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  1. Wednesday, August 14th, 2019
    the future of analysis

    In a previous posting,the research puzzle | The posting, “mind the gaps,” was written after my attendance (and presentation) at the 2019 CFA Institute annual conference in London. I wrote that when it comes to manager research, one “field of opportunity is the broad category of intelligence analysis, including innovations and improvements in the processes of investigation and decision making.”  The same statement could be applied just as easily to other functions within the investment world.

    I was reminded of it when reading “The Future of Analysis,”CIA | The paper may be downloaded here. which was written by Joseph Gartin, the deputy associate director of learning for the Central Intelligence Agency.  It opens with this sentence, “The field of intelligence analysis is at an inflection point.”

    As I read it, I was struck by how well Gartin’s paper — about “providing an advantage in the planning and execution of ... continues

  2. Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
    pay to play

    Depending on the part of the investment world that you’re involved in, “pay to play” can mean a variety of different things.  At the core of most of the situations is a payment for access to and potential influence of those charged with stewarding capital of behalf of others.  A variety of intermediaries can be involved; in each of the cases below, asset managers play a role, as do other parties.

    Let’s start with investment conferences.  The attendees at some may be in the “institutional” realm, investing on behalf of pension plans, foundations, endowments, etc.  Other conferences are aimed at the financial advisors who work with individual investors.

    Many of the conferences are largely or completely pay to play.  The agendas are packed with those who have bought sponsorships, which include the right to present their ideas (read: products and services) to the attendees — and their wishes can also shape the other topics that are deemed to ... continues

  3. Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
    mind the gaps

    According to Wikipedia, “mind the gap” is “an audible or visual warning phrase issued to rail passengers to take caution while crossing the horizontal, and in some cases vertical, spatial gap between the train door and the station platform.”  If you’ve visited London, you’ve undoubtedly had the phrase imprinted on your brain for some time, given its ubiquity there.

    Fittingly, attending and speaking at the CFA Institute Annual Conference in London last week got me thinking about all kinds of gaps.

    Sessions throughout the event — the theme of which was “disruption” — dealt with some of the biggest gaps that we face today.  Climate change, sustainability, and ESG were a heavy focus throughout (including being addressed by Prince Charles in his video message to the attendeesYouTube | Here is that message.).  Geopolitical issues and demographic trends got attention too.

    A decade after the financial crisis, there remains a large ... continues

  4. Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
    watching you

    I was going to call this piece “time and motion,” but then I realized that I had already used that title before.  In a 2009 posting,the research puzzle | More than a decade ago! I led off with a quote from The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor.  I didn’t spend too much time on him or his work; I was in a hurry to bewail the dangers of multitasking and the diversion of attention to smart phones, a trend that was supercharged by the opening of Apple’s App Store nine months earlier.AppleInsider | The date that happened was July 10, 2008.

    That, of course, was only the beginning; those issues have intensified in the decade since then.  And with each new wave of technological progress, there are new challenges and dilemmas as to the implications of their use.

    Before considering some of them, let’s return to Taylor.  Peter Drucker credited him with being “the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of ... continues

  5. Thursday, March 28th, 2019
    a chemistry is performed

    In a 2014 profile of Elizabeth Holmes, she began what Ken Auletta termed a “comically vague” description of what happened inside of a Theranos blood-testing machine with the words, “A chemistry is performed.”New Yorker | The quote from Holmes: “A chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel.”  You know the rest of the tale by now, thanks to the outstanding journalistic efforts of John CarreyrouWall Street Journal | His reporting at the WSJ broke the story wide open, and he later recounted the story in his book, Bad Blood. and an ever-expanding number of media projects about Holmes and Theranos.

    Indeed, a chemistry was performed, a powerful reaction among elements that included dreams of venture-capital riches, hopes for a scientific breakthrough, a heroine narrative, the cultivation ... continues