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Data Scientist

Index fund genius, a long only guru and a mere data scientist are flying in to present to an institutional client in New Zealand. As the plane is about to land they see one purple sheep alone in a field.

Professor Passive says "All kiwi sheep are purple! I must buy them all. NOW. At ANY price the owners ask, no matter how high or overvalued. It's not my money. No need to know ovine business or earnings. Forget about analysis or due diligence. Ignore risk! Prices are always correct as markets are efficient. I have academic tenure and Swedish taxpayers gave me a fake 'Nobel' in economic 'sciences'. Risk free! For me."

Beta Bandit says "Some kiwi sheep are purple but the professor says they all are. I am benchmarked to the index so I must also buy that purple sheep no matter how expensive. Can't risk tracking error and not being fully invested or pension consultants will remove me from their recommended lists. It's not my money either. I get paid the same whether muppet customers win or lose. When markets drop 50% yet again and I only lose 45% I have delivered 5% alpha!"

Data Scientist says "That sheep MIGHT appear purple but my machines have deep learnt that nothing should ever be sold short or bought without regard to price. My clients are retirees, widows, orphans, endowments funding student scholarships and foundations funding good causes so I MUST do much deeper analysis. Our interests are aligned as ALL my wealth and family and friends savings are in the fund. I study potential investments closely so that ABSOLUTE pension liabilities can be paid out from ABSOLUTE RETURNS.

It's my fiduciary duty, unlike asset gatherer salesmen like you. I'm only paid well if, and only if, I make absolute money for clients. Unlike you I invest as a prudent man. You guys are breaking suitability and fiduciary rules for your unfortunate investors. Doing no analysis or due diligence before buying an alleged purple sheep at any price? What are the outrageous fees you charge for your so-called "work" actually for?

There seems to be a sheep, one side of which appears to be temporarily purple. This may be due to chemicals in the sheep-dip, an accident with dye or paint, an optical illusion, a practical joke or a smudge on the airplane window. I will closely study sheep fundamentals and talk to many shepherds, shearers and wool merchants with extensive domain expertise.

My data wrangling team will gather exabytes of global ovine data and conduct rigorous statistical analysis, mathematical modeling, stress tests and scenario simulations. Perhaps, after exhaustive research, I might be able to decide whether to short sell or even buy that apparently purple sheep, depending on its value and risk.

The Nobel Foundation, the professor's university endowment and long only dude's pension plan are my clients because they need the absolute returns I deliver irrespective of market direction or beta factors. You can't buy food, pay faculty or meet liabilities with relative returns in bear markets. Professor Passive's employer is able to offer student scholarships and pay his tenured salary because it avoids his beloved, high risk index funds. Too volatile and expensive."

Which fund would YOU invest in? Who should get the NZ$250 million mandate? Who is most likely to generate RELIABLE risk-adjusted returns? Whose fees represent the best VALUE for the work? What manager is really the "cheapest"?

Would an investor truly following the prudent man rule choose a passive fund given the fiduciary duty for due diligence in selecting appropriate investments for beneficiaries? Passive funds that do no security analysis or risk management are a clear breach of fiduciary duty.

Which fund offers alignment between client and manager interests? "Cheap" index funds are the joke. The more conservative you are the more you need in quality hedge funds. Index firms pay "experts" outrageous fees to market "low cost" high risk unskilled toxic waste to the masses. Don't get suckered in. No professional investor puts one cent in unskilled long only. Ignore the suckers.


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