The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 27

In my view, these were my best posts written between August and October 2013:

I completed the last of my “Manager” series, on being an investment risk manager:

The Education of an Investment Risk Manager, Part VI

This is the bizarre story of how I pulled a win out of an impossible situation against my own management, and a major life insurer.

The Education of an Investment Risk Manager, Part VII

On the time that I correctly modeled a complex structured security, and the client wouldn’t listen to reason

The Education of an Investment Risk Manager, Part VIII

The time that I did a competitive study of the most aggressive life insurers, and how it did not dissuade my client’s management team from trying to imitate them.

The Education of an Investment Risk Manager, Part IX (The End)

A bevy of little tales about odd investment tasks that I succeeded with, and how many of them did no good for my clients.

Ben Graham Did Not Give Up on Value Investing in Theory

With quotations and links to the source documents, I show what Ben Graham really said in the article commonly cited to say that he gave up on value investing.

On Avoiding Con Men

A summary article of many of my prior articles on how to avoid being defrauded.

On Alternative Investments

Alternative investments are like regular investments, but they are less liquid, more opaque, and have higher fees.

Should You Buy Shares of Stock or Not?

Where I answer Mark Cuban the one time he tweeted to me.  Really!

Quiet Companies Are Better

Why companies should let their filings with the SEC speak for them, and abandon the media.

Two is Company, Three is a Crowd

On game theory, and how it affects politics and civil wars.

It Works, But It Doesn’t Work All The Time

On how good investment theories fail for periods of time, and then come roaring back when most people know they will never work again.

Value Investing when Debt Levels are High

On seeking a margin of safety, when very little seems safe

A New Look at Endowment Investing

I interact with a groundbreaking paper on endowment investing — a very good paper, and I give some ways that it could be improved.

Less is More

Do you want to do better in investing?  Make fewer decisions, and make them count.

Taleb Versus Reality

In which I take on Nassim Taleb’s views on how to reduce risk in investing, and show which half of his valid, and which half are fantasy.

To Young Analysts

What I contributed to Tom Brakke’s project for young investment analysts — what do I think they should know?

The Rules, Part XLIX

In institutional portfolio management, the two hardest things to do are to buy higher than your last buy, and sell lower than your last sale.

The Rules, Part L

Countries are firms that produce claims on assets and goods

The Rules, Part LI

65% of the time, the rules work.  30% of the time, the rules don’t work. 5% of the time, the opposite of the rules works.

The Rules, Part LII

ge + E/P > ilongest bond

The Rules, Part LIII

The tech market washes out about every eight years or so.  The broad market, which is a more robust beast, washes out far less frequently.  My question: are these variants of the same phenomenon?

The Rules, Part LIV

When do employee and corporate incentives line up?  Ideally, incentive schemes should reward people with a fraction of the additional profitability that resulted from the additional work that they did.  Difficulties: measurement impossible in many cases, people could receive a bonus when the firm is not profitable, neglects synergies (both positive and negative).

The Rules, Part LV

Financial intermediation reduces volatility.  In bull markets, demand for financial intermediaries drops.

The Rules, Part LVI

Leverage and risk eventually transfer to the least regulated

The Rules, Part LVII

The more that markets are united through derivatives, the more systemic risk is created.