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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

May 26, 2022

To carry on the trend of amazing guests on the show, today we welcome Antti Ilmanen. Antti is the co-head of the Portfolio Solutions Group at AQR, and the author of a couple of really impactful books that we highly recommend. His most recent is Investing Amid Low Expected Returns, and in today's chat, we get to hear all about the ideas contained in its pages, and the most important moments in his career that have shaped his philosophy. Antti received his PhD in Finance from the University of Chicago and has had a long career of working with high profile names that you might recognize from past episodes of this podcast. Our guest talks about the need for cultivating your patience in relation to your investment portfolio and shares many other great pieces of practical advice that you can implement today. We delve into some bad investment habits that Antti noted in his book and also touch on the usefulness of bonds, illiquid assets, trend following, and much more. Be sure to tune in today to hear all that this great mind has to offer.


Key Points From This Episode:


  • The power and limitations of using historical data for calculating expected returns. [0:04:17]
  • Balancing historical data with market-implied expected returns. [0:07:47]
  • Antti comments on shifting into higher expected return equity markets. [0:11:37]
  • The role of bonds in revenue generation and why to not give up on them completely. [0:13:00]
  • Locating the roots of the positive premium that Antti associates with bonds. [0:16:35]
  • The effect of illiquid assets on expected returns. [0:19:44]
  • Why recent historical returns in real estate are not indicative of future expected returns. [0:23:40]
  • The response from institutional investors to lower expected returns. [0:26:09]
  • Situating value's current dip in a broader historical picture. [0:29:57]
  • Some comments on the recent performance of rates, growth, and value. [0:33:39]
  • Today's expected value returns in comparison with other points in history. [0:37:19]
  • Antti unpacks the idea of trend following and its performance during the most recent crash. [0:39:53]
  • Defining the defensive style premium and its relation to quality. [0:41:26]
  • Antti differentiates carry and value strategies from each other. [0:45:55]
  • An explanation of the importance of being 'long-short' to capturing the premium. [0:51:24]
  • Locating the difference between alternative risk premia and alpha. [0:55:31]
  • Practical tips for investors to wait out periods of poor performance. [0:57:45]
  • The need for investors to be more fee-conscious in today's, low-return world. [1:01:35]
  • Antti shares about what he calls the investor's 'premier bad habit'. [1:02:33]
  • The impact of Ken French on Antti's career and philosophy. [1:05:29]
  • How Antti defines success at this point in his life and the priority he gives to balance. [1:07:33]