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Do individual investors understand Social Security and its overseas counterparts?

Introduction

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,

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Three of the all-time top ten SSRN Econometrics: Math papers are from the MAFFIA

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

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Lessons from the “Flash Crash” regulatory fiasco

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

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How much do investors lose from conflicted advice?

Introduction

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,

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Swiss franc episode exposes risky investments

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:

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How have 2014 market prophets fared?

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

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Dubious digits: Is this data really that accurate?

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

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Index investing: “Confidence in the mathematics”

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

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Is “cherry picking” a factor in hedge fund performance?

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

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New online tool to demonstrate backtest overfitting

Introduction

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new online tool to demonstrate and analyze the phenomenon of backtest overfitting. It is available HERE. It was developed by researchers at the Scientific Data Management Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with contributions and suggestions from several other persons. A complete list of contributors

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