Weatherproofing Bonds

When it comes to managing climate risk, what is the wise investor to do?  Low-carbon investing is one possibility. We recently interviewed Marielle de Jong, head of fixed -income quant research at Amundi Asset Management.  She said, “The purpose of low-carbon investing is not to penalize companies that produce a lot of CO2. The question is whether the production line is carbon efficient, whether there is no unnecessary spoilage. That is why the selection criterion is the intensity, the tonnage of CO2 per added value, and not the tonnage itself.” She cautioned, “It is a complex task to measure CO2  […]

Weatherproofing Equities

Risks in finance are many and varied. How can a forward-looking researcher choose which areas need the most attention? We recently interviewed Patrick Bolton, professor of business at Columbia University and asked what led to his interest in hedging climate risk. “I am interested in long-term investing, especially how large long-term institutional investors should think about the risk-return trade-offs they face,” he said. “Long-term investors have to think harder about risks that do not yet appear material to short-term investors. One category of such risks is what is now commonly referred to as environmental, social and governance factors, or in […]

Pain of Payment for … the First Date

This concludes the interview with Professor Avni Shah regarding consumer behaviour and the connection we feel to the stuff we buy. And, possibly, to the people we buy it for. Click here to read the first half of the interview. Q: Did you look at other aspects of the connection? I said, let’s see how long this effect persists. I got data for the years 2004 to 2013 from an alumni association. What I was interested in is how alums make donations: by cheque versus card. Cheque feels more painful because you have to write out that amount. I wondered […]

Pain of Payment for … Coffee

“Me? Why do I have to pay for the falafels? I barely have two dollars to rub together,” said Morty. Tuesday is the two-for-one special at our local take-out Mediterranean shop. “Take it from me—you’ll enjoy them more!” I said, tapping the article I had just been reading in the New York Times. In a nutshell, it reported on new research in the Journal of Consumer Research that said having some difficulty in payment increased the consumer’s connection with the item purchased. He grabbed the section to read while we wolfed down our falafels.  “You’ve gotta interview these people,” he […]

Conference Call Tones. Part 2

Click here to visit Part 1. Interview with S. McKay Price, continued. Q: In the introduction to your paper on textual analysis of conference call tones, you describe a 2012 conference call in which David Einhorn grilled the management team of Herbalife, thereby causing the shares to fall 20 percent in price. Did you run the transcript of this conference call through your call tone algorithm, and if so, was it the most negative sample in the set?  2012 was not in our sample period so we did not specifically create tone measures for that Herbalife call.  Although I suppose […]

Conference Call Tones. Part 1

“Spin,” said Morty. “It’s all about spin.” He pointed to the web interface where he was listening to a certain equipment manufacturing company try to explain anomalies in their reported expenses. Like hyenas, the analysts were picking apart the footnotes. Turning to me, Morty said, “These scoundrels are masters of Orwellian doublespeak,” and then he exited the call. About a year later, I chanced upon research that looks into actual word usage during earnings conference calls. Three authors, Paul Brockman, Xu Li, and S. McKay Price, examined transcripts from nearly three thousand such calls. One of the authors is interviewed […]

Investing in Emotional Assets

When Morty discovered my vacation plans this year included Cremona, that put a bee in his bonnet. Did I know it was the home of the famous Stradivarius workshop? Was I going there to check out violins? Yes and no, I said. My preference was to cycle along the Po valley and sip espresso near the Zodiac Tower. “Maybe you should think twice about your visit,” Morty said. “I happen to have it on good authority that beautiful collectibles can be a solid component of your portfolio.” “Please Morty, don’t make wild-eyed guesses about other people’s money,” I said. Especially […]

Interview with William Bernstein: The Paradox of Wealth

I could hear the laughter from down the hall. “Cheeseburger,” cried Morty. Cheeseburger? I saw he was holding a back issue of the Financial Analysts Journal. (It’s no secret that we fall behind on our reading here during the busy months.) “You’ve gotta interview this guy,” declared Morty. “Anyone who can work the word ‘cheeseburger’ into the pages of this esteemed journal… well… he likely has something interesting to say.” William Bernstein did indeed have some very interesting things to say. The interview below is the vegan-friendly edition, though; if you want to see ‘cheeseburger’ in print you’ll have to […]

Risk Volunteers: Two Profiles

While attending the Toronto chapter of the Global Association of Risk Professionals meetings, we at TextMedic notice a few dedicated volunteers doing everything from handing out name badges to introducing guest speakers. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg—these folks also do a lot of unseen labour such as holding organizational meetings and composing e-mail broadcasts and twisting arms of reticent (and busy) subject matter experts. Thanks to the local chapter, TextMedic has reported in the past on live events about things like pension plan risk, a low volatility equity strategy, and risk data aggregation and reporting. Since National […]

Interview with Philippe Jorion: “Is There a Cost to Transparency?”

In early 2013 the CFA Institute announced Philippe Jorion and Rajesh K. Aggarwal won the Graham and Dodd scroll award from Financial Analysts Journal for their paper, “Is There a Cost to Transparency?” An in-depth interview with Professor Jorion appears in the June 2013 issue of The Analyst, the member bulletin of the CFA Society Toronto.  Below are a few of the statements from the course of the interview. Q: What is your principal area of research? PJ:  Ever since I discovered the field of finance, I have had long-standing interests in topics such as portfolio construction and risk management.  […]