Posts tagged ‘Franklin Templeton’

Sitting on the Sidelines: Fear & Selective Memory


Fear is a motivating (or demotivating) emotion that can force individuals into suboptimal actions.  The two main crashes of the 2000s (technology & housing bubbles) coupled with the mini-crises (e.g., flash crash, European crisis, debt ceiling, sequestration, fiscal cliff, etc.) have scared millions of investors and trillions of dollars to sit on the sidelines. Financial paralysis may be great in the short-run for bruised psyches and egos, but for the passive onlookers, the damage to retirement accounts can be crippling.

Selective memory is a great coping mechanism for those investors sitting on the sidelines as well. Purposely forgetting your wallet at a group dinner may be beneficial in the near-term, but repeated incidents will result in lost friends over the long-run. Similarly, most gamblers frequenting casinos tend to pound their chests when bragging about their wins, however they tend to conveniently forget about all the losses.  These same reality avoidance principles apply to investing.

A recent piece written by CEO Bill Koehler at Tower Wealth Managers, entitled The Fear Bubble highlights a survey conducted by Franklin Templeton. In the study, investors were asked how the stock market performed in 2009-2012. As you can see from the chart below, perception is the polar opposite of reality (actual gains far exceeded perceived losses):

Source: Franklin Templeton via Tower Wealth Managers

Source: Franklin Templeton via Tower Wealth Managers

With so many investors sitting on the sidelines in cash or concentrated in low-yielding bonds and gold, I suppose the results shouldn’t be too surprising. Once again, selective memory serves as a wonderful tool to bury the regrets of missing out on a financial market recovery of a lifetime.

Humans also have a predisposition to seek out people who share similar views, even though accumulating different viewpoints ultimately leads to better decisions. Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool just wrote an article, Putting a Gap Between You and Stupid,  explaining how individuals should seek out others who can help protect them from harmful biases. A scientific study referenced in the article showed how the functioning of biased brains literally shuts down:

“During the 2004 presidential election, psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University and his colleagues studied the brains of 15 “committed” Democrats and 15 “committed” Republicans with an MRI scanner. Each group was shown a collection of contradictory statements made by George W. Bush and John Kerry. Not surprisingly, the partisans were quick to call out contradictions made by the opposing party, and made up all kinds of justifications to rationalize quotes made by their own side’s candidate. But here’s what’s scary: The participants weren’t just being stubborn. Westen found that areas of their brains that control reasoning and logic virtually shut down when confronted with a conflicting view of their preferred candidate.”


Rather than letting emotions rule the day, the proper approach is to stick to unbiased numbers like valuations, yields, fees, and volatility. If you continually make mistakes; you aren’t disciplined enough; or you don’t like investing; then find a trusted advisor who uses an objective financial approach.  Opportunistically taking advantage of volatility, instead of knee-jerk reactions is the preferred approach. For those people sitting on the sidelines and using selective memory, you may feel better now, but you will eventually have to get in the game, if you don’t want to lose the retirement account game.

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper.

DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients hold positions in certain exchange traded funds (ETFs), but at the time of publishing, SCM had no direct position in any other security referenced in this article. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is the information to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC Contact page.

October 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm Leave a comment

Mobius: The Kojak of Emerging Markets

Kojak substituting lollipops for nicotine.

Lieutenant Theo Kojak, played by Telly Savalas in the 1970s television series Kojak, is a bald, hard-nosed New York City police detective who hunts down criminals. Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management, is a bald, hard-nosed investment manager devoted to hunting down winning stocks in emerging markets. Expanding on his numerous authored books, Mobius recently decided to write his own blog expanding on his global travels and reporting back his investment findings.

Recently Mobius  fielded some questions from his readers, covering emerging markets from China and Brazil to “Frontier” markets like Sri Lanka and Serbia (see also Trade of the Century). Here are a few of the exchanges:

In which countries, regions or sectors are you finding the best values?

“We are finding opportunities in almost all emerging markets. Our ground-up research process locates opportunities in countries where the political or economic outlooks may not, at first appearance, look good. Nevertheless, we generally favor China and Brazil, but also have large positions in Russia, India and Turkey. In terms of sectors, we believe commodity stocks look good because we expect the global demand for commodities to continue its long-term growth. We also favor consumer stocks. With rising per-capita income and strong demand for consumer goods and services in many emerging markets, we believe the earnings growth outlook for these stocks is positive.”


It appears that the financial market has changed, in that one needs to be more skeptical and cautious when investing than in the past. Alan Greenspan said that last year’s crash was unforeseen, and given the uncertainty of the markets and global financing, the big crash could happen again. What say you?

“Actually some analysts did see the crash coming in view of Greenspan’s loose monetary policies. The nature of markets is that there will always be booms and crashes since people tend to get either too optimistic or too pessimistic. The good news is that on average, bull markets have lasted longer than bear markets, and bull markets have gone up in percentage terms more than bear markets have gone down. In terms of other risks, I believe there is still a danger of the unregulated derivatives market.


Do you think Sri Lanka will turn around?

“We believe that Sri Lanka is fundamentally a rich country and that the challenges revolve around how the true potential in tourism, agriculture and industry can be effectively met. We have been investing in Sri Lanka for many years. For us, the biggest challenge in the public market is liquidity. Trading turnover is rather low although we have found some investment bargains.”


Belgrade’s Stock Exchange suffered heavy losses in the 2008 meltdown, with the Belex index falling sharply. I am from Serbia, and so I was thrilled to find out that Franklin Templeton is investing in Serbia.

“Yes, we are interested in the Serbian market and we are now looking at opportunities there. Of course, when markets are down, it is the best time to start looking and Belgrade is definitely on our list. We have already invested in a company in Serbia and look forward to looking more closely at that market.”


Mark Mobius - Not Moby

While Telly Savalas discovered fame 30 years ago from his Kojak role, Mr. Mobius has spent more than 30 years in the emerging markets chasing successful investments. Franklin Templeton Investors should remain happy if Mobius’ picks continue to shine, like his bald, polished crown.

Read Mark Mobius’ Blog

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper. 

DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients own certain exchange traded funds (EEM, FXI, BKF). No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.

December 24, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

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