gaining good conclusions about the total investment landscape.

Anyway, that is what I am up to now.  To the extent that our newsletter or investment services might be open to individuals, I will let you all know.  I thank you all deeply for your support of me.

PS — I may be on FOX Business Wednesday between 12 and 2PM Eastern.  This is uncertain at present.  We will see.