Jon Robinson

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You Know Who’s Terrible in a Crisis? A Robot.

Posted by Jon Robinson on 2/15/22 12:23 PM

Call me a luddite if you like, but few things annoy me as much as when I navigate to a new webpage and that, “How can I help you?” box pops up on the lower right. That chatbot entering uninvited always sends me on a frantic search for how to make it disappear as quickly as possible.

Those bots have fully infiltrated the online world: banks, municipal governments, dental offices, nonprofits. Even a robot for my neighborhood grocery store recently wanted to talk to me when I simply needed to verify the hours!

I think about this scenario as it relates to investors. With so much money moved into robo-advisors, what is the experience going to look like when REAL people have REAL questions? “How did the S&P close yesterday?” is easy for a robot. But what answer is going to pop up when the question is, “The market is collapsing! What should I do?” or, “How do I reduce risk in the midst of this volatility?”

More to the point of this blog: How different would the answer be if it were coming from a trusted financial advisor?

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Topics: Advisor Practice Management

Is Planning Alpha Greater than Investment Alpha?

Posted by Jon Robinson on 2/3/22 9:27 AM

How does that saying go? Something about how the more things change, the more they stay the same?

Within financial advisory practices, this sentiment rings abundantly true in the area of portfolio construction/management.

So much has changed in the past few years. For one, the pandemic altered how investors interact with their advisors. Potentially more importantly, due to the prolonged bull market and relative outperformance of passive strategies, advisors have increasingly focused their attention on generating alpha from tax and financial planning.

And yet, nothing has changed at all: this same up-up-up trajectory in stocks shields many advisors from having to face the critical decision on whether to outsource the investment function of their business.

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Topics: Advisor Practice Management

Survey Says: Your Asset Manager’s Sell Discipline Stinks

Posted by Jon Robinson on 11/16/21 1:23 PM

The last time an asset manager told you about their buy/sell process, did the conversation sound a lot like what’s depicted in this pie chart?

It’s bewildering, considering building and maintaining an investment portfolio requires decisions about what to buy and sell. Yet, even elite institutional portfolio managers disproportionately focus on the first half of that equation.

It turns out that’s a quantifiably costly mistake.

 

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Topics: Behavioral Finance

‘Good Ideas Can’t Be Scheduled’

Posted by Jon Robinson on 9/9/21 10:45 AM

“Good Ideas Can’t Be Scheduled” is the title of a 2019 blog post by Morgan Housel of Collaborative Fund. His point was that deadlines shouldn’t be placed on good ideas, regardless of field, but the execution of good ideas is the opposite.

One of Blueprint’s best “good ideas” presented itself just like that – unscheduled – at a daunting time, during the height of pandemic-fueled market uncertainty. But we felt it would create clear advantages for financial advisors and their clients, so we got to work executing our plan.

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Topics: Systematic Investing

The Line Between Chasing Winners & Catching a Falling Knife

Posted by Jon Robinson on 6/7/21 5:05 PM

A few weeks ago my family spent a week at the beach. There’s this arcade on the boardwalk. I’m sure you know the kind: Drop a $20 in the change machine, hope your 8 year old can keep the Skee-Ball in her own lane, and then trade your tickets for some plastic toy that inevitably will provoke several sibling squabbles until it snaps in half a few days later.

Good ol’ American family fun!

As we dropped quarters in the machines, I noticed something interesting about my daughter’s approach to choosing which game to play that I thought had parallels to investing. She raced from game to game, chasing the ones she thought would give her the most tickets per play. When we made it to the prize counter, surprisingly, she ended with fewer total tickets than my son, who mainly just knocked over clowns with an air gun.

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Topics: Systematic Investing

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