Insights on markets, emergent trends, history, innovation, risk management, global economics, strategy, policy, and other topics that catch our attention. Inspired by ongoing research, conversations and events. Written and edited by Osbon Capital Management and published every Thursday morning.

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2024 will bring more positive novel surprises. New years always do. In 2023, it was the dramatic acceleration in AI, which touches nearly every industry, and the early stages of an answer to the obesity epidemic with GLP-1s. Here is a list of what’s on our minds going into 2024.

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Muppets get no respect

By now, Greg Smith’s resignation letter from Goldman Sachs, delivered via the New York Times op-ed page, ranks high in the pantheon of dramatic stage exits. His message about Goldman culture was straightforward and distressing:  “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off.” I spent 20 years in big Wall Street firms. So did I see…

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Risk: What’s worth worrying about?

You know the feeling. You hear noisy headlines trumpeting the latest Default, Plunge, Scandal, or Imminent Crisis. Your heart rate quickens. You wonder if you’re in danger. You feel, depending on your personality, paralyzed by doubt, or compelled to do something…anything. That white-knuckle feeling is about investment risk and uncertainty. But what is risk, really? The definition you choose has a big impact…

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Don’t confuse investing and gambling

A friendly discussion about whether markets are efficient can easily turn into a heated debate. There are strong feelings on both sides. What it all boils down to is whether an investor or money manager can use available information — including earnings reports, economic indicators, financial ratios, historical price patterns, technology claims, analyst ratings, political news, phases of the moon,…

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Pimco: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

Give credit to the active investment management powerhouses. Having watched more than a trillion dollars flow out of mutual funds and into exchange traded funds (ETFs), the largest active mutual fund managers had to do something. Several have taken the leap and joined the ETF party. Pimco’s Bill Gross, the eponymous Bond King, is the latest to embrace the ETF structure. Is…

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What’s best for the client?

When you create a wealth management practice from the ground up, as I did in 2005, you must make many choices about how to structure, staff, and operate the business. It’s been a complex process building Osbon Capital, made considerably easier by asking one question over and over: What’s best for the client?

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How often do you check your portfolio?

The answer to this question can tell you a lot about a person. For many, it is “Always!”  Constant market checkers mentally recalculate their net worth every few hours and look for minute-by-minute trends to inform their next trades. For others, it is “Never!” Hoping to find bliss in ignorance, never-checkers leave their assets to fend for themselves. I suggest…

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Blaming umbrellas for the rain

Can a candidate buy an election? Or can a Super PAC make the purchase for him? All of the media attention on election spending had me wondering if this is a nomination process or simply an auction. But does spending by candidates and PACs actually predict success? And what does this have to do with investing? Here’s what I’ve learned.

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Charts look ominous, but can we trust them?

My son Max is a superstar in the making at Bloomberg, and therefore has access to the latest market intelligence 24/7. When I got a note from him last week about a potential market disaster looming on the horizon, it gave me a chill.

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What I write and why I write it

At Osbon Capital, we continuously seek to improve every aspect of the business. Most recently we’ve been reworking our web site to bring our index-only philosophy to the fore and make our extensive library of articles easier to use and peruse.

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