Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Investment Advice from the Talmud - Alpha

Some ancient wisdom on asset allocation:

SOURCE: Gibson, Asset Allocation, 4th Ed. (2008)

Rab, who lived in the third century, noticed the ears of corn being fanned by the breeze, and declared "However much you may fan, it is better to devote oneself to commerce" (ibid.). On the other hand, it is also said, "A man who does not possess a piece of land is not fit to be called a man" (ibid.); and another Rabbi adopts a middle course by advising "Let every man divide his money into three parts, and invest a third in land, a third in business, and a third let him keep by him in reserve" (B. M. 42a).
SOURCE: Ancient Jewish Proverbs, by Abraham Cohen, [1911]

Compare this with the 2008 Yale Endowment Fund's reported targets (Yale is the undisputed intellectual leader of institutional investing in the US, if not the world):



Translating Yale into the Talmud buckets, it has 67% in stocks, 4% in bonds, and 29% in real estate. This looks unbalanced, and 2008 showed it was. But I doubt that Yale's Swenson or other lemmings in the institutional investing world learned that lesson.

NOTE: Sorry for the three posts on the same day - I have been writing these over the last month but only had the time to post today.

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