Practical analysis for investment professionals
30 August 2013

Weekend Reads for Advisers: Emerging Markets, Meditation, and Monetary Policy

Posted In: Weekend Reads

I don’t know about you, but to me it seems as if summer flew by. Here in the United States, Labor Day — the symbolic end of summer — is just around the corner. With that in mind, I thought I’d do something a little different this week: before I recap some of the most interesting content I’ve come across recently, here’s an ode to summer, in the form of a bit of musical memorabilia: Janis Joplin singing “Summertime” — live in 1969. And if Janis is not your thing, who can resist Ol’ Blue Eyes? Here Frank Sinatra sings “Summer Wind.” A few other classics: “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone, “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran, Nat King Cole’s “Those Lazy, Hazy. Crazy Days of Summer,” and “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Last, but not least: “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry (look at those lamb chop sideburns!).

Risk and Financial Innovation

  • Mark Thoma, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon and author of Economist’s View blog, has an interesting post — “Rethinking Investment Risk” — that cites a new paper, “Speculation and Risk Sharing with New Financial Assets,” published this month in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. “Financial innovation,” he writes, “is supposed to reduce risk — in theory, at least. Yes, new financial instruments based on the housing market helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. But in the abstract, those same instruments have the potential to spread risk more evenly throughout the marketplace by making it possible to trade debt more extensively, rather than having it concentrated in a relatively few hands. Now a paper published by MIT economist Alp Simsek makes the case that even in theory, financial innovation does not lower portfolio risk. Instead, it raises portfolio risks by creating situations in which parties sit on opposing sides of deep disagreements about the value of certain investments.” (Economist’s View)

Behavioral Finance

  • Wisdom of the crowds? Not always. In “Sometimes 1,000 Heads Aren’t Better Than One,” Cass Sunstein cautions that “crowds may have much less wisdom when their members are listening to one another. In such cases, we can end up with forms of herding, or social cascades, that reflect serious biases.” (Bloomberg)


Emerging Markets

Aptitude vs. Skill vs. Genes vs. Luck


  • In “Meditation Tips for Advisors,” Deena Katz shares insights from a mediation retreat she went on with her husband and business partner, Harold Evensky. (Financial Planning)
  • My colleague, Jason Voss, CFA, author of The Intuitive Investor, has also blogged about meditation. See: “Leading from the Center: Dalio, Hagan, and Freeman on Meditation and Leadership.” He also interviewed Ng Kok Song, adviser and chair of global investments at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), about meditation. In this short video, Ng discusses in detail one way to meditate, plus meditation’s benefits for practitioners: stress relief, greater clarity of thought, and a greater sense of ethical purpose. Additionally, he considers the possibility that meditation may be one answer for how to avoid the errors of judgment highlighted by behavioral finance. (Enterprising Investor)



The Financial Crisis


And Now For Something Completely Different

Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

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About the Author(s)
Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster was a content director on the professional learning team at CFA Institute and host of the Take 15 Podcast. She is the former managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Lauren spent nearly a decade on staff at the Financial Times as a reporter and editor based in the New York bureau, followed by freelance writing for Barron’s and the FT. Lauren holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

1 thought on “Weekend Reads for Advisers: Emerging Markets, Meditation, and Monetary Policy”

  1. Business Ben says:

    Superb links as always, Lauren. I’ll be busy for a while brushing up on some of my online financial reading.

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