The Portfolio Whiteboard Project

The Portfolio Whiteboard Project brought together the next generation of institutional investment leaders with asset managers to define an asset allocation model for the future.

The Portfolio Whiteboard Project white paper documents the surprising and insightful results and provides a glimpse behind the scenes of this innovative initiative.

Institutions need to go back to the drawing board, but not for the reasons we originally believed.

Read the Portfolio Whiteboard Project white paper.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts about our findings, and we encourage you to share your opinions and ideas with us.  Visit the ‘Contact Us’ tab to send us a private message, tweet @TheUncorrelated, or e-mail us at info@uncorrelated.us.

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2 thoughts on “The Portfolio Whiteboard Project

  1. Great project! Surprised that the whiteboard didn’t include blue sky thinking about the way foundation investment portfolios can push on their social missions. We’ve come to many of the same conclusions as the PWP and have decided to invest 100% of our portfolio to positions that support our mission of building prosperity for all Americans, especially those at the low-end of the wage scale.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised while reading the Portfolio Whiteboard Project by the focus on governance. From my experience working at Bridgewater and with many of their endowment and foundation clients, along with studying great investors like Buffett and Swensen, they all have a (loosely) similar governance process. While autocratic is likely too strong a word, it seems as if all of these greats have setup their firms and investment processes to be able to make decisions swiftly when necessary. If one has been given little leeway by their board, or has an unhealthy dynamic within the investment committee then the odds of success are extremely low.

    While there are often Boards or committees, those at Yale, Berkshire, and Bridgewater trust the final say of the ultimate decision maker therefore eliminating politics and delay from the decision making process. If a manager possesses skill, then this seems the only way to extract it effectively for the benefit of the stakeholders, especially with large pools of capital. I think investors can learn a lot by deeply studying the processes of others who have been successful, rather than always looking for quick answers (e.g. what’s the asset allocation? what’s the next hot stock? who’s the hot emerging manager?).

    All that said, any investment process must recognize the nature of markets – necessarily that alpha is a zero sum game. True skill in markets is so rare as proven by the sheer number of funds that open and close due to poor performance, managers that lag their indices for decades, and ofcourse institutional investors who can barely match the performance of a Vanguard index fund in spite of extensive resources. Whether one calls it “market timing” or “global macro” or talks about “predicting the future” or “future themes”, it’s all the same zero sum game of alpha. I believe all the best investors have a healthy respect for this dynamic and therefore the realistic odds of success and in turn have created governance structures and investment processes to overcome this hurdle.

    Looking forward to reading more from the PWP.

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