The Money Maze Podcast podcast

The Money Maze Podcast

Simon Brewer and Will Campion

The world of finance has a huge impact on all of us. This show aims to explore and unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the investing business. The Money Maze Podcast has been created by two industry veterans. Through direct, entertaining and insightful interviews with masters of the real life money maze, we hope to learn about different approaches to allocating capital, making investment and business decisions, and navigating the pitfalls that line the paths to prosperity. Whether a current or aspiring investment professional, a regular investor, or a student exploring career options, we hope you gain some helpful insights and enjoy the shows. Thank you for listening. 

59 épisodes

  • The Money Maze Podcast podcast

    Trillions: Who should invest passively and why? With Robin Wigglesworth, Financial Times’ Global Finance Correspondent

    53:19

    Over the past decade, about 80 cents of every dollar that has gone into the US investment industry has ended up at Vanguard, State Street, and BlackRock. As a result, the combined stake in S&P 500 companies held by the Big Three has quadrupled, from about 5 percent in 1998 to north of 20 percent today. Those lines are from a new book - Trillions- Why Passive investing beats Active written by our guest today, Robin Wigglesworth, the Financial Times  Global Finance correspondent In this conversation, Robin explains the forces that drove the creation of the passive investing industry, the key architects and the roles they played, how he shows that passive beats active in developed markets over time, but the controversy and dangers emerging from this financial tsunami and where we might be going. Robin brings to life the determination of men like Jack Bogle (Vanguard) who championed passive investing “The math will never let you down”, to Paul Samuelson, William Sharpe and Warren Buffet, who has long argued the merits of passive investing in the S&P 500. Robin concludes - The exact statistics vary between countries and types of market that they invest in, but roughly speaking, only 10 to 20 percent of active funds beat their benchmarks over any rolling ten- year period. In other words, investing is a rare walk in life where it generally pays to be lazy and choose a cheap passive fund. This Episodes Themes and Collaborations Learn more about Robin Wigglesworth, the Financial Times' Global Finance Correspondent. Jack Bogle transformed the investment management industry. Bogle was a crusader for individual investors, working to bring the interests of asset managers in line with those of their investment clients. Delve into why Paul Singer thinks index funds are devouring Capitalism. A piece in which Robin agrees with Warren Buffetts’ unconventional views on ESG Investing. Recommended reading, by Robin Wigglesworth: Trillions- Why Passive Investing Beats Active Relevant to Robin Wigglesworth talking about the most fertile ground for active management is the emerging markets episode with Dr Christina McGuire. The Money Maze Podcast is going on its second programme of ambassadors and if you know of any students or young working adults interesting in applying please forward them this website link. Hopefully we can keep you entertained and loving the show but to ensure this happens in the future, please would you do this survey to let us know your thoughts and feedback. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    [REPLAY] Christina McGuire: From Doctor to Emerging Market Equity Fund Manager - A German Tale

    48:50

    It’s difficult enough to train to become a doctor and then practice in some emerging countries with fragile health systems like Papua New Guinea. But then to switch tack completely, give all that up, win a place at Harvard Business School and join Goldman Sachs in asset management before going on to launch your own fund in emerging markets, may be considered brilliance or heresy, particularly when you come from Germany, a country that reveres technical expertise and is less enthusiastic about the merits of finance. So in this conversation I am delighted to unravel an unconventional journey and welcome Dr Christina McGuire, CEO of Elephant Asset Management, as our guest. We discuss her upbringing and German attitudes to finance, before touching upon her medical journey, her decision to go to Harvard Business school and then join Goldman Sachs. She discusses working and investing in China, the skills taught and culture encouraged at Goldman's, before she explains her decision to go it alone. She describes the investment approach of her firm, Elephant Asset Management, where she manages a concentrated, stock-specific, emerging market equity fund. She explains her philosophy and style, detailing geographic, sectoral and company disciplines as well as the significant opportunities created by the post-Covid world for her domestically-focused companies. She describes the due diligence process, the need to eye ball CEO and CFOs and why she believes company visits and sitting in the staff canteen of investing companies are great ways to gauge culture, and sense the mood. Christina also explains why the S&G in ESG are significantly more measurable in the countries in which she invests. Finally Christina talks about how women should really think about asset management as a career, and offers some other great advice for young people thinking about their futures. Due to the similar themes discussed in our latest episode release (with Robin Wigglesworth, Global Finance Correspondent at the Financial Times), we're pleased to be re-releasing our discussion with Christina McGuire. Like Robin, she also shares some fascinating arguments in the active v passive debate.  The chat is a topical one too given the current buzz around the transformative 2021 German election. In the episode, Christina shares her thoughts on the structural strengths of the Europe's largest economy and examines why its finance sector remains relatively underdeveloped. She also explains why she believes Angela Merkel has done a "remarkable job". This interview was originally recorded in August 2020. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter      
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    Carson Block: One of the World’s Most Famous Short Sellers. Founder and CIO of Muddy Waters.

    1:03:49

    If you were told that abnormally low interest rates and quantitative easing would provide huge tailwinds for higher equity prices, then it isn’t obvious you would chose to run a fund whose activity was entirely focused on short-selling. However in today’s episode, Carson Block, Founder & CIO of Muddy Waters Research, describes his early exposure to fraudulent listed companies in the US, before intrigue and law took him to Asia. There he started on a path to discover and unmask some extraordinarily high profile corporate frauds. Detailed research, site-visits, scepticism about management claims and forensic analysis all featured on his journey which resulted in collapsing stock prices and humiliated investors. Eight of the companies he has exposed as frauds have been delisted from stock exchanges. Two others settled charges with regulators, with Sino-Forest being one of the high profile casualties. Carson describes his approach to identifying potential malpractice, the investment process and explains his willingness to take on large corporations. He shows why he clearly isn’t interested in winning popularity contests He describes his investment criteria, the paramount importance of risk management, his motivations, dealing with the criticisms and hostility he has faced, his firm's ambitions and the characteristics needed to succeed in this space. Finally he comments on SPACs, Tesla, the challenges of shorting in a world of negative real rates and why he believes China will lose out to countries like Vietnam (where he prefers to make his long bets).  Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    Part 2/2: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and a New World Order? Nic Cary, Co-Founder of Blockchain.com

    43:28

    In the second episode with Nic Cary, Co-Founder of Blockchain.com, Nic continues on from the discussions around Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to discuss the debasement of currencies and the dangers of current central bank policies. He talks about the emerging inflation, the future of money, and the role digital currencies might play and the diminishing trust in governments and central banks. The conversation continues by exploring the changing world of digital transactions, before discussing criminal activity and their use of digital currencies. Nic then comments on China and its state controlled digital currency and his view of the importance in allowing free markets to develop the crypto universe whilst balancing the issue of personal freedoms and possible Government regulations. Finally Nic discusses ESG challenges before closing with some final thoughts on his charity, 'Sky’s The Limit', giving help to first time entrepreneurs. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    Part 1/2: Blockchain, Crypto Currencies and a New World Order? Nic Cary, Co-Founder of Blockchain.com

    43:07

    “If you don’t believe it or don’t get it, I don’t have the time to try to convince you, sorry” That quotation is attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto founder of Bitcoin. However, in this 2 part series we have the time and are going to ask the founder of Blockchain.com, Nic Cary to explain what’s going on in the world of blockchain and crypto currencies, and the story of his company, which sits at the epi centre of these enormous plate shifts. Not surprisingly he’s our youngest guest so far, a digital native and when he visited me a few weeks back to discuss his business courtesy of a mutual contact James Peterson I worried it could be like Samuel P. Huntington’s book; The Clash Of Civilizations: And The Remaking Of World Order. Nic starts by explaining the potency and reach of the blockchain technology, its uses and its ability to transform many of the activities undertaken daily. He then discusses the emergence of crypto currencies and contrasts Ethereum with Bitcoin, other “protocols” and what a digital wallet really means. He discusses the thinking behind creating his company Blockchain.com, some of its high profile backers, and the emerging institutional interest in this space. He talks about why some of the world’s legendary investors like Stan Druckenmiller and Alan Howard have invested in Crypto, before debating the Gold v Crypto issue. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    The Family Office Approach to Wealth Management: Charlotte Thorne, Co-Founder of Capital Generation Partners

    45:31

    A growing share of the wealthy have decided to take control of their finances through single or multi-family offices. Recent statistics suggest family offices now control in excess of $4 trillion. In today’s conversation, Charlotte Thorne, former advisor to the Treasury, describes her switch to join a major Swiss single family office, and go on to co-found a private investment office, which today manages close to $4 billion for over 20 families. She discusses building the investment offering, the requirements and complexities wealth brings and why Cap Gen aims to “help families make the most of the possibilities that come with capital”. She explains the importance of process and discipline, and how they think about asset class decisions whilst accommodating the different requirements of families. Charlotte discusses direct investing, tactical allocation, the inflationary debate, and why being a female client can be an uncomfortable experience. She also discusses the role of capital, how at times the money itself can appear to take priority over the owners themselves and where she believes the wealth management industry has failed. Finally she describes their approach to the active v passive debate, investing in hedge funds and why private equity continues to offer attractive return characteristics with significant dispersion. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    Robert F. Smith: Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners - One of the World’s Most Successful Software-Focused Private Equity Firms

    45:58

    With more than 77 billion dollars in assets under management (as of March 31st 2021), Vista Equity Partners is one of the world’s largest and leading software private equity firms. As Founder, Chairman and CEO, this success has helped Robert F. Smith become one of the most respected investors of his generation, being named by Forbes as one of the ‘100 Greatest Living Business Minds’ as well as one of the most generous philanthropists of his time. Robert describes his upbringing in Denver, how he secured his first work experience at Bell Labs whilst still at school and his education at Cornell University and Columbia Business School, taking him from engineering to finance. Robert describes working in technology at Goldman Sachs Investment Banking, which included advising a then-troubled Apple as it pivoted to become a platform technology company.  He then explains his decision to leave and found Vista Equity Partners in 2000. He talks about the signs that software’s importance would mushroom and how today, Vista’s 70+ portfolio companies have circa 75,000 employees globally, together comprising one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies when combined by revenue, serving over 300 million users. Robert goes on to examine why software has been the most productive economic tool in the last 50 years and explains why he describes today’s epoch as the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’. After covering the underlying meaning behind ‘digitization’, he provides examples of how his companies have prospered, why their growth trajectory is still so exciting and why software companies are helping to re-shape supply chains and industries across the world. He discusses the merits of private equity versus public listings, the huge gains investors have made in their funds, and why he believes the investment opportunities are still so significant. Robert then talks about his philanthropic work, his view on reaching those communities who have been underserved and what needs to be done and committed to in order to create lasting change for good. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    Global Investing, Public and Private Markets: A rare interview with Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners

    1:10:54

    The FT has described our guest on this episode as one of 30 most influential people in the City of London. Moreover in the world of public and private investing there is repeated acknowledgement of him being one of today’s great investment thinkers. The firm he joined back in 2001, Lansdowne Partners, is widely admired amongst the global institutional investment community, and his perspectives and performance have been widely sought after. In this conversation, we discuss Peter’s investing career to date, his approach to evaluating companies, public and private, the exciting IP being developed around Oxford University and why he is so excited about the business and investing landscape today, along with other important perspectives. Peter initially describes the formative early years at Mercury Investment Management, some of the lessons he learned about investing and building a successful investment culture. He then describes his decision to join Lansdowne in 2001 and why he wanted to exploit the long/short opportunity set. He describes the analysis undertaken to identify Northern Rock as a highly vulnerable institution and how they established a potent short position that was immensely profitable for their investors. He continues by discussing the work post the Great Financial Crisis that led them to invest in many global brands as well as being early investors in the major tech platform companies such as Google and Amazon etc. Fast forwarding he describes the move to become long-only, the investment culture that they have created at Lansdowne. which incorporates an important need to calibrate and understand a wide range of possible outcomes for each investment they consider. Peter then moves to talk about the UK investing landscape and the opportunities he believes exist in public and private markets. Specifically he discusses some of the opportunities emanating from Oxford University and why the vaccine success offers opportunities for significant leaps forward in medical and other productivity gains. He also explains why he feels UK political risk has been mispriced and the important investing opportunities he has identified. He describes his involvement with world class sports men and women, and learning lessons about decision making under pressure. He also talks about balancing time pressures, improving his own productive capabilities and lessons he would share with others. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    [REPLAY] A Conversation with Simon Hallett - Former CIO of Harding Loevner & Owner of Plymouth Argyle FC

    43:44

    Simon Hallett, former CIO of the $80 billion asset manager, Harding Loevner, describes his journey from Plymouth, England, to Oxford University and then Hong Kong before boldly heading to the USA. Harding Loevner’s impressive 30 year track record in managing global equities is examined, with a discussion that covers behavioural biases, the need to restrict portfolio managers’ freedom, to the increasing reliance on quantitative disciplines to enhance the investment process. Hallett explains why top-down thinking should be strictly limited in building an equity portfolio, why their firm has only 2 Bloomberg terminals and stock-price watching is actively discouraged. He also discusses the merits of being partially owned by Affiliated Managers Group (AMG).  Finally he then explains his decision to buy Plymouth Argyle Football Club – heart over logic, possibly, but why the management of a football team and player selections have more in common with selecting stocks than you might think. Finally he gives some great advice to “keep your nose clean” and “ stay the course” – applicable for both football and investing! To celebrate our latest interview, featuring Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners, we're re-releasing this episode thanks to the similar themes discussed. Like Harding Loevner, Lansdowne Partners is focused on international equity investing. Both firms have benefitted from the post-2010 boom in high growth tech stocks. Additionally, both Peter and Simon have links to Oxford University, and both figures cite the sporting world as an inspiration for their investing strategy and philosophy.  Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter
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    Building a Global Luxury Watch Brand - With Giles English, Founder and CEO of Bremont Watches

    40:27

    When we talk of luxury watches we typically think of Switzerland with its quality engineering and dominant market position, apparently illustrating the economist David Riccardo’s theory of comparative advantage. Yet in this conversation, we learn that at the turn of the last century, Britain was producing 200,000 watches a year, around half the worldwide output and that Rolex was founded in London in 1905. Giles English talks about the plane accident that killed his Father and almost took his brother’s life as well, yet how the tragedy proved the inspiration to build a luxury watch brand, which can compete with the best. After describing the history of British watch making, with some fascinating anecdotes, Giles explains how he and his Brother Nick have approached the two components; building a state of the art watch making capability & developing a luxury brand. Giles describes the engineering challenges involved, the technical aspects of precision engineering, and why seeing the Bremont collections can be a lightbulb moment for collectors He talks about the collaborations and collections with Jaguar, Concorde, Stephen Hawking and Bletchley Park to name a few, and their vision for the future. He also talks about competing with the deep-pocketed luxury brand groups and the approach to establishing long-term financing as they expand into Asia and the US. Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a release! | Visit our website | Follow us on LinkedIn | Follow us on Twitter

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