Quote of the Day: Pragmatism Needed!!

Chatting with a client this morning I found myself metaphorically using the weather to describe why we’re rotating to a new “core allocation” that we believe to be more resilient during turbulent financial conditions than was our previous mix of assets. I said that my job is akin to that of a weatherman; to, in essence, determine whether it’s smart to venture outside without, say, a jacket or a good strong umbrella. You know what I mean…

Speaking of weather as a metaphor for markets, I, ironically — given his parting words — just now finished Benoit Mandelbrot’s insightful and utterly enlightening book The Misbehavior of Markets. I find the following to be applicable to the economist, to the regulator/central banker, and to the investment practitioner as well:

“…pragmatism is needed in financial theory. It is the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.” In finance, I believe the conventional models and their more recent “fixes” violate that oath. They are not merely wrong; they are dangerously wrong. They are like a shipbuilder who assumes that gales are rare and hurricanes myth; so he builds his vessel for speed, capacity, and comfort — giving little thought to stability and strength. To launch such a ship across the ocean in typhoon season is to do serious harm. Like the weather, markets are turbulent. We must learn to recognize that, and better cope.” 


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