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Bookies Finally Lose, While Cat Beats Brokers

21 Jan 2013 9:15 AM -
Given the self important and often overpaid nature of the finance industry, each week often throws up at least one irony.
 
Last week there were two.
 
Firstly, APRA released the rates of return for Australia’s 200 largest superannuation funds.
 
The number one fund over the past five years was the Challenger Retirement Fund, while over nine years it was Goldman Sachs/JBWere’s corporate staff fund.
 
Of course as interesting as who finished first, is who finished last.
 
For those who’ve lost a little too much money on the horses over the years, they’ll be interested to know the Bookmakers Superannuation Fund came last over five years, and second last over nine years!
 
Between June 2008 and June 2012 the Bookmakers Superannuation Fund failed to have one positive yearly return.
 
I don’t know what their strategy is, but by the looks of it they might have done better ‘investing’ at the racetrack!
 
Secondly, the news out of England that a cat named Orlando managed to beat stockbrokers, fund managers and a group of schoolchildren in a stock picking challenge.
 
At the start of 2012 each group invested a hypothetical £5,000 in the FTSE (UK share market); the groups were allowed to revise picks every three months.
 
Orlando picked his stocks by throwing a toy mouse onto a numbered grid, while the experts used their knowledge.
 
After 12 months, Orlando’s portfolio had grown to £5,542, the experts’ portfolio to £5,176, while the schoolchildren’s portfolio fell to £4,840.
 
While the schoolchildren finished last, they did perform the best in the final quarter which led to some misplaced optimism from their deputy headmaster, Nigel Cook.
 
“We are happy with our progress in terms of the ground we gained at the end and how our stock-picking skills have improved,” Mr Cook said.
 
Despite his students being shown up by a cat, Mr Cook still missed the point of the exercise.
 
Stock picking remains futile and you can’t ‘improve your skills’ at it because no one can predict financial markets with any certainty.

It’s never too early to invest in your future