18 November 2022

Is there a difference between a Painting and a Crypto Token?

Don't misunderstand me. I went to any number of Art Museums and Exhibitions. Love to see great paintings of all ages. But looking at the latest Mondrian painting that just got auctioned for $US 51 Million I start to wonder.

What is really the difference between a painting like this one and a crypto token like Bitcoin? Why is the world so obsessed with originals when any decent art school graduate could replicate the Mondrian quite easily?

I don't have the answer, only the question. Maybe you readers make some comment that helps me understand this better.

30 September 2022

Beware of Financial Engineering!

When Times are good it is easy to forget Warren Buffett's famous dictum: "Derivatives are weapons of mass destruction". Recent turmoil in the UK Gilts market demonstrated that Financial Engineering (better called alchemy) has its limitations. And how much did the Pension trustees really understand when LDI was proposed as the magic solution? It just shows that the Quality of your Advisers is crucial for Investment success.

10 August 2022

Don't get suckered by 'Celebrities' pushing NFTs

 17 Celebrities Just Got Warning Letters About Shilling NFTs

1 May 2022

No reason to panic yet!

No reason to panic yet. While the short-term charts may appear to be horrible the long-term trend is still intact. This is a logarithmic chart of the S&P 500 and it shows that is still well within the uptrend. On the other hand, you can also see that there were quite long multi-year periods in the 1970s and between 2000 and 2012 where the Index moved sideways and the only return investors made derived from dividends.

18 April 2022

The Importance of keeping Fees low in Low-Return Investment Era


27 August 2021

Crypto "Currencies" - read this before you invest

Make sure you understand these terms if you really think you must not miss out on the crypto craze/mania: do you know what they mean? Hard Fork, chain activity, gas fees, burning mechanism, EIP-1559 upgrade,  deposit contract address, ledger device, staking contract, (crypto) wallet, proof-of-work vs proof-of-stake technology.
London burning! 100,000 ETH up in smoke after Ethereum upgrade

4 July 2021

Three Certainties in Life - Tax, Death and Fund Fees

Are you aware of the tremendous impact that fund fees (and fees for Private Banking or Independent Financial Advisers) have on the long-term performance of your Investments?

2 July 2021

How to measure the performance of your Financial Adviser

Most ordinary people - and I include the Rich and SuperRich in this category - are not really trained or qualified to manage their Financial Affairs, let alone their Investments. One would not expect them to as we all lead busy lives with family, work and other - maybe more interesting hobbies than checking on your portfolio every day.

As Financial Advisers handle the Investment affairs of the majority of people it is essential that their performance is checked in a professional and unbiased way.

21 June 2021

What is a 'Leading Wealth Manager?'

HSBC aims to be Asia's leading wealth manager in five years. I tell you what to make of this announcement.

12 October 2020

Never forget to check the fees on Active Equity Funds

Stable returns, but high costs. This headline caught our attention in today's edition of a German newspaper featuring a large Fidelity Fund focusing on German Equties. So when we checked Morningstar it said that the ongoing charge was a whopping 1.92% PER ANNUM

When you consider that this means that total fees accruing to Fidelity on this fund is around €20 Million (given the total fund size of just over 1000 Million) one is left with the question: is this amount really justified when at most 2 fund managers and a few analysts are needed to run this fund? Pay them a generous €300000 each and allow some ancillary expenses and one would have to assume that fees of 3-4 Million would be more than enough.

Delicate detail: as this fee does not explicitly state it is the TER - Total Expense Ratio - it could well be that the unlucky investor is hit with more fees.

And on top of that many - if not most investors - are charged on average an additional 1% by the Asset Manager or Private Banker that allocates their savings to that fund.

So does the performance justify investment in such an 'active' fund? Yes and No, not if you compare performance sinc 1990, yes if you just look at the past 10 years.

Does the performance justify high fees? As always, it depends. So speak to an independent analyst or consultant who has no financial interest in your decision and be aware that high charges are a serious drag on performance.