Good to see some humility in finance

Saw Joe Kernan’s interesting CNBC interview with a quant-oriented investment manager, David Harding of Winton Capital Management.

As suggested in my subject line, Harding and the crew at Winton apparently have some humility about their approach.  When Genius Failed — Roger Lowenstein’s tale of the rise and fall of Long Term Capital Management — is required reading at Winton.

Learning from one’s own mistakes is smart, but learning from other’s mistakes is wisdom.

Know your numbers

You want FedSpeak? Syntax, destroy I will...

…especially if you’re supposed to be a numbers person.

James Bullard, President of the St. Louis Fed, was on CNBC this morning talking QE2.  His comments weren’t particularly noteworthy — at least to me — until the conversation turned to what happened next with QE2 itself.

The headshaker happened when Becky Quick asked him how much QE2 remained… “$250B to $300B”, she ventured.  I was shocked that Bullard didn’t seem to know — he ventured that the Fed was about “half-done”.

Isn’t that the one number you’d think a Fed President would have burned into his brain?  It shocked me that he couldn’t be more confident or clear (and no, this didn’t sound like FedSpeak).  Was he being cagey about the number?  If so, why?

Anyway, it reinforced a lesson that there are certain facts and figures that one simply must know to convey one’s command of the topic.  Maybe I’m missing something here, but the remaining QE2 “balance” isn’t exactly minutia!

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