We break new ground today on the podcast as we talk about FOMO, catching falling knives, Uncle Warren and chewing glass. My guest today is John Allen, CFA the Chief Investment Officer at Aspirant. We also hit on some other great concepts such as why it is important to understand vs. observe what your investment managers are doing, thoughts on the impact of investment bubbles in the short, medium and long term. I also have a new word for my vocabulary, conflate, John makes some insightful observations about how that term applies to risk and return for some people which dovetails nicely into some other thoughts on whether some traditional guidance 401(k) participants get, still makes sense. Finally, John makes some not so rosy predictions for what the next seven to ten years could look like for investors and why that matters to 401(k) plans and participants. Not always fun to consider, but definitely worth the listen.
Before we get started, a lot of the topics John and I cover on the podcast came from the quarterly newsletter John and his firm Aspiriant put out. If you want to check them out or subscribe, the link is below. Click on that and you can figure it out from there. Finally, be sure to catch my post episode wrap up for a few more interesting tidbits on this episode and what we have coming up in future episodes.
John Allen joined Aspiriant in 2013 as Chief Investment Officer. As CIO, John is primarily responsible for leading the firm’s overall Investment Strategy & Research Group, broadly consisting of twelve investment professionals. The group is responsible for asset allocation, portfolio construction, manager selection and risk management. John is also the Chair of the firm’s Investment Committee and serves on a number of other committees. He has nearly twenty years of experience in investment management, investment banking, corporate finance advisory and business strategy consulting.
Prior to joining the firm, John was a senior member of the client service team at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (“GMO”), which manages approximately $115 Billion across a wide-range of public equities, fixed income, hedge funds and asset allocation funds. In that role, John had primary responsibility for 80 clients and $6.5B in assets under management.
Prior to joining GMO, John was the Head of Investments at a large family office in Los Angeles. There, John had responsibility for managing the firm’s overall investment portfolio as well as its direct investments.
John established his career working in the investment banking department at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and in the business consulting practice at Stern Stewart & Co. Throughout his career, John has served on the boards of directors of three private companies.
John earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree with high distinction from the Economics Department at the University of Virginia. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. He is also a member of the CFA Institute and CAIA Association.
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