Cuffelinks started just after I left Colonial First State, where I’d worked for many years with Chris Cuffe. I didn’t know what my next career step would be, but when Graham Hand approached me about writing from time-to-time for the newsletter, I was happy to accept. I love writing about investing and fixed income in particular. Even though I’ve been back into full-time work for the past four years, I’m glad to continue writing for Cuffelinks. It’s the least I can do for the investment community which has given me so many wonderful opportunities.
Cuffelinks launched with a heavy hitter. Paul Keating, whose views on policy have always been well formed and forcefully argued, provided three articles on superannuation in the early issues of the newsletter. I could have picked any of them as one of my favourites, but this one on the potential risks that SMSFs could pose to the goals of the super system remains pertinent: Where did SMSFs come from, and where are they going?
Talking about heavy hitters, an article by Bill Gates made its way to these humble pages. He didn’t, sadly, write it for Cuffelinks originally, but it’s an interesting read about what he learned from Warren Buffett (an investor whose initials I think are the best!) Three things I’ve learned from Warren Buffett
For most of the past four years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of the champions of ethical investing in Australia, Michael Anderson. In his days on the AMP equity team, Michael led the establishment of their Responsible Leaders funds. Michael was pleased when AMP Capital last year took the bold step of extending ethical principles across all their funds, a decision explained in this article by their current CEO Adam Tindall: Should we exclude companies purely on ethical grounds?
Though I’ve been called an evangelist for fixed income, I’ve never argued exclusively for the asset class for the simple reason that this would not be the right thing to do. For most investors, including my own personal investments, a hefty exposure to shares is appropriate. The case for share investing was made well in this Peter Thornhill article earlier this year: Give me the long-term predictability of shares, at any age.
Before I share the favourite of my own articles, I have to include something from one the smartest – and most decent – people I’ve ever worked with, David Bell. He joined my team at Colonial as a graduate in 1998, and immediately made about $15 million of profit via improving the Net Present Value of the old Colonial Mutual annuity funds that we’d taken over managing early that year. He’s had a stellar career since, and when David writes, I read, and always learn something. This is one of his best, about how he learns from himself as well! Learning from my investment mistake
Finally, many of you have been kind enough to give me some positive feedback about my articles. Thank you. I like doing two things in my writing. One is to present complex ideas in a clear way that helps people understand investing better. The other is to confront what I believe are myths and falsehoods which are all too often presented to investors as facts. My personal favourite, which I think does both, was this piece I wrote about how a portfolio of so-called ‘junk’ bonds doesn’t have to be a junk portfolio – au contraire, they should be a core holding for many investors: Why would you invest in junk?
Warren Bird, Guest Editor
Warren Bird is Executive Director of Uniting Financial Services, a division of the Uniting Church (NSW & ACT). He has 30 years’ experience in fixed income investing. He also serves as an Independent Member of the GESB Investment Committee.