QOTD: On Doing Nothing

“I spend a lot of time researching things we ultimately don’t do.”

- Steve Edmundson, investment chief for the $35 billion Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System

The quote above perfectly describes the in-house research program that Michael, Ben, Dan and Barry carry out each week. We’re always researching strategies and tactics and funds and ideas but very rarely come across something that makes us sit up and say “let’s roll!”

Most of the work we do ends up confirming that what we’re already doing is probably a better idea. This confirmation is an important trick that keeps us disciplined and helps us do the same for our clients.

Hit the link above to read about how Mr. Edmundson manages one of the better performing state pension systems by not jumping at every new trend, headline or piece of data. Yes, it’s true that he may be able to do better if he were to make this move or that shift – but he could also be doing much, much worse.

Here’s a Blaise Pascal quote that Charlie Munger often cites: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Days spent here reading and researching quietly far outnumber days spent putting on trades or attempting to outsmart the other guys. They are more productive, too – even if the only fruit of all this labor is to say “here’s something else that doesn’t need to be done.”

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