Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment ハードカバー – 2005/8/2
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The bestselling author of Pioneering Portfolio Management, the definitive template for institutional fund management, returns with a book that shows individual investors how to manage their financial assets.
In Unconventional Success, investment legend David F. Swensen offers incontrovertible evidence that the for-profit mutual-fund industry consistently fails the average investor. From excessive management fees to the frequent "churning" of portfolios, the relentless pursuit of profits by mutual-fund management companies harms individual clients. Perhaps most destructive of all are the hidden schemes that limit investor choice and reduce returns, including "pay-to-play" product-placement fees, stale-price trading scams, soft-dollar kickbacks, and 12b-1 distribution charges.
Even if investors manage to emerge unscathed from an encounter with the profit-seeking mutual-fund industry, individuals face the likelihood of self-inflicted pain. The common practice of selling losers and buying winners (and doing both too often) damages portfolio returns and increases tax liabilities, delivering a one-two punch to investor aspirations.
In short: Nearly insurmountable hurdles confront ordinary investors.
Swensen's solution? A contrarian investment alternative that promotes well-diversified, equity-oriented, "market-mimicking" portfolios that reward investors who exhibit the courage to stay the course. Swensen suggests implementing his nonconformist proposal with investor-friendly, not-for-profit investment companies such as Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. By avoiding actively managed funds and employing client-oriented mutual-fund managers, investors create the preconditions for investment success.
Bottom line? Unconventional Success provides the guidance and financial know-how for improving the personal investor's financial future.
"Mutual fund managers and marketers are not going to like David Swensen's thoughtful and intelligently opinionated analysis of their 'colossal failure' resulting from the fund industry's 'systemic exploitation of investors.' Coming from the mind and heart of one of America's most successful and integrity-laden money managers, this is a book that will change the way you think about mutual funds. It's high time for you to follow the elegantly simple advice he presents in this wonderful book."
-- John C. Bogle, founder and former CEO, The Vanguard Group
"Swensen is the best. Always a pioneer, his new book presents an approach to investing that is both brilliant and practical."
-- Barton Biggs, former Chief Global Strategist, Morgan Stanley
"A legendary institutional investor reveals the conflicts of interest that induce most financial services companies to provide inadequate products for the individual investor. Swensen's wise solution: Low cost, tax efficient, market-mimicking funds available either through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or from not-for-profit mutual fund companies. Unconventional Success does for the individual investor what Swensen's Pioneering Portfolio Management did for the institutional investor."
-- Burton G. Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street
"David Swensen is one of today's best endowment managers, if not the best. Unconventional Success is a perfect summary of what is wrong with a very important industry. This book should lead the reader to better investment decisions."
-- Michael F. Price, Managing Partner, MFP Investors
"Unfortunately, at the bottom of our industry -- money management -- there is a rather thick layer of muck, and Swensen's Unconventional Success rakes through this muck in spectacular fashion and great detail. It is the truth, the whole truth, and the very ugly truth. If you want to avoid the snares that lurk in money management, and save yourself lots of money, you must read it."
-- Jeremy Grantham, Chairman of GMO
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This book provides the knowledge necessary for investors to choose their asset allocations, and most importantly, to be able to justify their asset allocations to themselves. The author details which investments belong in a portfolio, and which do not, using a variety of factors. Understanding the justifications for their investment choices asset allocations will give investors the conviction to stay the course during bear markets, rather than sell in a panic.
The book gives you general ideas for a framework in evaluating assets to be included in your portfolio but, despite giving some general recommendations as to the portfolio composition, doesn't give a lot of specific advice. This seemingly disappoints some. However, if you understand why you have one asset or another it shouldn't be hard to decide what works best for your situation. For example, there has been a lot of discussion as to what duration treasury bonds the author suggests. If you understand that the bonds are designed to protect against deflation and panic, then you should be able to determine for yourself what the duration should be (e.g., if you're 85 years old you shouldn't be concerned about purchasing power in 30 years). Likewise, if you're 85 years old you probably want to have more bonds that the recommended portfolio since you shouldn't be as concerned about returns over the next 50 years. Managing a retirement account for an individual is different than managing a portfolio for a university with an almost unlimited time horizon. The author makes this clear in numerous ways, though the language may be more academic than most investing guides.
In this regard, some may find William Bernstein or Ric Edelman more accessible. David Swensen may be more insightful in parsing the various asset classes but they have a more folksy approach using more examples -- people often find induction works better than deduction. My advice would be to start with Edelman, move to Bernstein, and then read this book. The message isn't all that different, but ultimately your investing is a personal journey and the more ways of understanding the issues the better prepared you will be for tackling the job. Plus repetition never hurts!