We filter through dozens of episodes each week to identify the best investing podcasts. 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.
Capital Allocators - Ben Reiter
It is often said that to be successful in investing you need to value process over outcome. The concept seems so simple in theory, but in practice most investors are not successful in the implementation of it. The reason is that negative short-term outcomes tend to be very hard to endure, and the pain associated with them often leads investors to abandon their process. This podcast offers an excellent example from the sports world of how consistent adherence to a process through difficult times can produce amazing long-term results. It features Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter, who has written an excellent book chronicling the path of the Houston Astros, who went from one of the worst teams in baseball to winning a championship in 2017. They did it by finding a process that combined data and human intuition that they had conviction in and sticking with it through the years of losing that it took to see it through, despite the significant public pressure that comes from being one of the worst teams in baseball. Although this podcast is largely about sports, the parallels to investing and life are very strong. If short-term outcomes sometimes cause you to doubt the process you are following, this podcast offers a great lesson on the benefits of staying the course.
Trillions - Matt Hougan
Perhaps the biggest race going on in investing right now is the battle to launch the first crypto ETF. Most people believe that the first to launch an ETF may attract $1 billion or more very quickly after getting a fund to market. The problem, however, is that the SEC has been rejecting all applications and isn't showing signs of changing that stance in the near term. This podcast covers the quest to get a crypto ETF approved with Matt Hougan of Bitwise Asset Management, which is one of the firms with an ETF currently in registration. They talk about the issues that have prevented the approval of a crypto ETF and how those issues are being addressed in an effort to meet the SEC's standards. They also talk about the state of crypto in general and its proper allocation within a portfolio. There is a lot of coverage of the prospects for a potential crypto ETF, but not a lot of the nuanced issues that will determine whether we see one. This podcast fills in that gap.
The Curious Investor - Ronen Israel and Sarah Jiang
If you are a factor investor and had to pick any firm that you would like to see start a podcast, AQR would probably be at the top of the list. They did just that earlier this week. This episode offers an excellent overview of what factor investing is and how it works. They discuss what makes a factor worth following, the different factors that have stood the test of time, and offer some unique insights into their implementation of factor investing (such as their use of momentum relative to a firm's industry rather than the market as a whole). They also cover the benefits of combining different factor approaches together and the persistence required to implement a factor-based approach over time. If you want to learn about factors, the firm that knows more about them than anyone else is probably a good place to start. This podcast offers some of their excellent insights on the topic.
Odd Lots - Srinivas Thiruvadanthai
Interviews with economists often tend to offer very similar perspectives to each other. Those who follow standard economic theory usually interpret events in similar ways and also avoid relating economics to markets. This interview was refreshing in that it offers a very different perspective and does an excellent job of tying economic theory together with financial markets. The guest is Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, who is the Director of Research at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center. He looks at economics from a profits perspective, which leads to very different conclusions that traditional models. They discuss why interest rates and Fed policy may not be as important to the economy as many think, the potential impacts of trade wars on the economy, and why credit is a big issue in emerging markets when exports arent't rising., among many other topics. If you are tired of hearing the same economic interpretation of events over and over again, this interview offers a unique perspective.
i3 Institute Podcast - Corey Hoffstein
One of the interesting things that happens with factor investing (and investing in general) is the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know for certain. Corey Hoffstein is one of the most knowledgeable people out there on the topic of factor investing, but he also is one of the first to point out its challenges and the substantial uncertainty that exists with respect to what will work in the future. This interview does an excellent job of not only presenting the facts about factor investing and trend following in an easy to understand manner, but also looking at the drawbacks. They cover a lot of ground, including why the pain of substantial periods of underperformance is necessary for factor investing to work, why sequence risk is extremely important in retirement planning, and why looking at trend following as insurance may lead to better adherence to the strategy during periods it doesn't work. They also have a very interesting discussion about who might be on a quant Mount Rushmore. If you want an honest and direct take on quantitative investing, this interview will be well worth your time.
The Meb Faber Show
Opportunities to grow your investments tax free (outside of retirement accounts) are very rare. If you make money in investing, the government is going to take their share. But recent legislation has setup Opportunity Zones throughout the country that are an exception to that rule. The government has identified areas in need of development and has setup major tax incentives to bring capital to them. Investors can sell their current investments that have gains and defer tax on those gains if the proceeds are reinvested in funds that invest in these zones. The investments in the zones are also tax free if they are held for 10 years. The incentive covers Real Estate within the zones (not personal residences) and companies that have their assets within them. This podcast covers all the major details of this new system with Steve Glickman, the CEO of Economic Innovation Group. They discuss both the basics of this new system as well as all the fine print and restrictions. If you are a taxable investor, it isn't often that you get a chance to potentially make money without paying tax. This podcast offers one such opportunity.
Masters in Business - Rob Arnott
If you wanted to learn about factor investing, Rob Arnott is certainly one of the first few people you would want to listen to. Every interview he does is like a masterclass on the topic. This podcast is no different. They discuss a wide range of factor investing topics including breaking down performance attribution between growth and change in valuation multiples, why breaking the link with price is key to the success of factor strategies, and why investing in the top ten companies in the S&P 500 isn't a winning long-term strategy. They also address the similarities and differences between the 1999 tech bubble and the current market and talk about why valuations matter for factor strategies themselves just like they do for stocks. Every Rob Arnott interview is a great opportunity to learn more about factor investing. This one did not disappoint.
The Knowledge Project - Annie Duke
In the 2015 Super Bowl, the Seahawks had second and one on the one yard line at the end of the fourth quarter and were about to score the winning touchdown. They had one of the best running backs in the game and everyone assumed they would run the ball. But in what many people call the worst decision in Super Bowl history, they ran a pass play, and the pass was intercepted. But was it really a bad call? It turns out based on what was known before the decision, it was not, and many people are judging it based on the result and not the decision-making process. This podcast with pro poker player Annie Duke explores the topic of decision making and how our biases and egos can often lead to incorrect decisions. They cover many aspects of making sound decisions, including why it is more important to be accurate than to be right, how not to confuse competency with certainty, and why pain can get in the way of learning. Making better decisions is something all of us can learn to do. This podcast will help with that process.
The Meb Faber Show
With long-term expected returns very low for both stocks and bonds, investors are constantly looking for other areas to invest in that could help boost future performance. One area that is often overlooked because there aren't a lot of publicly traded options is farmland. This podcast des an excellent job of providing an overview of the space and the case for considering farmland as a potential investment. The guest is David Gladstone of Gladstone Capital, who runs a farmland REIT and has decades of experience in the area. They discuss all the major aspects of farmland, including why the crops that can be grown on a specific piece of land are so important in valuation, how farmland can be a potential inflation hedge, and the role automation is playing in the present and will in the future. This is a space very few people know about or invest in and this podcast does a good job of laying out the reasons farmland is worth considering.
According to Sources - Michael Batnick
There is a common belief among investors that the best way to be successful is to avoid making mistakes. The reality, however, is that mistakes in investing are unavoidable. Even the best investment strategies are often right only slightly more than they are wrong. So the key isn't avoiding mistakes. It is learning from them. This interview with Michael Batnick of Ritholtz Wealth Management drives that point home very well by looking at some of the biggest mistakes from some of the best investor's of all time. The mistakes themselves are very interesting, but the common threads among them offer really valuable lessons for every investor. Rules like staying in your lane, avoiding excessive leverage, and holding yourself accountable apply to all investors and not just these investment legends. Studies show that we learn much more from our failures than our successes and this podcast and the book will help you do that.
Masters in Business - John Carreyrou
In retrospect, scandals always seem like they were obvious at the time. But it is never that simple. There are usually a select few people who see the scandal well before it becomes public, but by definition most people don't see it coming until it is too late. In the case of the Theranos scandal, the person largely responsible for bringing the truth to light was John Carreyrou of the Wall Street Journal. His reporting, despite significant threats from the company, made the company's deception public, and his book Bad Blood tells the complete story of the events that led to it. The book has as many twists and turns as a good fictional suspense novel because of the depth of the fraud and the lengths the company went to in order to cover it up. Whether you have followed the scandal or not, this podcast and the book both do an excellent job of telling the story from the perspective of the man who broke it.
All About Your Benjamins
Socially responsible and ESG Investing are areas that are not widely understood by many investors. This podcast offers an excellent overview of the area from the ground up. It features Joey Fishman of Ritholtz Wealth Management. ESG Investing is a way to use your money to try to make a positive impact on the world, but like many things in investing, it comes with trade-offs. The major trade off in this case can be lower returns, and managing the balance between impact and return is key to successful implementation. But there is more nuance to the discussion than there may seem because certain areas of ESG come with greater return impact than others and behavioral issues also come into play. This podcast does a great job of looking at all the relevant issues. If you want to learn more about ESG investing, it is a great place to start.
Planet MicroCap - Tobias Carlisle
Investing in businesses that are both cheap and have high returns on capital seems like a very sensible strategy. After all, if a business is producing strong returns for its stakeholders then you would assume that would lead to outperforming returns for its shareholders. But there are two problems with that. First, the market prices in known information so if a firm has a high return on capital, the market price likely reflects that. Second, return on capital tends to be mean reverting, so most companies with high returns on capital can't sustain it over time as competitors try to infringe on their turf. It turns out that eliminating the return on capital part and just buying cheap stocks works much better over time. This interview with Tobias Carlisle, author of the Acquirer's Multiple, talks about why that is and his strategy for selecting cheap stocks. Value investing has certainly struggled for a long time now, but it won't forever. This interview offers a simple, systematic strategy that is worth looking at for those who believe in its eventual return to prominence.
MacroVoices - Dr. Pippa Malmgren
Although trying to invest in anticipation of geopolitical events is extremely difficult, it is still important to keep tabs on what is going on in the world, and how it might impact financial markets. This podcast takes a high-level look at the current world political landscape and its implication for investors. It features Dr. Pippa Malmgren, who is called upon by major governments for her insights on these topics. They discuss the current China trade war and the situation with North Korea and how the two are linked. The most interesting part of the discussion, however, is the topic of social media data mining. Even as someone who follow this area closely, I was shocked by some of the things countries and corporations are able to do to monitor people. If you are interested in what is going on in the world and how it relates to your own privacy, this is a great podcast to listen to.
Capital Allocators - Anthony Scaramucci
For those who are only familiar with Anthony Scaramucci through his brief stint in the Trump administration, this interview will probably come as quite a surprise because the person in this discussion bares little resemblance to the one the media depicted during that period. This interview is packed with both business and life lessons and focuses on both what he learned during that period and the lessons he took from building his very successful fund of funds SkyBridge Capital. Among those lessons are the importance of resiliency and accountability, why you should hire slowly and fire quickly, and why what you think you know is much more dangerous than what you don't. Sometimes the perceptions of public figures can vary wildly from the reality. This interview is a great example of that.
Flirting With Models - John Alberg
There is perhaps no more interesting debate right now in the world of investment management than the potential impact of machine learning. On one side, some argue that the technology will revolutionize the business and offer the potential for significant outperformance for those who utilize it properly. On the other, some argue that the new technology is just another form of data mining and that many of the relationships it finds will not be predictive of future returns. As someone who is on the fence, I found this conversation to be very useful in understanding the space, its potential, and the possible pitfalls. It features John Allberg, founder of Euclidean Technologies and an expert in the field. They discuss the different types of machine learning and how each can be applied to investing. They also look at why machine learning may be better at predicting future company fundamentals than future stock prices. If you are as interested in this new space as I am, you will enjoy this conversation. It goes beyond the basics and covers many interesting aspects of implementing machine learning in the real world.
The Meb Faber Show
This podcast is great because of its depth. It doesn't feature a guest, but it covers a wide variety of issues that are relevant for investors in the new world of investing. They talk about Warren Buffett's recent assertion that investors would be better off without earnings guidance, why investors continue to have unrealistic expectations for short-term performance, and the pro and cons of holding cash. They also discuss how trusted sources sometimes don't do what's right for those who follow them using the examples of a famous radio personality who claims his portfolio beats the market every year, and a robo advisory firm that automatically investing their clients in a product with lots of hidden fees. There are many other interesting topics as well. Sometimes the most important truths in investing take some digging to get to the bottom of. This podcast helps to uncover them.
Invest Like the Best - Niel Roberson
Media has changed drastically in the past decade. Strategies that worked for long periods of time are no longer successful and traditional companies are struggling to keep up, while mew media companies who understand the current landscape are thriving. This podcast delves into what has changed and how companies can be successful in this new world. It features Niel Roberson, who sold his first company for almost $300 million when he was just 24 and has built several other companies since. They discuss how to build a brand today, look at why personal brands have become more important than their corporate counterparts, and evaluate the major social media platforms to identify the ones that are best setup for success going forward. They also discuss some less often covered topics like esports and digital collectibles. If you are looking for a blueprint for how to build a successful business in the digital age, this podcast is a great starting point.
All About Your Benjamins
This is a short podcast, but it answers a really important question, and it does so through the experiences of some of the brightest minds currently working in finance. The question is "What is the one thing about money you wish someone told you when you were younger?". Because of the compounding nature of investing, lessons learned early pay huge dividends later on so these insights are particularly valuable for those just starting out. But regardless of your investing stage, it pays to learn from those who preceded you. I won't give all the lessons away here, but in general many of them come down to two important principles: invest early, and invest as much as you can. But there are many more great ones. I recommend you listen to the podcast to hear the rest.
Flirting With Models - Jack Vogel
There are so many misconceptions about investing using momentum-based strategies. Investors tend to think of value investing as a low risk approach and momentum as something comparable to the Wild West, with huge amounts of risk and volatility. It turns out much of that isn't true, though. This interview with Jack Vogel of Alpha Architect offers the most comprehensive overview of momentum I have seen. They discuss the academic data supporting momentum, and how to properly implement it in an investment strategy. They cover a wide range of issues that need to be considered when using momentum including the importance of having a "why" behind your investment strategy, the role of investor behavior, the impact of trading costs, and the pros and cons of a sector neutral approach. Momentum is widely considered one of the most robust factors. This podcast does a great job explaining why that is and how to utilize it in practice.
Invest Like the Best - Eric Balchunas
Any examination of the future of investing has to have a heavy focus on ETFs. Their inherent advantages over mutual funds have led to a massive flow of money into them, and the trend is likely to only build over time. Despite their growth, many investors don't fully understand ETFs, how they work, and the significant advantages they offer investors. This podcast will help to fix that. It features Eric Balchunas of Bloomberg, who is one of the most knowledgeable people there is in the space. They cover the advantages of ETFs, the current landscape and why the winners are taking either a low fee or shiny object approach, and where things are likely headed in the future. Whether you currently use ETFs or not, understanding them is key to building a comprehensive investment approach. This podcasts offers the facts to do that.
Super Investors - Ben Hunt
Narratives play a huge role in pretty much every aspect of our lives. Those who can master the game of controlling what you think about what everyone else thinks end up wielding enormous power in this world, and many of them don't use that power for good. This podcast discusses this "Common Knowledge Game" with Ben Hunt, the curator of the excellent Epsilon Theory blog. Figuring out how the game is played and the widespread implications it has on our lives can really be an eye-opening experience. I can't do nearly as good a job of explaining it here as they do on the podcast so I highly recommend you listen yourself. Anyone who wants to understand more about how markets and our world in general work will benefit from the discussion.
Masters in Business - Raife Giovinazzo
It is widely accepted that behavioral issues are extremely detrimental to investors' long-term returns. The human brain is in many ways not wired to achieve investing success. What is not widely talked about is how to profit from this by building an investing strategy that takes advantage of the behavioral mistakes of others. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management has built such a strategy. This podcast features Dr. Raife Giovinazzo, who manages the firm's behavioral small-cap fund, which has beaten over 95% of his peers over the last 5 years. They discuss how their investment process takes advantage of the mistakes of others, while also showing the discipline to not introduce their own biases into the equation. They also talk about things like the rise of passive investing and why it may be better to do something you love instead of what you love most in your career. Outside the box investing approaches are often the most interesting and this podcast details one that certainly fits that bill.
Capital Allocators - Brian Portnoy
Many people define wealth by how much money they have in their bank account or the value of their material possessions. But study after study has shown that those things are not all that correlated with happiness. Brian Portnoy's new book The Geometry of Wealth deals with this issue and looks at the true definition of wealth. In this podcast, they cover the details of the book as well as his previous book and look at what makes people truly wealthy. They talk about how to get off the never-ending treadmill of trying to get more and focus on the things that lead to a happier more successful life. They also analyze a variety of concepts related to money and investments, including volatility as a measure of risk, liquidity as an option to change your mind, and why behavior is so important in driving good financial outcomes. All of us can get caught up in the rat race to get more and more. This podcast offers a far superior alternative.
Bespokecast - Jim O'Shaughnessy
When you listen to Jim O'Shaughnessy being interviewed on a podcast, the conversation typically centers around factor investing. And that makes sense because there is probably no one who knows more about the topic. This podcast was very interesting, though, in that it took a different approach and covered a variety of topics outside that area. They discussed rational expectations theory and its role in changing Economics, how venture capital has evolved throughout Jim's career, and his thoughts on succession in business as they relate to the recent successsion within his own firm. Factor investing is certainly covered as well, but the best part of the interview was the diversity of topics they were able to spend time on. If you want to hear some insights from Jim on areas you typically don't, this is a great interview to listen to.