Show Me The Money!

I was reminded of the 1996 film Jerry Maguire recently when I was advising a client. It starred Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr as football agent and client. If you haven’t seen it you won’t recognise Cuba’s catchphrase above. As an investor it’s a question I always pose when assessing any opportunity. “Yes, perhaps I can see what you are saying, but show me the money!” Often it is nowhere to be seen and in many ways it is never what it seems.

Who Want’s to be a Millionaire?

Like many of our clients, Lesley & I could say we are millionaires. Having £1,000,000 or more, was never a dream as 10 year olds as it seemed impossibly out of reach, but approaching age 60, working since we were in our late teens and long-term inflation have all contributed to our life savings.

However £1,000,000 today is the equivalent of just £70,000 in 1971, because according to the Bank of England inflation has been running at an average rate of 5.7% over the intervening period. Their maths seems wrong somehow, but some of us do remember an average annual inflation rate of 7.5% and mortgage rates of 15% per year.

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Goodhart’s Law

Investment Advisers will soon be mandated to take Environmental, Social and Governance factors into account when recommending investments. I will tell you now, the rules will prove to be as expensive to comply with, as they will be unfit for purpose. The new rules will fall well short of what the legislation is trying to achieve. Currently although there are many ESG measures out there, we have found no ESG benchmarks that we can trust and that are not open to abuse.

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Charles Goodhart

Have you bought an ESG friendly portfolio or fund already? Whoever sold it to you probably has never heard of Goodhart’s Law. They haven’t considered that the measures they apply have been gamed.

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