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

Mar 16, 2023

When it comes to the world of investing, there are many options available to consumers. The range of financial products available can be overwhelming and confusing. Additionally, investing is not only about the rate of return but also about what you are investing for and why. To help us unpack this complicated subject is Charles Ellis, a highly respected investment consultant and founder of Greenwich Associates, a strategy firm focused on financial institutions. He is also a famous author and has written several books on the topic of finance and investment, such as Winning the Loser's Game which provides readers with insights into making the best financial decisions in an increasingly unpredictable market. In our conversation, we discuss why indexing is the better investment option, how the investment space has changed over time, tailoring your investment decisions to suit your needs and desires, and why looking at the bigger financial picture is essential. We also delve into why investors can be their own worst enemies, what advisors and investors should avoid, the theme of his book Inside Vanguard, various investment strategies, and much more. Tune in and hear insights on indexing, wise investing, and how to win the ultimate game from industry legend Charles Ellis!


Key Points From This Episode:


•    Charles explains what he means by ‘a loser's game’ and provides examples. (0:03:51)

•    How the perception of active management has changed since publishing Winning the Loser's Game. (0:08:00)

•    He unpacks how the market and market competition has changed since 1975. (0:10:33)

•    Whether the sentiment towards active management has become too negative. (0:17:24)

•    Discover why Charles thinks indexing is the best and preferred investment option. (0:19:22)

•    His opinion on low-cost systematic strategies that seek higher expected returns in the market by owning riskier stocks. (0:24:55)

•    Why investors and advisors should avoid trying to time or beat the market. (0:27:19)

•    The value and importance of a well-defined investment policy statement. (0:33:34)

•    Find out how investors can protect themselves from themselves. (0:34:58)

•    An underappreciated approach that investors can take to be more successful. (0:36:26)

•    Hear whether fee differentials between index and active strategies are understood well. (0:37:17)

•    Charles shares how his mindset has changed over the course of his career. (0:41:47)

•    Find out if institutions and endowments respect low-cost index investing. (0:42:42)

•    What he thinks about bringing exotic asset classes to retail investors. (0:44:45)

•    Reasons why investment management should be considered a full-time profession. (0:46:50)

•    The biggest opportunities he sees in future for investment management. (0:49:20)

•    Hear about the difference between price discovery and value discovery. (0:50:09)

•    Discover why Vanguard has been so successful as a company. (0:53:27)

•    The theme of his book, Inside Vanguard, and if it relates to other businesses. (0:58:17)

•    Lessons he has learned regarding personal motivation and productivity. (1:00:28)

•    Charles tells us his definition of success. (1:03:35)

•    An outtake from the episode: the role of luck. (1:05:21)



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Books From Today’s Episode:

Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing

Inside Vanguard

What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World's Greatest Professional Firms

Capital: The Story of Long-Term Investment Excellence

Figuring It Out: Sixty Years of Answering Investors' Most Important Questions


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