We filter through dozens of investing podcasts for our blog each week to identify the best episodes. Below are our favorites.
Podcasts are reviewed by Validea co-founder Jack Forehand. If you want updates when we add new podcasts, follow us on twitter at @practicalquant.
EconTalk - Bill James
Bill James was one of the pioneers in the use of quantitative analysis in baseball. By analyzing baseball statistics, he was able to prove that many commonly held beliefs about the game were incorrect and the result was a statistical revolution that has taken baseball by storm. This podcast covers many aspects of baseball and how statistical analysis has changed the game, but also delves into broader topics like the difference between science and expertise. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, I think you will find it both interesting and informative.
The Investors Podcast - Richard Duncan
With Quantitative Easing now over and the Fed reducing its balance sheet, it is very important for investors to understand the implications of this change in policy for both the markets and the economy. Doing that, however, requires a good understanding of monetary policy, how it works, and what its impacts are. Many discussions of this topic quickly get into complicated territory that is difficult to understand. This podcast is the opposite of that and provides a great basis for understanding how monetary policy works, and what that means for the situation we currently find ourselves in, with Richard Duncan, publisher of Macro Watch. The discussion also covers some of the history of monetary policy, including the Fed's actions during World War II as well as the 2008 financial crisis. If you want to better understand how monetary policy works, and what that means for investors, this podcast is a great place to start.
The Meb Faber Show - Blair Hull
It is commonly believed in investing that you can't time the market. And the evidence largely backs that up. But much of that evidence refers to human decisions about where the market is going, which are negatively impacted by our emotions and biases. This episode looks at the type of approach that can work to time the market; one based on rules and evidence. Blair Hull is the manager of the Hull Tactical ETF, where he utilizes his rules-based tactical system. This podcast covers that system, how it works, and why he utilizes some less commonly used variables in it. They also cover a bunch of other interesting topics, including Blair's history playing Black Jack, as well as his experience as a market maker during the 1987 crash. Even if you don't believe timing the market is possible, you will learn a lot from this interview.
Invest Like the Best - Ali Hamed
Many venture investors tend to take a conventional approach to the space. They invest in a basket of early stage companies and hope that basket will produce returns of several times their initial investment. Ali Hamed takes an approach that is anything but conventional. When he noticed that early stage companies tended to have issues building their software products, he setup a team at his venture firm to build it for them. When he saw that produce producers needed to find ways to get paid right away instead of waiting for their product to be sold, he built a financing system to fix it. This podcast covers more ground than I can mention here, but it will help you to think differently about how you view problems, and their potential solutions. Whether it be the current state of venture investing, investing in cryptocurrencies, or the importance of empathy in company founders, it takes a look at venture investing in a way you probably have never seen before and that will make you open your eyes to new possibilities.
Capital Allocators - Michael Mauboussin
Any podcast featuring Michael Mauboussin is worth listening to because he is one of the best thinkers in investment management. And this interview did not disappoint. They cover a lot of ground, but the most interesting topic is the discussion of active management and whether better days could be ahead for it. Michael points out that despite the fact the many active managers have underperformed recently, the absolute skill within the space continues to rise. The problem is that relative skill between managers is falling, which makes the market tougher to beat. But he offers some reasons for optimism going forward. Other interesting topics they cover include quantitative analysis in sports and how to optimally build teams. Even if you aren't an active investor in the stock market, I think you will find Michael's insights very valuable.
Million Dollar Plan - Tadas Viskanta
2017 was a year when pretty much everything worked in the market. Stocks had a great year and almost all other asset classes were also up, including bonds and gold. Despite the fact that investing seemed easy in 2017, it won't always be that way and there are still many lessons we can learn from what occurred. This podcast does the best job I have seen of summing the year up with Tadas Viskanta, the curator of the Abnormal Returns blog. They cover topics ranging from volatility to BitCoin to the yield curve. The interview offers a great way to learn from some of the nuances of 2017 to better prepare you for what might happen going forward.
Invest Like the Best - Sheel Tyle
Venture Capital returns have been off the charts in recent years. As more and more venture capitalists and angel investors compete for deals, valuations have continued to rise rapidly. But like all good things, these outsized returns are likely to end at some point, so now is a great time to take a rational, sober look at the industry. This podcast does exactly that with Sheel Tyle, who is only 26 years old, but just raised a $100 million venture fund. The interview covers many aspects of venture capital, including the current state of the industry, and how venture opportunities may currently be greater outside the US. It also takes a high level look at several major areas of venture investing, including cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. If you want to get a balanced look at where Venture Capital is today, and where it might be going in the future, this podcast provides some excellent information.
The Knowledge Project - Chris Voss
This podcast is outside the usual investing topics we cover, but all of us can benefit in many aspects of our lives from being better negotiators. It offers some great insights on that topic from Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. There is no higher stakes form of negotiation than hostage negotiation, and despite the fact that the negotiations most of us do every day at work or in life don't rise to that level, many of the same lessons apply. If you want to learn some very interesting techniques to ensure that both sides get what they want in your negotiations, this podcast offers some great practical advice.
HBR IdeaCast - Mihir Desai
Now that the recent corporate tax cut has passed into law, the focus is shifting to its impact on businesses and the economy. In this podcast Mihir Desai, a professor of finance at Harvard Business School, breaks down the tax cut and looks at its broader impacts. He takes a detailed look at the major provisions of the tax cut, but also looks at many lesser known aspects of it that may have significant impacts on how businesses react to it. If you are looking to understand the tax cut and what it means for investors, this podcast is a great place to start.
The Investors Podcast - Ted Seides
Warren Buffett's bet with Ted Seides that put the S&P 500 up against a group of Hedge Funds over the past decade is about to come to an end with the hedge funds underperforming and Buffett winning. But the back story behind the bet and the factors that led to it working out the way it did are more interesting than the bet itself. This interview with Ted Seides gets into many more of those details, including why the bet worked out the way it did and what it tells you about the market in the past decade. It also covers a variety of other interesting investing topics including the state of the hedge fund industry and what it was like to work for Yale endowment manager David Swensen. Ted Seides has had a unique inside look at Wall Street over the past decade and the insights that come from that make for a very interesting podcast.
Adventures in Finance - Jawad Mian, Peter Boockvar and Jonathan Pain
Regardless of what your view on the market is, it is always good to understand the risks that are out there. That is especially true in a period like the one we are currently in where the market has gone nowhere but up. This podcast takes in depth look at one of those risks; inflation. It does that by interviewing three experts in the area with a diverse set of views. Current economic data doesn't show many signs of inflation, but the market is forward looking, and many argue that the risks of future inflation, which could derail the bull market in stocks and bonds simultaneously, are rising. But whether you believe inflation is coming or not, there are many well thought out arguments on this podcast that make it worth listening to.
The Meb Faber Show - Michael Venuto
With ETFs gaining more and more market share every day, it is interesting to periodically take a look at the landscape to see where we are, and where things are headed in the future. This podcast does just that with Michael Venuto of Toroso Investments. Michael and Meb cover a range of topics, including the concept of active share and why some funds that look inexpensive may actually not be cheap at all, the potential for an ETF that owns stocks not owned by other ETFs, and the prospects for cryptocurrency ETFs in the future. For investors looking for a good quick overview of some interesting topics in the ETF space, this podcast is a great choice.
Invest Like the Best - Jim Higgins and Tom Digan
Commercial real estate is an asset class that many investors are underexposed to. Part of that is the lack of mainstream public investment vehicles, but part of it is also a lack of understanding of the ins and outs of the area. This podcast does a great job of addressing the second part of that by offering a look at commercial real estate investment from the ground up with Jim Higgins and Tom Digan of Sorin Capital. The discussion covers a range of topics, ranging from the publicly available investing options to the current state of the market. The most interesting part, however, is the focus on the current state of retail and its effect on real estate. Many malls and other properties associated with retail have seen very poor returns recently, but a closer look reveals that certain types of properties may have been unfairly punished. If you are interested in learning about the opportunities that has created, or just commercial real estate in general, this is a great podcast to start with.
Beyond the Uniform - Wesley Gray
Wes Gray is one of my favorite people in Finance. Part of that is because he believes in a common sense, quantitative approach to investing like we do, but more of it is because he is able to take very complex information and make it understandable for anyone. This podcast is a little outside of what we normally review because it is geared toward ex members of the military, but the information in it will benefit anyone. They focus on a variety of topics, including the challenges the investment management industry faces today, advice for anyone looking to get a job in the business, and how standard operating procedure from the military can be applied to investing. They also discuss how Wes grew his firm Alpha Architect from a startup to over $800 million in assets today. If you are interested in investing, or just want to learn about the skills it takes to succeed, I think you will find this podcast very beneficial.
Odd Lots - John Alberg and Zachary Lipton
Machine learning is going to revolutionize investing in many ways. But thus far, it has mostly been used for short-term investing and its ability to predict long-term prices has seen mixed results. In a recent research paper, John Alberg and Zachary Lipton try to address this problem in a very interesting way. Instead of trying to use machine learning to predict the future prices of stocks, they instead try to predict future fundamentals, and then use those fundamentals to find the best opportunities to invest in today. And their results are very promising, with performance that is several percent per year above the results using current fundamentals. Applying machine learning to long-term investing is an area that is ripe for exploration, and this podcast offers a great initial look at its potential.
Masters in Business - Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio rarely did interviews prior to the publication of his new book Principles, but we have all been lucky that he has been doing more recently as he moves to the next stage of his life and begins to share what has made him successful with the world. Of all the interviews he did, I think this is the best one. The podcast covers the main topics of his book, including how to run an idea meritocracy and how important it is to fail and learn from it. But what made this interview unique is that it also covered several areas I had not heard covered before, including the role Ray played in creating many of the financial products that are mainstream today and how he was able to "backtest intuition" to boost the effectiveness of his trading strategies. If you want to learn from one of the most successful investors of all time, this podcast is a great place to start.
Adventures in Finance - Mark Mahaney and Jesse Felder
The performance of the FAANG stocks over the past few years has been truly amazing. Their long run of outperformance has led many people to question how long it can continue. After all, past instances of market domination by a small number of firms, whether it be the nifty fifty stocks of the 70s or the tech bubble of the late 90s, have all ended badly. But on the other hand, much of the growth of these firms has been justified by huge increases in the size of their businesses. This podcast looks at this debate by talking to two experts, Mark Mahaney of RBC and Jesse Felder of the Felder Report, who take opposite sides of the issue. The timing of when the FAANG stock dominance will end is obviously impossible to predict, but if you are interested in the facts from both sides of this debate, this podcast is an excellent primer.
Invest Like the Best - Adam Ludwin
Adam Ludwin is one of the most balanced voices on cryptoassets I have heard. Although he is bullish on the technology and is invested in the space, he is also very cognizant on the weaknesses of decentralized networks. Adam is the CEO of Chain and is famous for the letter he wrote to Jamie Dimon on this topic. Interviews with people who are bullish on cryptocurrencies tend to focus on the positives, but this podcast does a great job of presenting a fair and balanced view. One of the major important points is that right now, decentralized networks pretty much universally are not as efficient and cost effective as their centralized counterparts. For example, sending money with something like Venmo is easier and cheaper than sending it with BitCoin. That doesn't mean things will always be this way, as technologies like this tend to grow and improve in ways none of us can envision, but it is the case now. This is just one of many interesting topics they cover on this podcast. If, like me, you are trying to learn as much as possible about this new technology, it is well worth your time.
Masters in Business - Jeremy Schwartz
Jeremy Schwartz is the Director of Research at WisdomTree and host of the Behind the Markets podcast on SiriusXM. This interview offers insights on a variety of investing topics, including the use of dividends and earnings to build factor-based portfolios and hedging strategies for International ETFs. But some of the most interesting parts relate to his career journey, ranging from his research work with Jeremy Siegel and his involvement in the writing of Stocks For the Long Run to the experience of starting his current job right at the beginning of the financial crisis. Factor based investing has become commonplace, but WisdomTree was one of the first to do it, and this podcast gives a firsthand account of that from someone who was there from the beginning.
Bespokecast - Eddy Elfenbein
Eddy Elfenbein is the author of the blog Crossing Wall Street and the manager of the AdvisorShares Focused Equity ETF. This is a wide ranging discussion that covers a number of important investing topics. One of the more interesting points is how important it is to look at wisdom as the output of studying the market more than numbers. When investors see tests and studies that talk about what works in the market, it is more important to focus on what can be learned from the results rather than the results themselves. Another very important point from the discussion is that all investment strategies have both winners and losers. The best strategies might have 55%-60% winners, but no person or strategy is right all the time and it is important to understand that. The focus on important nuances in investing like that make this a very worthwhile podcast.
All Star Charts - Charlie Bilello
Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners is one of the best Twitter follows there is in investing. He offers an evidence based approach to markets that is both interesting and useful. Despite following him on Twitter for a while, this was the first interview I have heard with him. And it delivers the same data driven insights on the market that he provides on Twitter. In addition to a great discussion on where the market currently stands from both a valuation and volatility perspective, this podcast also covers topics like BitCoin as an investment, the role of Gold in a portfolio, and other lesser known things like why the relationship between Gold and Lumber can be an indicator of future volatility. If you are a believer in an evidence based approach to investing, this podcast will be well worth your time.
Capital Allocators - Paul Johnson and Paul Sonkin
As a quant investor, I always like to delve into the world of investment firms that operate differently than we do because it can be a great learning experience. This podcast offers a detailed look at that world by examining the path that an investment idea takes from its creation through to the pitch that an analyst makes to a portfolio manager to get it added to a portfolio. The guests are Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson, who both taught at Columbia Business School. Their new book "Pitch the Perfect Investment" looks at both how to come up with winning investment ideas and how to sell them once you have them. That combination makes the book unique among investment books I have seen. This podcast discusses those processes in detail, but also looks at many other interesting areas of investing, including why it has become so much more difficult to beat the market and the characteristics that are important in good portfolio managers.
Invest Like the Best - Connor Leonard
The quantitative investment space has become very crowded. As more and more people use quant models, it becomes harder and harder to find anomalies to exploit. But does that open up an opportunity for qualitative investors who can analyze a company in depth and potentially find things that computers cannot? Connor Leonard thinks so. He utilizes a very interesting approach to qualitative value investing that focuses on companies with sustainable moats. His criteria for distinguishing companies based on the type of moat they possess is very interesting. He differentiates companies with a legacy moat, companies that can expand their moat through reinvestment, and companies that can expand their moat with no investment at all. That distinction can be very important for future investment returns. If you are interested in value investing, this podcast is a great one for expanding your knowledge base.
The Meb Faber Show
This podcast uses a radio show format and it covers a variety of different topics, all of which are important for long-term investors to understand. The initial focus is on the recent discussions that Meb had with investors during his office hours, which presented some common themes with respect to the mistakes investors have been making. After that, they cover a bunch of interesting topics, including valuing the market using CAPE, Buffett's recent comments that the market is cheap when compared to other alternatives, and why investing based on dividend yield can be a big problem for taxable accounts. So many things investors do are not backed up by evidence and this episode does a good job of counteracting a lot of that using facts.
One of the things all of us who invest have in common is that we make mistakes and are subject to investing biases. Some people believe that professionals are less prone to this, but that really isn't the case. The first episode of this new podcast from Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson of Ritholtz Wealth Management proves this point with some funny stories from both of their investing experiences. Michael and Ben combine a very strong depth of knowledge with the ability to not take themselves too seriously and this new podcast will certainly become one I follow regularly going forward.