Articles

Here we will post articles on investing, family matters, highlighting our contrarian and unique approach.

HUBRIS AND FAILURE: SOME USEFUL INVESTMENT LESSONS
August 7, 2017 | François Sicart

Last year, French journalist Christine Kerdellant wrote a book with an intriguing title (Ils se croyaient les meilleurs – Éditions Denoël 2016), which could be translated as: “They thought they were the best – a history of great management mistakes.” The point is that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have first stumbled, but have learned from their mistakes. Interestingly, they often are more prone than professional managers to search out and hire collaborators who also have experienced failure and have survived. The book appealed to me because, in Sicart Associates’ business of wealth and investment management, mistakes are quite useful — on the condition that they don’t recur too often, and that lessons are learned from them.

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What it takes to build a great family
July 19, 2017 | Bogumil Baranowski

Introducing James E. Hughes, Jr., Esq. the author of Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family, and of Family: The Compact Among Generations. Mr. Hughes reminds us: “As it takes 150 years for a copper beech tree [ metaphorically, a great family] to mature, plant today because there is no time to waste.” He points out that “The vision underlying a system of family governance must be the enhancement of the pursuit of happiness of each individual family member as part of the enhancement of the family as a whole for the purpose of achieving the long-term preservation of the family’s wealth: its human, intellectual, and financial capital.”

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OF STORIES AND NUMBERS
July 18, 2017 | François Sicart

Participants in the investment markets tend to fall into one of two categories. A growing number engages in a relative performance contest where they essentially compete against each other or against “unmanaged” indexes over relatively short periods of time: one, five or, more rarely, ten years. These short periods are convenient for consultants and marketing staffs but, in our observation, sprinters seldom win marathons. We thus prefer to ignore short- or medium-term market fluctuations and to concentrate on our goal, which is to grow the patrimonies of our client families — along with our own — over multiple cycles and several generations.

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A CAREER, A FRIENDSHIP AND A MORAL TALE IN MEMORIAM of MRS. B
May 18, 2017 | François Sicart

Financial institutions like to claim that they always put their clients’ interests before their own — or at least on par with them. Real life shows us scant evidence of that claim. Truth be told, it is hard to sustain a money-management firm as a business (rather than as a professional practice, which used to be the model) without running into conflicts between your clients’ interests and your own.

I deeply believe that resolving those conflicts of interest with probity is key to building a successful practice over time, and I have at least one compelling example to help me remind young colleagues that probity pays.

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New Generation Of Successful Entrepreneurs, New Ways Of Giving Back And Monitoring
May 9, 2017 | Bogumil Baranowski

Introducing Alexandre Mars, a New York City based, French-born serial entrepreneur, and engaged philanthropist who, in 2015, was named one of New York City’s top 20 philanthropists under 40 by the New York Observer.

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The Inheritance Plan – The Right And The Wrong Way
March 1, 2017 | Bogumil Baranowski

In the third part of the Guide for Inheritors Series, we introduce Jeffrey Condon the Author of Beyond the Grave. We will learn about the importance of having an inheritance plan, and the author explains that there is the right, and the wrong way. We are reminded how crucial it is to treat beneficiaries equally. Among many other lessons, we also find an interesting discussion of one of the most frequent questions when it comes to inheritance – how much is too much?

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Breaking The Triple Taboo – The Inheritance
January 20, 2017 | Bogumil Baranowski

Here you’ll find the second part of the Guide for Inheritors Series. This time our guest is Ann Perry, the author of The Wise Inheritor: A Guide to Managing, Investing and Enjoying Your Inheritance. She tells us that money is the last taboo, and inheritance a triple taboo. She also reminds us that inherited money should be treated differently. We learn that with looming biggest ever wealth transfer of tens of trillions of dollars, more of us than ever will be facing the dilemmas of inheritance. What can we do to be better prepared?

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How We Give Matters More Than How Much We Give
January 2, 2017 | Bogumil Baranowski

In the first part of the series, we are introducing Barbara Blouin’s Publications of the Inheritance Project. Inheriting a fortune – or being lucky enough to leave one to your children – can be a mixed blessing. As the largest-ever inter-generational wealth transfer is upon us, it’s important to realize that how we give may matter more than how much.

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Cyclical Opinions – Secular Approaches
November 10, 2016 | François Sicart

Technological progress makes the world evolve and change. As it does, Sicart Associates believe that the secret to success is to occasionally adapt opinions to changed circumstances while staying true to our long-term contrarian value investment principles.

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The Entrepreneur and the Steward of Capital
September 2, 2016 | Bogumil Baranowski

As we work with more and more entrepreneurs around the world, we find a number of key differences between them and portfolio investors.

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The Jade Sculptor and the Serial Entrepreneur
September 1, 2016 | François Sicart

A few years ago, I was invited to visit a new jade museum that was about to open to the public in Beijing. Many of the pieces on display had been left behind by Chiang Kai-shek (former leader of the Kuomintang party) when he and his followers retreated to Taiwan in 1949.

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