I’ve been sending numerous e-mails letting people know of my article on The Silencing of Academic Researcher Wade Pfau by the Buy-and-Hold Mafia. Set forth below are reports on five responses.
1) Wm. Denis Huber, part of the Core Faculty at Capella University, wrote: “What are you asking me? What do you mean ‘if it pulls you in’?”
I responded: “I am not seeking any particular acton from you or any of the others I have contacted. I am a journalist. I view this as a scandal. People need to know what works in investing and this information is being held from them. I am banned at numerous boards and blogs because I told people the truth about what the recent research in this field says and Buy-and-Hold advocates don’t want people to find out about it. I think people need to know, especially given the evidence that it was the heavy promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies that caused the economic crisis, which has hurt us all in a very serious way. By “pulls you in,” I just mean if the article holds your interest. If it does, you might tell a friend about it. That might help. I want to see people educated about these issues. My profession is a profession that favors the spread of information, I don’t believe that intimidation tactics should be used to stop academic researchers from doing the research they view as important. I know that it sounds shocking to many for me to speak bluntly, but I view this as a massive act of financial fraud. Anyway, I am grateful if you are able to give the article a read. I certainly wish you well in all your future endeavors.”
2) George Rossolatos, Author of the Disruptive Semiotics blog, wrote: “I’m familiar with this ‘script’. It is part of a trilogy (maybe more parts) that might be called ‘Double-binds in a spiraling funfare’.” I responded: “Thanks for being able to appreciate the lighter side of it all. Take care, man.”
3) Dalvinder Singh, a Professor at Warwick School of Law, wrote: “Can you send me the paper and bio as a word document?” I of course did so.
4) Jack Mintz, Director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, wrote: “Thanks for the note. There is a good literature on alternative investment strategies and gains from it so I would be surprised at someone not getting tenure or promotion for working in this area. Always possible for a journal to reject papers in an area forcing someone to choose other journals (I have seen before). But there are outlets. Anyway, Hard to get involved without knowing far more about quality of work, overall teaching and research quality, etc. Academic decisions are complex.”
I responded: “Wade’s paper was indeed published in a credible peer-reviewed journal. And you are of course right that there has been other work along the same lines published in peer-reviewed journals. Wade’s work follows from Shiller’s work, which of course was published over 30 years ago. So please don’t think that I am trying to say that work discrediting Buy-and-Hold is not available. I wouldn’t have the views on stock investing that I have today had I not seen such work. So it’s out there. The problem is more that there are amazing steps taken to discourage such work and thus MOST people do not know about it or do not place much confidence in it because they hear about it so rarely. My aim is to launch a national discussion of the Shiller model (Valuation-Informed Indexing) and of Wade’s research showing the exciting practical implications of Shiller’s model. I want people to know that there are good reasons to reject Buy-and-Hold strategies. It is of course fine if people follow such strategies after hearing about the alternatives. But I want people to know that there are alternatives.
“My personal experience is that I cannot post at any major investing board or blog because I am the person who ten years ago discovered the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies and I have thus been a marked man in the eyes of the Buy-and-Holders ever since. Many of my fellow bloggers have seen what has happened to me and are thus highly reluctant to point out the dangers of Buy-and-Hold themselves. We need that to change to get good discussions started. I like and respect the Buy-and-Holders and I certainly want to hear their side expressed. But I also want those on the other side to feel free to express their sincere views without fear of inappropriate negative consequences being visited on them. Both sides need to speak openly and freely and without fear for the debate to be truly productive.
“Please don’t think that I am trying to be argumentative here. Your comments are perfectly fair and helpful. I sent a response to them because I wanted to be clear that I am NOT saying that there is zero literature available on this. There IS literature. There is more all the time. That’s one of the positive signs. It is my belief that we are going to see big changes following the next crash. I believe there is a pent-up desire for an open discussion of what really works in stock investing. The problem today is that so many people have so much invested (not just financially but emotionally as well) in Buy-and-Hold that it hurts them to hear the concept challenged and people have reacted irrationally. Anyway, thanks much for taking time out of your day to read my words. My warmest wishes to you.”
5) Michel Habib wrote: “Thank you, Rob. I must say I do not work on that. I wish you the best of luck.”