For many investors, mutual fund fees are among the largest hidden costs of investing. They can be confusing, too. Fund companies can charge investors a variety of fees, and according to this guidance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, some fund companies may not be characterizing their expenses correctly. This should be a little alarming to those investors who [...]
Is it time to think about how climate change might impact your portfolio? Apparently, some 120 CEOs and investment managers representing more than $12 trillion in assets think so. They were worried enough to send an open letter on May 25, 2015 to the Group of Seven (G-7) Finance Ministers to urge them to commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [...]
By Dr. Jonathan Tiemann, March 23, 2015 While we're on the subject of fiduciaries (see the post just before this one), there's another important principal (owner) - agent (person acting on owners' behalf) relationship in finance. That's the relationship between shareholders and corporate managers. The extent of managers' fiduciary duty to shareholders isn't really clear under the law, especially since [...]
Despite the well-pronouced and increasingly strident warnings from scientists about the deleterious effects of burning fossil fuels on the environment, there is a surprising amount of "business as usual" going on in corporate America. This makes the news about the way Anne Stausboll, the chief executive of Calpers, addresses climate change all the more impressive. According to an article in [...]
Lore has it, according to Thomas Friedman, that a Chinese emporor was so enthralled with the invention of the game of chess that he offered to fulfill any wish for the inventor. The simple wish: place 1 grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, then place 2 grains of rice on the second square, 4 grains on the third square, 8 grains on the fourth and continuing doubling the grains across the entire board. The emporer granted the wish happily, only to discover that by the 64th square, he owed his kingdom in rice. Thomas Friedman included this among many brilliant observations and points made in a talk that he gave to Stanford's Precourt Institute last year. His point here being that trends that seem small and insignificat at the outset, can have huge and uncontrolled impacts if they maintain their incremental growth over time. He posits that we are on the second half of the chessboard in the way the markets work, the impacts we are having on Mother Nature and in the operation of Moore's Law on technology.
It is with a great sense of "what's taken so long?" relief that we read the New York Times' report on the shift by Exxon Mobil to agree to report on the risks to its fossil fuel assets as a result of climate change and the impending caps that are being placed upon carbon emissions. We are soon to be [...]