Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roddy Boyd and degree of difficulty

My first job in financial markets was working for a true genius. It was a tough gig.

Even tougher was that I was the bank and insurance analyst - and banks and insurance companies are black boxes for almost everyone and dimly lit rooms of mirrors for an accounting junky. There are some people who do it really well but it isn't easy. The first 150 or so posts on this blog are about financial institutions - and whilst I can look back on those and be proud I sometimes wonder why I contributed so much intellectual effort to an area where exceptional returns are so difficult.

One of the big changes when we founded Bronte was that we were going to stick to stuff that was relatively easy. There are no prizes in investing for degree of difficulty. If the story is really complicated we are generally not that interested. Simplicity has worked for us too. Our returns have been more than adequate.

However I still admire people who are prepared to tackle the really hard financial problems - to do the difficult stuff. There are no prizes for degree of difficulty but we can admire it.

And so I lead you to Roddy Boyd writing about Brookfield Asset Management. BAM is as black-box as they come - and peering into this one requires discipline and hard work and all you see is through that glass darkly.

If you, like me, are attracted to feats of high-skill financial journalism read Roddy's piece. Darn good fun too.



Anonymous said...

And donate!

Anonymous said...

What's the toughest bit working for a genius?

Clark said...

Hi John,

Are there other writings of Ole Andreas Halvorsen online? I'm interested in learning more about analyzing FIs. I remember one of the earliest posts I read from you was your pieces on RBS (the GSE modeling ones were too hard for me..). I'm hoping to read something like those.
any recommendations?


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