Vettafi Voices on: Favorite Finance Writing

We’ve been in go-mode at VettaFi, gearing up for Exchange and all the great content and experiences we’re putting together, both on stage and off. With education on our brains, today the VettaFi Voices gathered around the watercooler and shared some of their favorite recently published pieces of finance writing.

Todd Rosenbluth, head of research – I want to be reading more books tied to my passion of investing (ideas are welcomed!), but let me recommend two close to our efforts. Eric Balchunas, who is joining me on stage at Exchange, wrote an excellent book called The Bogle Effect on how many ways Jack Bogle and Vanguard impacted the asset management industry. He covers this from many angles and brings fresh insights beyond his traditional ETF work that makes it enjoyable. Plus, he gets takes from many of our industry friends.

Also, Mary Childs wrote a wonderful book on Bill Gross and his time at PIMCO called The Bond King, which dives into the success story of what became the active bond find first in mutual fund form, and then in ETF form. As a former mutual fund analyst, I lived much of this. But I still learned a lot.

I also love the wide range of expertise with our research efforts. I learn something new from Roxanna Swan, Stacey Morris, and Dave Nadig every time they publish.

Two final shout outs. Bob Pisani’s book, Shut Up and Keep Talking has amazing stories and shows Bob’s personal investment growth cycle, which is also well lined up with the growth of the ETF industry. Bob has been a champion of the ETF industry and was an early adopter for index investing, despite being the key voice for many active managers.

Last and not least, hot off the presses, Lara Crigger dove into the ETFs that really jumped off the page for our advisor community. Some ETFs she highlighted included the SPDR Bloomberg 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL), iMGP DBi Managed Futures Strategy ETF (DBMF), WisdomTree Floating Rate Treasury Fund (USFR), and Invesco Aerospace & Defense ETF (PPA). The data is really helpful to understand which funds are top of mind for advisors.

Lara Crigger, editor-in-chief: My ears are burning! Thanks, Todd, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point folks to your work, as well as that by the VettaFi staff writers, including the fantastic Elle Caruso, Karrie Gordon, James Comtois, and Nick Peters-Golden. Together, they are putting together some of the best, most timely ETF-related research and analysis on the web.

I also can’t speak highly enough of Kyla Scanlon’s economic analyses. Smart, engaging, well-backed by crunchy research — she’s fantastic. Her YouTube channel is a great starting point (I love the billy goat cartoons in “Why The Fed Might Want You To Lose Your Job” and the Very Good Doggo in “The Eggconomy“) but she also has a Substack and a podcast, if those media are more your jam.

Dave Nadig, financial futurist: I recommend Kyla’s piece on the Vibecession, too. Her ability to be right about the data while simultaneously talking about it like an actual human being is continuously inspiring. Also, she’s going to be giving us her best 10 minutes on stage at Exchange as well!

Crigger: I genuinely can’t wait! Lastly, I love Samantha Russell‘s epic Twitter threads on content marketing. Once upon a time, I spent some years as a marketing copywriter, so I always find myself nodding vigorously along to her threads, sometimes pointing at the screen and shouting to nobody in particular, “She gets it!” (It’s a good thing I work remotely, heh.)

What other things are you reading, Dave?

Nadig: Well, Mike Green (@ProfPlum99) has fired up his Substack, and his first piece of the year was a banger. On the surface, it’s about energy demand and oil consumption, but then he dives into a few surprising rabbit holes, not the least of which is recent work by Ole Peters (@ole_b_peters) on ergodicity economics. He starts heading in directions I’m excited to explore with him on stage in our Future of Finance discussion at Exchange next month.  Here’s a juicy quote:

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that our flirtation with Ayn Rand and unfettered “capitalism” (if we can call voracious lobbying of Rome, “capitalism”) is increasingly the cause of our malaise. Perhaps, like George Bailey, we need to go back in time and look at our choices differently. The community may indeed emerge the hero.

Roxanna Islam, associate director of research: I really like this article called The Crypto Story by Bloomberg’s Matt Levine. It’s much more than an article, though; it was published as a cover-to-cover issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. 

Nadig: That piece is absolutely epic, and so well written.

Islam: Also, it’s not a specific article, but I’m a fan of anything Jason Zweig from the Wall Street Journal writes. His topics are always timely and easy to understand. While most of those articles are behind a paywall, you can see some of his material here.

Rosenbluth: Let me share some from other smart people. I really enjoyed this piece from Michael Batnick because, although I agree with some points he made and disagree with others, I love the charts he uses. I also enjoy on a daily basis the Indexology blog from S&P Dow Jones Indices, where people like Craig Lazzara use index data in novel ways. This piece on the sectors and style being connected was thought provoking to me.

Islam: One more thing — last year I started reading more of the resources the CFA Institute publishes. Some of it is members-only, so I can’t repost those reports, but they also have some interesting work which anyone can read. I like this report from earlier this past summer on managing risk, and this report from a few days ago on crypto.

Crigger: They also have a great set of blogs highlighting some of their findings. Like Roxanna, I find CFA Institute’s work to be fantastic — their blog is daily morning coffee reading for me. For example, here’s a great recent lit review about whether or not the data indicates a trade-off between diversity and investment performance. (Spoiler alert: No, there isn’t.)

Islam: On that note, I also recently discovered this blog from the CAIA Association. Lots of articles from great writers are posted there, especially if you’re interested in digital assets and other alternatives. (Interesting fact–last year, they actually reposted some articles from both Dave and me!)

Be sure to catch the VettaFi Voices, as well as a host of experts, at Exchange, on February 5–8, 2023, in sunny Miami, Florida. To learn more about the event and register, please visit the Exchange website.

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