Doing Good While (Hopefully) Doing Well

Each year, BlackRock’s Chairman and CEO, Larry Fink, writes a letter to CEOs of “leading companies” in which BlackRock’s clients are shareholders.  Last year’s letter encouraged long-term thinking in the context of a world that is increasingly focused on short-term volatility.  This year’s letter strikes a similar tone, but goes a step further in mentioning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters as factors CEOs should be considering in their long-term strategies.  Socially responsible investing (SRI) is gaining traction among investors.  Is this just kumbaya investing or is it for serious investors, too?  Why would anyone do this?  On the other hand, why would anyone NOT do this? The Basics ESG and SRI are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are different.  SRI is the broad overarching investment thesis of the movement.  ESG filters this mandate through three lenses, environmental, social, and governance.  SRI is open to personal interpretation just like the…

Read More

Two Numbers

Two Numbers You Need to Know

How much is your electric bill?  What about media (cable, Netflix, etc)?  Or your phone bill?  You probably have at least a general idea, and if you had to know the exact number, you could find it relatively easily.  The two numbers you need to know in investing are how much are you paying and how did you do.  This sounds so easy, but for too many people, it’s difficult to track down.  The crazy thing is that investment companies are often reluctant to disclose this information.  Can you imagine calling the electric company to ask how much you paid last month and they wouldn’t give you a straight answer?  Or if you asked how much electricity you used and they would only tell you how much your individual appliances used?  That is what happened to Wall Street Journal reporter Andrea Fuller when she called her investment company and asked about fees….