It was an eventful week: In their annual letter, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger revealed to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders what has made the company such a success. Chai Jing, an investigative journalist, released a documentary on the sources of China's air pollution, which almost instantaneously attracted 100 million viewers. Read more about the letter, the documentary, and the most debated dress on the planet in this latest edition of Weekend Reads.
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.
When I first took a serious look at bitcoin, I focused on its potential as a currency. It was hard not to notice the enthusiasm for bitcoin among a number of its proponents. But I balked nevertheless. I felt that bitcoin would have a common enemy in governments around the world, implying that it would be outlawed, burdened with onerous regulation, taxed, or otherwise butchered beyond recognition by policy.
This is the last Weekend Reads for Global Investors of the year. It seems a perfect time to look back and see what our readers have liked the most among the myriad links curated. I've grouped the top 11 links (the last two were a tie) around three major themes.
If value-weight market returns reflect a binding constraint on the collective investor experience, how long can an individual investor “beat the market” before he actually becomes the market? As it turns out, compound growth prevents skilled investors from beating the market forever.
Much like today’s most notorious activist investors, Warren Buffett made a name for himself by identifying market inefficiencies that could be exploited for the benefit of his investors and public shareholders. But unlike the corporate raiders of the 1980s, Buffett wasn’t out to tear companies down. In fact, he wanted to help build them up.
The economic recovery had been weaker than expected in many parts of the world. Apparently there is something else missing from the market scene: bears.
What is it about walking barefoot in the sand, or listening to the sound of the ocean, or diving beneath crashing waves that helps us instantly hit the reset button?
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