A couple of months ago an excellent  book, The Idle Investor, was published through Harriman House by a writer that Stockopedia subscribers will by now be very familiar with… the irrepressible Edmund Shing. Calling Edmund a writer does a huge dis-service to this man’s multi-faceted skill set. He’s an Artificial Intelligence PhD, equity quant, global hedge fund manager, TV broadcaster, prolific blogger and serious Paris-London air-mile collector. In fact it’s very difficult to get him to slow down or pause for breath as I found out over a proper full English fry up around Paddington Station a couple of years ago. So what can this extremely non-idle man tell us about winning in the markets without any work? It seems rather a lot…

The Lessons


The book is a slim tome of less than 150 pages that makes it easily read in a couple of hours. It’s packed full of market wisdom learned first hand from Edmund’s 20+ years of working in a diverse set of research, trading & investment roles at institutions as impressive as Goldman Sachs, Schroders, BNP Paribas, Barclays Capital to name just a few. 

The lessons, maxims and axioms he expounds are essential market truths, practiced by seasoned investors, but which novice investors often learn only through experience and expensive mistakes. They include avoiding complexity, keeping costs low, switching off from news, improving risk adjusted returns through diversification & rebalancing and benefiting from the miracle of compounding.

As the title perhaps alludes to, the core of the book is focused on illustrating simple, low admin strategies that lean heavily on the use of collective investment vehicles like ETFs. It is certainly less a book for stock pickers, more a book for those who want to apply an active approach to boost the returns from passive investing. The strategies he expounds on include:

  1. The Bone-Idle Strategy - 60/40 equities/bonds rebalanced annually for an 8.5% annual returns since 1990.
  2. The Summer Hibernation Strategy - which “Sells in May and Goes Away” switching between 100% shares and 100% bonds through the year for a 15% annual return over the same time frame.
  3. The Multi-Asset Trending Strategy - a certainly less-idle cross regional ETF strategy using 8 share and bond ETFs and moving average trend following to switch between them. The extra sweat apparently leads to a 27.6% annual return.…

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