Automatically enrolling employees in retirement plans is a powerful tool for increasing savings. But Yale SOM’s James Choi and his coauthors find that once enrolled, people with lower incomes are more likely to remain at default contribution rates, even if they aren’t optimal.
Computer-based trading dominates markets, with a majority of trading activity in major markets happening without any human intervention. Robert Litterman, a pioneer of the quantitative investing approach, spoke with Yale Insights about how ruthless competition keeps the field changing and why he believes human judgment remains an essential component of any strategy.
Millions of government workers in the U.S. are relying on pension plans for retirement, and yet these plans are underfunded by at least $1 trillion. Asset manager Ranji Nagaswami ’86 argues that addressing this challenge is about more than assets and liabilities—we have to look at how funds are run and, critically, how they think about risk.
Investors put financial theory into practice every day. How efficient are markets? Can market participants advantageously match their capabilities to the right investments or leverage an information advantage? A panel of asset managers discusses how they see the theories playing out in real markets.
Asset classes have long been the building blocks of investment portfolios, but when apparently uncorrelated investments moved in sync during the financial crisis, it raised fundamental questions about whether diversified portfolios actually were diversified. Eugene Podkaminer ’01, vice president of capital markets research at Callan Associates, discusses whether there is a better way to understand the deep forces driving these results.
Impact investing, a growing niche in finance, seeks to marry strong financial returns with positive social impacts. That can mean investing in companies whose products improve the environment, or it can mean helping a startup find ways to positively contribute to the neighborhood where it’s based. Nancy Pfund ’82, founder and managing partner of DBL Investors, talks about the growth of the sector.
Shareholders own the corporation, so managers should maximize returns for shareholders, right? Corporate law expert Lynn Stout says that there are problems with this argument, starting with the fact that legally shareholders don't own a corporation. On top of that, she says, prioritization of shareholder value harms returns in the long run.
Market volatility has been at near-record levels in recent months, as investors respond to the uncertainty in Europe. Roger Ibbotson takes a historical perspective and argues that volatility, while frightening for individuals, can play an important role in the economy.
James Chanos, the founder and president of the hedge fund Kynikos Associates, is a noted short-seller. He was one of the early doubters of Enron and more recently questioned the sustainability of the housing boom. In these videos, Chanos discusses a series of issues critical to hedge funds and short-sellers. Chanos also presented a Leaders Forum lecture at Yale SOM on October 26, 2009.
Keith McCullough YC ’99, founder and CEO of Research Edge, left the hedge fund industry in 2007 to try something different. He is assembling a team of research analysts who will bring the day-to-day informational edge of a hedge fund not just to institutional or extremely wealthy clients but to retail investors as well. But is the idea of an open hedge fund an oxymoron?