Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A disclosure about disclosures

Most tell the reader nothing

Disclosures are supposed to inform the reader. However, they seldom do. Disclosures are included in postings on The Hedged Economist because they can shed light on the reasoning in the posting. As argued on March 30, every financial decision has to be viewed in the context of an individual’s objectives and portfolio. Thus, the emphasis is on explaining a line of reasoning so that the reader can make a judgment. If the disclosures fail to add to the discussion or seem annoying, please let me know. I’d be glad to drop them.

When I was very young, I remember my grandma talking with her sons-in-law about picking a broker. Her rules were simple: She never bought or sold a security because a broker brought it up. If he (they were all men back then) claimed to have good recommendations, she wasn’t impressed. If he talked about what research he’d do for her, she’d listen. Service, especially education, was her criteria.

If a broker recommended a security, her first question was always, “Do you own it?”
It wasn’t a question with a right answer: If not: Why not? Why is it good for me and not for you? If yes: Why didn’t you tell me before you bought it? When did you buy it? How many other people did you already put in it/tell about it? Will you tell me before you get out? Does your company own it?

So, never take a disclosure on these postings as a recommendation. I’m not willing to disclose all the information you would need to assess a recommendation. Further, I can’t know all the personal information about individual readers that I’d need before recommending something for any individual. So, if the disclosures don’t help readers understand my reasoning, let me know.

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