Quotes

Quotes by William Bernstein

(17)
(20) "The deeper one delves, the worse things look for actively managed funds."
2001
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator
(247) "Wall Street is littered with the bones of those who knew just what to do, but could not bring themselves to do it."
2009
- The Investor's Manifesto, Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between
(248) "No one in his right mind would walk into the cockpit of an airplane and try to fly it, or into an operating theater and open a belly.  And yet they think nothing of managing their retirement assets.  I've done all three, and I'm here to tell you that managing money is, in its most critical elements (the quota of emotional discipline and quantitative ability required) even more demanding than the first two."
2008
(21) "It's human nature to find patterns where there are none and to find skill where luck is a more likely explanation (particularly if you're the lucky [mutual fund] manager)." Mutual fund manager performance does not persist and the return of stock picking is zero."
2001
(22) "99% of fund managers demonstrate no evidence of skill whatsoever."
2001
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator
(249) "When it comes to fund managers and market strategists, this year's hero usually turns into next year's zero."
2009
- The Investor's Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon and Everything In Between
(23) "There are two kinds of investors, be they large or small: those who don't know where the market is headed, and those who don't know that they don't know. Then again, there is a third type of investor... whose livelihood depends upon appearing to know."
2000
- "The Intelligent Asset Allocator"
(245) "While it is probably a poor idea to own actively managed funds in general, it is truly a terrible idea to own them in taxable accounts...(taxes are) a drag on performance of up to 4 percentage points each year...many index funds allow your capital gains to grow largely undisturbed until you sell....For the taxable investor, indexing means never having to say you're sorry."
2007
(250) "The typical fund company services [401k plan] participants in the same way that Baby Face Nelson serviced banks."
- Riding for a Fall, The 401(k) is likely to turn out to be a defined-chaos retirement plan.
(300) "For the taxable investor, indexing means never having to say you're sorry."
2002
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator
(241) "If your broker [or investment advisor] is not familiar with the concept of standard deviation of returns, get a new one."
2001
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator
(243) "It's bad enough that you have to take market risk. Only a fool takes on the additional risk of doing yet more damage by failing to diversify properly with his or her nest egg. Avoid the problem--buy a well-run index fund and own the whole market."
2002
- The Four Pillars of Investing
(256) "Those who are ignorant of investment history are bound to repeat it. Historical investment returns and risks of various asset classes should be studied. Investment results for an asset over a long enough period (greater than 20 years) are a good guide to the future returns and risks of that asset. Further, it should be possible to approximate the future long-term return and risk of a portfolio consisting of such assets."
2001
(242) "The essence of effective portfolio construction is the use of a large number of poorly correlated assets."
2001
- The Intelligent Asset Allocator
(244) "It's bad enough that you have to take market risk. Only a fool takes on the additional risk of doing yet more damage by failing to diversify properly with his or her nest egg. Avoid the problem—buy a well-run index fund and own the whole market."
2007
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle
(246) "You will want to ensure that your adviser is choosing your investments purely on their investment merit and not on the basis of how the vehicles reward him. The warning signs here are recommendations of load funds, insurance products, limited partnerships, or separate accounts. ...Your adviser should use index/passive stock funds wherever possible. If he tells you that he is able to find managers who can beat the indexes, he is fooling both you and himself. I refer to a commitment to passive indexing as 'asset-class religion.' Don't hire anyone without it."
2007
(305) "A decade ago, I really did believe that the average investor could do it himself. I was wrong. I've come to the sad conclusion that only a tiny minority, at most one percent, are capable of pulling it off. Heck, if Helen Young Hayes, Robert Sanborn, Julian Robertson, and the nation's largest pension funds can't get it right, what chance does John Q. Investor have?"
2003
- The Probability of Success