Hedge funds are a boutique segment of the investing world, usually marketed to large institutions and wealthy individuals (not to the general public). As the name implies, many of these funds combine a somewhat more risky overall strategy, operated by highly professional traders, with a relatively safer “hedge.” Together, these two balancing strategies seek overall
Continue reading Are hedge funds losing their edge?
As we emphasized in earlier Math Drudge blogs (May 2014 and July 2014), individual investors are not very well equipped, and certainly not very effective, in managing their own investments, or in making other key financial decisions.
U.S. 401(k) accounts, and their equivalents elsewhere, are a particular problem. According to the 2014 DALBAR report,
Continue reading Do individual investors understand Social Security and its overseas counterparts?
The Social Science Research Network’s Econometrics: Mathematical Methods and Programming eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts in the area of mathematical methods applied to econometrics. The journal maintains a list of the All Time Top Ten Papers of the journal, based on total download counts from the journal’s SSRN website from January 2, 1997
Continue reading Three of the all-time top ten SSRN Econometrics: Math papers are from the MAFFIA
On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would press criminal charges against Mr. Navinder Singh Sarao, a 36-year-old small-time British day-trader. He is being blamed for nothing less than causing the “Flash Crash” of May 6, 2010, the second largest point swing (1010.14 points) and the biggest one-day point decline
Continue reading Lessons from the “Flash Crash” regulatory fiasco
Investors worldwide turn to financial advisors when making key decisions such as whether or how they should convert an employer-based retirement account (such as a “401(k)” account in the U.S., an “RRSP” in Canada, “Super” in Australia) to an individually-directed retirement account (such as an individual retirement account or “IRA” in the U.S.). However,
Continue reading How much do investors lose from conflicted advice?
A Swiss chocolate surprise
The surprise move of the Swiss National Bank on 15 January to abandon its cap on the euro exchange range sent shock waves through global markets and exposed numerous instances of investment funds and trading operations that had made too-risky bets in the currency markets. Among the casualties are the following:
Continue reading Swiss franc episode exposes risky investments
Predicting the future has never been easy, but the standard today is the same as in ancient times: does the prediction come true? As an ancient Hebrew author wrote, “When a prophet speaketh, … if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, … the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid
Continue reading How have 2014 market prophets fared?
When numbers of any sort are presented, whether in mathematics, science, business, government or finance, the default assumption is that the data presented are reasonably reliable to the last digit presented. Thus, if a light bulb is listed as using 3.14 watts, then its actual usage is presumably between 3.13 and 3.15 watts, and certainly
Continue reading Dubious digits: Is this data really that accurate?
One central difficulty of investing, both in the U.S. and internationally, is that most individual investors are not sufficiently well-informed on financial matters (or else are not sufficiently disciplined in their approach), and thus often make less-than-optimal choices in managing their long-term savings. The 2014 DALBAR report, for instance, concluded that over the past 20
Continue reading Index investing: “Confidence in the mathematics”
Challenging times for hedge funds
Recently attention has been drawn to the fact that the advantage enjoyed by hedge funds over more conventional investment vehicles has been eroding. For example, the annualized “excess return” of the HFRI equity hedge fund index (adjusted for certain factors, 60 month rolling average) has declined from approximately 15% in
Continue reading Is “cherry picking” a factor in hedge fund performance?