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Asset Management

March 7th, 2008  · stk

Philip Coggan has written an excellent report on the asset management business, in this month's issue of "The Economist". An interview with the author is presented. If you invest, you owe it to yourself to hear what Philip has to say about fund managers, fees, performance and ETFs

Fund Managers do well - for themselves

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and asset manager fees are again in the news. This time, in a special report on asset management titled, "Money for Old Hope". It appears in the March 1st issue of The Economist, a UK periodical.

I wrote about outrageous Canadian Mutual Fund Management Fees in early 2007. As a seasoned US investor, I was shocked to discover that Canadians pay the highest mutual fund management fees of any industrialized nation.

Imagine a business in which other people hand you their money to look after and pay you handsomely for doing so. Even better, your fees go up every year, even if you are hopeless at the job.

Philip Coggan
(on asset management)

As an individual investor, the best way to avoid shelling out your hard-earned money to greedy and non-performing mutual fund managers, is to invest in Exchange Traded Funds.

I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in my thinking. In the 14-page Economist Special Report on asset management, Philip Coggen examines the fund-management industry. In his discussion, Exchange Traded Funds are mentioned as being part of the solution in avoiding costly fees, which erode returns.

His description of the asset-management industry is very enlightening, as he outlines the perfect business: "Imagine such a business", he quips, "people hand you their money to look after and pay you handsomely for doing so." Sounds good, so far. But he sweetens the pot by saying, "Even better, your fees go up every year!" Wow. Cool. I want that job. Then he drops the bombshell by saying that you don't even have to be very good at your job and you can still get the monetary reward. Ouch!

The focus isn't on Canada, it's on the asset management industry at large. (In Canada, the amount that most investors pay toward management fees is criminal).

Anyone who wants to save more of their investment money owes it to themselves to read this article. For an audio interview with the author, a synopsis of this special report and a road map for higher investment returns .... read on.

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Updated: 25-Feb-2011
Web View Count: 28445 viewsLast Web Update: 25-Feb-2011

2 Days & 2 Nights

February 14th, 2008  · stk

Crashing 4-year-olds

Last week was a blur. First, my 4-year-old computer crashed. Shortly after, my four-year-old kid crashed (she became ill). Work came to an immediate halt. Rachel was on her 4-days of 12-hour hospital shifts. I faced a broken computer, a broken kid and the joy of running the house. Days were spent rebooting and shuttling CD's and my nights were spent soothing, medicating and taking care of our sick little girl. I didn't get much sleep.

I began as I was working on my 4-year-old computer, as I normally do. It began to fight me. Nothing unusual. I've been experiencing crashes and computer problems for over 6 months. I've been expecting the point of no return, but trying to put it off. You see, I'm an application guy. I'm not a hardware guy or a network guy. I like to USE the computer, not tinker with it.

I said, "Oh no, here we go." It's not a pleasant sensation, but who can complain after nearly four years of relatively trouble-free computing?

A sub-spooler system failure kept me from printing a check deposit slip. Rebooting didn't fix the printing problem. Restoring the system to an earlier time (which has, on occasion, been my saving grace) didn't fix the problem. I restored it to a month ago. After reboot, the computer froze and I found myself staring at a multi-colored taskbar and desktop. While it was pretty, it was also ugly. The cursor was toast. Keyboard entry didn't do anything but "bonk" at me, after entering a buffer's-worth of keystrokes. Then the computer said, "Game over." It initiated an auto-shutdown. Ack!

What was left? It was time to re-install the operating system from scratch.

That night, after day-care, my 4-year-old daughter decided to call it quits too. She initiated an auto-shutdown after contracting a nasty cold. The only difference between her shut-down and my computer shut-down, was that she waited until the middle of the night to shutdown, rather than shutdown in the morning.

To read about my week of fixing 4-year-olds ... carry on.

Fixing 4-Year-Olds

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Updated: 28-May-2009
Web View Count: 4871 viewsLast Web Update: 28-May-2009

Serving it Up

February 4th, 2008  · stk

This is as close as it gets to an "About Randsco" page. Readership sits at 85,000 unique visitors a month (Jan 2008). Reasons why, what's popular, monetization, Interent penetration & the future of Randsco are all discussed.

Randsco: 86,500 Unique Visitors During January


On Growth: Nearly 15% of all the visits Randsco has ever had, came last month.


"Randsco" was born early in 2005. It was a blogging experiment that came about after acquiring a domain name and moving to a shared hosting company. Before that, we had maintained our websites at GeoCities, a free online host. In autumn of 2004, GeoCities changed their advertising and because the new method impacted the visitor experience, we made the leap to an inexpensive ($5/month), shared host.

Randsco started as a means of documenting our lives (primarily for ourselves, but also for family and friends). Additionally, it allowed us to share our love of backpacking, cycling & adventuring with like-minded people.

Wow, have things changed. We still document our lives, keep friends and relatives up-to-date and share our adventures, but Randsco now serves up much more:

Because Randsco has been (sorta) monetized, we've recently moved to a $50/month VPS host. Hopefully this will result in a superior visitor experience (stability & page load speed).

Readership growth is due to a number of factors: worldwide Internet penetration, benefits of a blog tool, increase in SPAM and (last but not least) valued content. To find out a bit more about monetization, what articles are the most popular, worldwide Internet penetration & the future of Randsco .... read on.

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Views: 29150 views
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Updated: 10-Feb-2008
Web View Count: 29150 viewsLast Web Update: 10-Feb-2008

There Goes the 'Hood

January 23rd, 2008  · stk

Whiting Way Estates - a nearby, rural subdivision. Lot number 7 was the first to sell and the new owners announced their arrival by clear-cutting trees. They cut down trees on designated, protected park land, so they could have a view of the pond. Read about this travesty.

Owner Cuts Trees In Protected Wetlands

Cutting down mature trees on designated Park land is a heck of a way of introducing yourself to the neighborhood.

- a neighbor     

The land used to be part of a cattle ranch. It's been selectively logged a couple of times. A few years back, it was sold to developers and they subdivided it into eight individual, five-acre parcels and a park. Development of our rural neighborhood is inevitable and we've been watching the 'progress', over the past year. First they bulldozed a rough trail, trucked in lots of fill and gravel, using it to build up a road-bed. Last summer they laid down 'chip-seal', drilled water wells (one on each property), stuck up signs and waited for buyers to snap up the lots at about $300k a pop.

The first one has been sold - lot number 7.

I was surprised that it sold first. It's a pie-shaped lot that backs up to a large pond. On the positive side, much of the parcel is hidden from view of the road. On the negative side, much of the parcel is exposed bedrock (sandstone), with only a thin veneer of moss growing on it.

The new owners have put up a spiffy looking gate and did something that I didn't think of doing. They clear-cut a swath of trees and now have a wonderful view of the pond.

Only vaguely do I remember what the parcel looked like, before the trees were removed. I seem to recall that the pond was largely hidden from view, by the dense forest.

It was surprising to see a large stack of logs, piles of brush, torn up ground and Caterpillar tread marks everywhere. Surprise turned to shock, however, when I realized that trees were cut down on the adjacent lot 9, which is park land!

For maps, pictures and more about the damage ... hit "read full story" ...

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Views: 13971 views
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Updated: 24-Jan-2008
Web View Count: 13971 viewsLast Web Update: 24-Jan-2008
Filed in:Noteworthy

Fame Name Game

October 26th, 2007  · stk

How would you like to have your name on a newly discovered species of Owl butterfly (Opsiphanes Group)? Skip a costly Ph.D., hours of studying, sweaty fieldwork, authoring scientific articles ... find out how!

Naming Rights for a New Butterfly Species Up for Auction

Do you fancy yourself as a budding naturalist? If so, now's your chance to make your mark on the scientific community. Win the right to name a new species of Owl butterfly, donate money to butterfly research and let your name live on forever ... all in one fell swoop.

Normally, the only way to name a new species would be to become a scientist, attend years of University classes to get a Ph.D., read (and write) a good many scientific papers, toil for countless hours in remote jungles (battling humidity and jungle rot) and be blessed with LUCK - being in the right place, at the right time. Here's your chance to skip all that and head directly past GO! Make your mark on history!

This new species of Owl butterfly is no piddling little cast-off. It's a big, colorful, showy specimen. The new species belongs to the Owl butterfly group, which are some of the best-known in the world because of their large size, striking colors and large wing eye-spots.

This is a rare opportunity. If slapping your name on this beautiful, new species of butterfly is appealing ... read on brave naturalists.

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Views: 36026 views
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Updated: 3-Nov-2007
Web View Count: 36026 viewsLast Web Update: 3-Nov-2007