Conventional wisdom says that Wall Street helped build America. But what if the role of Wall Street has changed in recent times. That is the argument that financial columnist Bob Veres makes in a recent article entitled, The Case Against Wall Street.
In this excellently written article, Bob takes on the role of a prosecutor trying to convince an imaginary jury that Wall Street has become a drag on the American economy and consumers. Bob argues that Wall Street has been artificially inter positioning itself between those who have capital and those who need it and charging ever increasing and unnecessary tolls along the way.
Bob provides a convincing argument that Wall Street has been able to maintain this “cartel” by unduly influencing regulators and lawmakers through its outsize political contributions and a relationship that has become too cozy with the regulators.
On the program this week, I start the program with a quick summary of 2015 and then move into a review and comments about Bob’s article.
Here is the show from this week. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you to Justin Siddhu, my great producer for an awesome year. And of course, thank you to all of my listeners over the years who make it all worthwhile. I hope that all of you enjoy a healthy and prosperous 2016!
Investing is often portrayed as a complicated and mysterious process. It certainly is confusing for most people to understand what is going on. Wall Street is notorious for speaking a different language that no one outside of the club understands. In the wake of the recent financial crisis, we found out that Wall Street titans also claim they do not know what is going on either. That was their defense when grilled by regulators and politicians who were looking for blame. They honestly said, we really did not understand the products being developed by our own firms. We did not realize how risky they were and so on.
No wonder people will throw up their hands and say, I don’t get it. Well, I have a different way at looking at things. I tend to ignore what Wall Street says and simply focus on what they do. What I mean by that is the following. They can certainly spin a complicated tale about how talented, experienced and good they are, but that is worthless to me. Instead, I focus on something more relevant to my needs. How did they do delivering on their promise of beating financial markets?
One can talk a good game, but ultimately, you have to play. In Wall Street’s case, active management is their promise of beating the market. Unfortunately, the record is abysmal for the mighty on Wall Street. Study after study concludes that active management after taking into account their expenses fails to deliver on its singular promise for existing. They fail to beat the market on a risk-adjusted and after cost basis. People can spin the tail, provide excuses for why they came up short, but in the end… the story is the same. Active management fails to stand up against market rates of return.
On the program this week I spend time chatting about:
Segment One – Failure of Active Management
Segment Two – The incredible pay of active managers
Segment Three – A case study of active management failure