Behavioural finance

Economics

Good cop, bad cop - is Trump a negotiating genius?

On the face of it, Donald Trump has proven to be an aggressive and erratic US president. Yet academic research shows 'good cop, bad cop' works as a negotiating technique. Although we're seeing a lot of 'bad cop' Trump at the moment in the trade war, is this just a negotiating tactic?

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Portfolio Thinking

What the Stone Age can teach investors

Evolutionary psychology highlights a Stone Age mentality hardwired into our brains and reflected in our behaviour and habits. For example, we tend to organise ourselves into groups in order to adapt more easily to different environments: behaviourally it is far less dangerous to be wrong in a group than to be right on our own. This explains the desire and impulse of an individual investor to follow the crowd.

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Macrobites

Share the love, don't love the share

Love is not logical. Arguably, nor are investors who stick with underperforming investments in the belief that their fortunes may reverse against all evidence.

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Portfolio Thinking

Adding science to investing in an uncertain world

We live in an uncertain world. With Brexit, Chinese growth and US policy just three of countless risks facing the ongoing bull market in risk assets, this is as true today as it ever was. So what’s an investor to do?

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Strategy

Twin peaks: the law of averages and the zero lower bound

In pricing fixed income securities, a lot hangs on the difference between the mean, median and mode. Markets reflect a probability-weighted average of potential outcomes (i.e. the mean); policymakers typically focus on the single most-likely outcome (i.e. the mode). Thinking carefully about the difference has important implications for how we view interest rate risks.

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Portfolio Thinking

All about that base

When making decisions, data on similar past decisions and their outcomes provide a useful starting point as a ‘base rate’. Too often though people ignore them or give them too little weight. Base rates of the historic performance of active fund managers provide an insight into the potential benefits and costs of choosing them in different asset classes.

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Portfolio Thinking

Sell the rumour, buy the fact

With Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez staying at their clubs, the most recent football transfer window offers a great example of the availability bias at work and a counter example to the common investment adage “buy the rumour, sell the fact”.

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