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.
The Meb Faber Show - Tobias Carlisle
Value stocks and strategies have been on the ropes for a long period of time. But that doesn't deter the biggest proponents and students of value. This commitment to value investing shines through in Meb Faber's talk with Tobias Carlisle of Acquirer's Funds. Carlisle, who recently launched a 130/30 long/short ETF focusing on buying the cheapest stocks in the market using the Acquirer's Multiple (Enterprise Value-to-EBIT (or operating cash flow) and shorting expensive, low quality stocks, explains the findings of his research on value. One key observation is that investing in the most beaten down stocks in the market can lead to strong performance, especially if chosen through the lens of the Acquirer's Multiple. Carlisle also outlines his shorting strategy in more detail. This is a good podcast for anyone who is looking to further educate themselves on deep quant-like value investing.
The Curious Investor - Cliff Asness and Wes Gray
Buying assets with strong price momentum sounds easy enough, right? Well, as this podcast points out "things get a little trickier" with momentum investing once you get into the details and start asking yourself "why" momentum works as a factor. The podcast toggles between clips with Cliff Asness, principle of AQR, a leading quantitative investment manager, and Wes Gray, CEO or Alpha Architect and expert on quantitative investing. They help distinguish between the two different types of momentum: trend following and relative strength. Asness & Gray discuss some of the theories behind the "why" momentum works in the first place. Concepts like "under-reaction" to news, fundamentals (i.e. earnings surprise), the "disposition effect" and things like "reflectivity", which is the idea that instead of fundamentals driving strong price momentum one could say that strong price momentum (i.e. a higher stock price) influences fundamentals. The risk associated with momentum investing along with the ability for investors to fully accept buying assets as the price continues to increase are further explanations why the momentum premium persists.
The North Star Podcast - Jason Zweig
Jason Zweig is one of the best financial writers of our time. His column in The Wall Street Journal, The Intelligent Investor, is always a must read. In this interview, Zweig discusses some one of the most admirable qualities about Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger he has observed over the years and the importance of the consistency of their views on the market and investing. That "constant" message is "rare in the business community and in public life as well". Zweig discusses the importance of mean reversion in investing as well. He explains that most investors do the exact opposite of what they should be doing and are "procyclical". Investors buy more stocks or take more risk when prices are increasing, not when they fall. The rest of the conversation focuses on Zweig writing process, background, and those who have been most influential in his life.
The Acquirer's Podcast - Dan Rasmussen
They say to be successful in investing, you have to think differently. You have to find an area of the market that is unloved and take a contrarian view in order to find an opportunity for excess returns. This sums up what Dan Rasmussen of Verdad Capital has done with his approach of finding cheap small-cap value stocks that use leverage to magnify returns. In this talk with Toby Carlisle, Dan talks about how he tries to reproduce private equity returns in the public markets and why using discounted cash flow analysis to predict the future is nearly impossible. He also discusses the balance between importance and knowability when evaluating variables that impact stock returns and why a variable must have both to be useful. He goes on to further explain his use of models in his investment process and much more.
Bogleheads on Investing - Wesley Gray
It can be very difficult for many investors to understand what it takes to follow focused factor-based portfolios. When you look at the long-term returns of focused portfolios that invest in a factor like value, they can seem like a no brainer to invest in. But few investors understand the pain that must be endured to get there. This interview with Wes Gray of Alpha Architect does the best job I have seen of putting focused factor investing in the right context. They talk about the long-term premium that a factor like value can produce, but they also discuss the decade plus periods of underperformance that investors can be required to sit through to get that premium. They also provide an excellent framework for analyzing a factor-based approach using both the expected premium and the fees required to get it. If you are interested in focused factor investing and want a balanced take on what it involves, you will learn a lot from this interview.
The Meb Faber Show - Aswath Damodaran
Many investors tend to use valuation models that are older than they are. While the principles of some of those models can still offer value, an unwillingness to adapt them to modern times can lead to significant missed opportunities. For example, companies like Amazon and Google have become some of the largest in the world, while valuation models have considered them overvalued the whole way up. Aswath Damodaran is one of my favorite people to read on valuation because he understands this fact and has evolved his valuation models over time to reflect it. In this episode, they focus on the Uber and Lyft IPOs and what his valuation models say about them, but they also cover several other other major technology players, including Amazon and Apple. They also discuss why all the negative attention that has been given to stock buybacks may be misplaced. If you are interested in stock valuation and how it can be applied to the technology companies that dominate the modern age, you will enjoy this interview.
The Long View - Wiliam Bernstein
Listening to any interview with William Bernstein is always a lesson in investing perspective. This is one of the best podcast interviews he has done and is full of lessons that will put things in the proper long-term context. For example, they talk about why the odds are in favor of value investing working going forward, but also discuss why it is important to understand that its return to favor isn't a certainty. They also talk about why processes that work in the long-term often do not in the short-term, why valuation averages are not stationary over time, and why more choice often leads to inferior results in investing. The day to day movements of the markets can lead us all to occasionally lose our long-term perspective. This podcast will help you get it back.
The Acquirer's Podcast - Jesse Felder
No matter what you think about the market, it is always good to see the other side. With the decade plus long run that equities have had, it can be difficult for some to envision them ever going down. At times like this, it can be helpful to take a step back and realize that there is another side to the argument. This podcast presents an excellent summary of that argument with Jesse Felder of the Felder Report. They discuss a variety of potential areas for concern, including high valuations by historical standards, expectations that may have gotten out of sync with reality, and the inverted yield curve. They also talk about the record high profit margins that company's currently have and the potential for mean reversion, which may be the key to whether the market can sustain current valuations going forward. We all know that trying to time market tops is impossible. But that doesn't mean that it isn't important to understand where we are in the market cycle and the factors that drive that. This podcast will help you do that.
Standard Deviations - Jamie Catherwood
When modern investors think about financial history, they tend to only consider things that have occurred in their own lifetimes. Even those who put in the extra work to look further back tend to only make it back as far as the Great Depression. But there is so much more to it than that. This interview with Jamie Catherwood of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management focuses on the part of history that most of us know nothing about. They talk about what has changed throughout history, but also what has stayed the same, like the ability of our emotions to get the best of us. If you want to learn more about market history and what it can teach us, you will enjoy this podcast.
i3 Institute Podcast - Simon Russell
Despite many advances in the study of behavioral finance, poor decision making continues to be the biggest detractor from investor returns. This podcast offers an excellent overview of the negative impacts that behavior has on our investing and some potential ways to minimize them. They talk about a wide range of behavioral topics, including how behavioral nudges can eventually lead to major improvements, the danger of anchoring, and how to separate signal from noise. It is common for us to think that behavioral problems affect others, but not ourselves. This podcast will help you understand we are all prone to behavioral biases and will show you some methods that can help you minimize them.
System Trader - Gary Antonacci
Many investors think that all momentum strategies are the same. But the reality is that behind the scenes, the differences can be substantial. This interview with Gary Antonacci offers an excellent overview of momentum investing. They discuss the academic theory behind momentum and how that theory is translated into practical investment strategies. They also talk about the lookback periods that work best for momentum strategies, the benefits of using a dual momentum approach that combines absolute and relative momentum, and the importance of sticking with an investment strategy over time. If you want to better understand momentum investing, this podcast offers an excellent overview.
Macro Musings - Andrew Park
The market for collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) has grown rapidly in recent years, which has caused many to worry they could be at the center of causing a future financial crisis. This is especially true given that their name reminds many of the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that were at the center of the great financial crisis. But before you draw conclusions about what is going on with CLOs, it is first important to understand what they are, and how they differ from the CDOs that caused so many problems in 2008. This podcast takes an in depth look at CLOs with Andrew Park, who is a senior editor at a senior editor at S&P LCD. They discuss how the products work, their impact on the financial system, and whether they truly pose a systemic risk. If you want to better understand these often misunderstood instruments, this podcast will provide the details you need.
Trillions - Zach Mider and Rachel Evans
Many investors know that tax efficiency is a major advantage of ETFs. But most investors don't understand the behind the scenes process that makes that possible. A recent Bloomberg article caused some controversy in the ETF industry by challenging that process and questioning whether it provides unfair benefits for large institutions. This podcast offers a balanced take on both sides of that issue. They discuss how the ETF creation and redemption process benefits individual investors, but also how the deferred tax revenue may benefit investors at the expense of other taxpayers. If you want to better understand how ETFs work and the tradeoffs that come with that, you will enjoy this podcast.
ETF Prime - Wes Gray
Investors love factor investing in theory, but they don't love it nearly as much in practice. The strong long-term returns that factors produce can be very alluring. Unfortunately, those returns typically come with multi-year periods of underperformance that can be too much for most investors to take. The end result of all of this is that many factor portfolios end up becoming watered down to try to avoid the extended bad periods and don't look all that different from the major market indexes they are trying to beat. This discussion with Wes Gray of Alpha architect tackles this topic. They cover what it takes to truly follow focused factor portfolios and why closet indexing has become so prevalent. If you want to understand what it takes to truly follow factors, you will learn a lot from this discussion.
Standard Deviations - Christine Benz
In investing, the things that work are typically the things that do the most to promote good behavior. Even if something doesn't change our investment approach, if it changes the way we view the approach, it can make us more likely to stick with it. Bucketing is a great example of this. If you mix your stocks, bonds and cash together all in one place, you are likely to look at them as one thing. But if you segment things into short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term buckets, it can better associate each with its specific purpose and make it easier to adhere to your investment strategy. In this interview with Christine Benz of Morningstar, they discuss this topic and the many intricacies of implementing it in a portfolio. They also talk about the behavioral reasons it works. If you find it hard to adhere to your retirement strategy or are prone to making changes that don't always work out the way you planned, the bucketing approach is one that is worth considering. This podcast will give you the details on how it works.
Invest Like the Best - Geoffrey Batt
To be honest, I didn't even know that Iraq had a stock market. But if you want to illustrate the concept that massive returns typically come with massive risk there probably is no better place to look. This episode looks at what transformational risk really means with Geoffrey Batt, who manages a fund that invests directly in Iraqi equities. When those of us who invest in US markets buy a high-flying tech stock or invest in a troubled company in hopes of a turnaround, we consider that risk. But when you invest in companies on a stock exchange that opens for a few hours a day, two days a week and where all the trading is done on paper, you get a different understanding of what the term means. This podcast talks about Geoffrey's journey from someone who was interesting in the Iraqi market to building a fund to actually invest in it. They discuss the many challenges he has faced along the way and the outlook for the Iraqi market going forward. If you think you understand risk, this podcast may make you rethink that definition.
i3 Institute Podcast - Rich Pzena
With value investing becoming more and more quantitative as time goes by, it is important for all of us to keep in mind that these types of systems aren't foolproof. Although they certainly have big benefits in terms of removing emotion from investing and enforcing discipline, there are still advantages to human analysis. This podcast was a good reminder of that. It features Rich Pzena, who has a very strong reputation within value investing circles and uses an approach that is the opposite of quantitative in many ways. They discuss the downsides of quantitative investing and how human intervention can enhance screens. They also talk about the importance of normalized earnings, how values can be found in the wake of Amazon's moves into certain industries, and why value and excess financial leverage are a dangerous mix. If you are a believer in quantitative value investing and want to combat your confirmation bias, you will find this podcast very informative.
Capital Allocators - Dan Ariely
It sometimes seems like every interesting investing factor that can be discovered already has been. Whether it be value or momentum or quality, there are more factors out there than I can count. So it is rare to listen to an interview that offers something truly new and unique. This interview met that criterion, though. It is with Dan Ariely who is a professor at Duke and an expert in Behavioral Economics. Dan's research has shown that you can build a portfolio that beats the market based solely on how companies treat their people. This interview talks about the factors he uses to measure that in detail as well as many other interesting topics, including his study of pain and how to develop employee compensation schemes that work. If you like outside the box thinking, you will really enjoy this episode.
Invest Like the Best - Michael Mauboussin
Repeat interviews can often offer little new information. But Michael Mauboussin's interviews on Invest Like the Best are certainly an exception to this rule. Every new interview seems to offer more useful information than the previous one. In this discussion, they talk about the major sources of alpha and the challenges of capitalizing on each of them in the real world. They also discuss why individual irrational actors don't make markets as a whole irrational, the implications of benign myths, and the limitations of valuation metrics. If you want to learn how to make better investing decisions, there is no one better to follow than Michael Mauboussin. This interview will show you why.
The Investing City Podcast - Dan Rasmussen
Investors love to chase the hot thing. But that rarely ends well. Two of the hottest things out there today are private equity and so-called "glamour stocks". Both have done well over the past decade. The evidence suggests that their outlook going forward may not be so bright. This interview with Dan Rasmussen of Verdad Capital explains why. Dan's research has shown that the returns of private equity can be replicated using a factor-based approach by investing in small, cheap stocks that responsibly use debt. In the interview, they talk about why private equity may be selling investors a false bill of goods. They also discuss factor investing in general and its strengths and weaknesses. It may be tempting to believe that private equity loses less in bear markets or that companies with high profit margins and ivy league educated CEOs are the best investments, but when you look at the evidence, none of that is true. This interview uses evidence to help dispel those and many other common myths.
The Acquirer's Podcast - Corey Hoffstein
There are so many decisions that need to be made in investing. Some of those decisions are pretty clear cut. But in many cases that is not the case. Detailed decisions like which value investing metric to follow or which trend following indicator to use can bog down many investors. In these cases, however, often the best decision is to not make a decision at all and to limit risk by using all the available options. That is just one of the many great insights in this interview with Corey Hoffstein of Newfound Research. Corey's focus on risk is unique in a world where everyone is chasing returns. But that focus also allows him to better understand all the aspects of risk than other people do. In addition to the many aspects of risk, they also discuss topics like combining value with trend, the mechanics of building a value strategy, and the difficulty of determining when a factor no longer works. We all could benefit from thinking a little less about return and a little more about risk. This podcast will help you do that.
Invest Like the Best - Annie Duke
If you had to come up with one skill that leads to successful outcomes in investing, it would likely be good decision making. But with all the information that is thrown at us these days and all the biases that work against us, the ability to tune out the noise and make good decisions is getting more difficult. Annie Duke doesn't come from the world of investing, but the principles of good decision making she teaches couldn't be more applicable. In this interview, they talk about a variety of methods we can use to make better decisions. They discuss the benefits of using rules to limit decisions, why making fewer mistakes is a better standard than perfection, and how you can look at being wrong as winning the game. If you can control your emotions and make good decisions in investing, you will greatly increase your chances of success. This podcast offers a framework to do that.
Masters in Business - Matthew Granade
Steve Cohen's hedge fund Point72 is a very secretive operation. It is rare to see someone from the firm do a public interview, much less an hour long in-depth podcast. This really interesting discussion with Matthew Garande, the Chief Market Intelligence Officer at Point72, offers many excellent insights into the firm, how it is run, and how they approach markets. Point72 has been a leader in the integration of big data and artificial intelligence and they discuss how each of those has impacted their investment process. They also discuss the dangers of overfitting models, the importance of blending people with machines, and why alpha is getting harder and harder to come by. If you are interested in learning how data and quantitative models have and will continue to change investing, you will really enjoy this discussion.
Standard Deviations - Corey Hoffstein
We all want to have it all. We want to achieve our investing goals, and we want the road to get there to be a smooth one. And that is also true of our factor investing strategies. We want them to beat the market, and we want to do it consistently. But that isn't reality. This podcast with Corey Hoffstein is one of the best factor investing podcasts I have heard because it does an excellent job of presenting the balance between return and risk. Or as Corey puts it, if you want the premium, you need to be willing to endure the pain. In addition to that, they also talk about the role of luck in investing, the pros and cons of the various methods of combining factors. and how to determine if a factor no longer works. If you want a master class in factor investing, this podcast will provide it.
MacroVoices - Barry Ritholtz
Barry Ritholtz doesn't do podcasts too often (other than his own), but it is always great when he does because he offers one of the most balanced and evidence-based views on the markets that you will find. In this interview, Barry makes the long-term case for equities and why he thinks we are in a secular bull market. He also offers his opinion on some of the risks to the market going forward including potential rising interest rates, China's rising debt, and the issues surrounding low quality debt. Although Barry's market commentary is spot on as usual, it isn't the best part of this interview. There is nothing like a good podcast rant, and Barry delivers one of the best I have seen in his destruction of Crony Capitalism and how it has unfairly turned many against capitalism in general. So come to this interview for the great perspective on the market, but stay for one of the best podcast rants you will ever hear. Both make this podcast an excellent listen.