Our Best Blogs of 2013

Our bloggers and columnists offered insights into everything from quantitative easing and clean energy to Apple and the cyberwars.


Inefficient Markets: “Ben Bernanke: Buy One Suit, Get Three Free.” Vitaliy Katsenelson, chief investment officer of Denver-based Investment Management Associates and the author of The Little Book of Sideways Markets, draws an enlightening and entertaining parallel between two seemingly different entities: the Federal Reserve and clothing retailer JoS. A. Bank. Readers’ understanding of quantitative easing will never be the same.

Avenue of Giants: “Can Pensions and Sovereign Funds Get Top Staff Outside Wall Street?” Sovereign wealth expert Ashby Monk, executive director of the Global Projects Center at Stanford University and a senior research associate at the University of Oxford, addresses the ongoing challenge that public pensions and sovereign funds face when competing with private sector firms for investment professionals. Monk offers some unusual advice for public and sovereign funds to help them attract talent from private sector investment managers who can afford to offer substantially higher salaries.

The Futurist: “A Cooperative Effort to Win the Cyberwars.” As technology progresses, the possibility of cyberattacks only gets greater. Jeffrey Kutler, editor-in-chief of Risk Professional and longtime Institutional Investor Senior Contributing Editor, looks into how the public and private sectors have teamed in an attempt to better safeguard our digital information.

At the Digital Edge: “The Code-Free Movement Reaches Capital Markets.” From the simple spreadsheet to the quant, the way that financial data have been processed and consumed is ever changing. Daniel Nadler, co-founder of financial technology start-up Kensho and II’s newest columnist, believes the days of relying on coders and programmers to build out complex financial technologies may soon be behind us, as the code-free movement continues.

Global Market Thought Leaders: “Reading Between the Lines of Seasonal Economic Data.” II’s Global Market Thought Leaders platform brings leaders in asset management to one central hub to share their market views and outlooks. In this June posting BlackRock CIO of fundamental fixed income and co-head of Americas fixed income Rick Rieder investigates the seasonal variability displayed in the economic recovery and the factors that may have caused it.

Avenue of Giants: “Why You Lost Money on Green Investments.” Green investing has been a hot trend, but it hasn’t shown impressive returns, particularly for institutional investors. Monk discusses what capabilities are necessary for large public funds to effectively approach clean energy opportunities.

Unconventional Wisdom: “Why Endowments Should Resist Fossil Fuel Divestments.” II’s Unconventional Wisdom column offers industry leaders the opportunity to voice their opinions on the markets and key issues of the day. In this September contribution University of Michigan investment professionals Erik Lundberg and Rafael Castilla proffer a view on endowment divestment from fossil fuel companies that may surprise some.

Global Market Thought Leaders: “Can China Sustain Its Growth? Korea and Taiwan Suggest It Can.” Investors around the globe were concerned about the impact that a slowdown in China’s GDP growth could have on developed and developing markets. In July J.P. Morgan Asset Management market strategist Michael Hood took a midyear look at China’s growth, using as a case study the economic development of two of the country’s neighbors.

Global Market Thought Leaders: “Five Key Themes for Equity Investors.” On the heels of a strong first quarter, AllianceBernstein chief market strategist Vadim Zlotnikov breaks down five themes for equity investors to keep an eye on as 2013 progressed: emerging-markets health care, European bank deleveraging, pricing power, cheap beta and dividend growth. Looking back on the year, how did Zlotnikov do?

Inefficient Markets: “How Much Would You Pay for the Apple Ecosystem?” and “Why Investors Hate Apple — and Are Dead Wrong.” It’s hard to find a stock that has drawn more investor attention than Apple. The Cupertino, California, company that Steve Jobs built had a wild 15 months, its stock price dropping from $700 in September 2012 to below $400 in April 2013, before rebounding past $550 late in the year. In a February blog, the first of two pieces, Inefficient Markets Contributor Katsenelson breaks down Apple’s business, product by product, to determine the company’s value. In a September post following the coolly received introduction of the latest iPhone, Katsenelson was back to Apple’s defense again, concluding that innovation has not left the company.