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48 Posts

Book Review: Worldly Philosopher

Book Review: Worldly Philosopher

This beautifully written biography of German-born economist Albert O. Hirschman is well worth reading for its insights into a man who experienced the political events that gave birth to today’s world, saw the flawed ideologies that got us to where we are now, and saw how to identify and avoid those ideologies that might lead us astray in the future. Read more

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The Work You Love

The Work You Love

Whether the answer to “What is the work you can’t not do?” represents a 5-degree shift in career direction or a 90-degree change, it’s no reason to avoid asking yourself the question altogether. So, what’s the work you can’t not do? Read more

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Weekend Reads for Investors: “The Most Crowded Trade”

Weekend Reads for Investors: The Most Crowded Trade

The economic backdrop figures prominently in the chatter among investment strategists of late as they debate the sustainability of the “decoupling” of the US economy from sluggishness in the rest of the world. Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists have called the decoupling trade — long US stocks and the dollar — “the most crowded trade in the world.” As US stocks hover near all-time highs, those with a contrarian bent may be receptive to the latest missive from Joe Calhoun. In “Is It Time to Zig?” he suggests investors might want to look outside of the United States for opportunities. Read more

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13F Watch: In Defense of Active Share

13F Watch: In Defense of Active Share

The poor performance of active management has been well chronicled of late but the active fund management industry is not going down without a fight. Apologists have been quick to point to artificially low interest rates as one factor dragging down the collective returns of stock pickers. Index huggers — those managers with low tracking error funds and almost no hope of outperforming their benchmark after fees — are also to blame. In response, active managers are pointing to their “active share” — a measure of how much a portfolio’s holdings differ from those of its benchmark — and research that suggests funds with the highest active share do indeed beat their benchmarks. A review of just-filed quarterly 13F reports reveals that some of the most prominent fund managers truly embrace their role as active portfolio managers. Read more

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Is the Islamic Finance Industry a Success or Failure?

Is the Islamic Finance Industry a Success or Failure?

Since 1975, when the first Islamic commercial bank was established in Dubai, Islamic finance has come a long way. Its global assets are now estimated to be around US $1.5 trillion across the banking sector, capital markets, and takaful, or Islamic insurance. Given the available track record, how do informed observers characterize the development of this most prominent form of faith-based finance? Read more

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