Essays

Gently sceptical thoughts on investment and the wider world of finance – previously on my Medium publication The Patient Investor, now in the ETF Insider magazine.

Widening the net: extending passive strategies beyond the classic market cap index fund

Thoughts on mixing market cap and equal weighted index funds to capture shifts in market sentiment

Quantifying human fallibility: factor investing and the enduring power of the value strategy

Value investing works because of our chronic tendency to expect growth shares to grow forever. Do ‘smart beta’ funds allow investors to take advantage without picking stocks themselves?

John Bogle’s Platonic vision

On the sublime simplicity of the Vanguard founder’s absolute faith in the humble index fund

Invested: How Three Centuries of Stock Market Advice Reshaped Our Money, Markets, and Minds: a review

A fascinating new book shows how financial writers have nurtured — and exploited —investors’ perennial hopes of windfall gains

The central banks and the view from nowhere

Reflections on our expectations that those who are part of the system should be able to control the system

Interrogating finance: applying the Socratic method to the markets

Thoughts on how the forensic mode of enquiry employed by Socrates on the streets of classical Athens can inform better decision making today

Reconsidering risk: restoring the classic distinction between what can be measured and what can’t

Reflections on John Kay and Mervyn King’s forensic examination of the old idea of ‘radical uncertainty’

On power and insecurity: a portrait of Crassus, ‘the first tycoon’

Peter Stothard’s portrait of the Roman financier Marcus Licinius Crassus is a study in the insecurities that attend great wealth, then and now

Hume’s humility: coming to terms with the limits of what we can know

A visit to Edinburgh prompts reflections on a philosopher whose insight into the limits of knowledge would have made him a rather good observer of the financial world