This week, our conversation with Charley Ellis — Chair of the Yale Endowment, Vanguard Board member and founder of Greenwich Associates, is back. This is the second conversation (first MiB conversation here) with the finance legend.
Ellis explains how his career in finance was a grand accident – he thought he was going to the Rockefeller foundation to give money away, not manage it for the Rockefeller family office (!). Thus, one of the great careers in the history of finance came about through a misunderstanding.
Ellis has served in various capacities over his long career – he chaired the CFA Institute, served on the faculty of Harvard Business School and the Yale School of Management, and was Chairman of the Yale Endowment, where he worked with legendary Yale CIO David Swensen. Ellis also served on the Board of Directors of Vanguard Group, and is an advisor to Wealthfront.
Despite working with big institutions his entire career, Ellis embraces a simple asset allocation composed primarily of low cost index funds as the best approach for most individual investor. He rails against the term “passive “ which he believes understates what that approach does.
Ellis is the author of 16 books, including Winning the Loser’s Game,which just published the 7th edition (April 3, 2017). We extensively discuss how the book came about, as well as his collection of investing writing, The Investor’s Anthology: Original Ideas from the Industry’s Greatest Minds, and Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It. His most recent book is titled The Index Revolution: Why Investors Should Join It Now.
Ellis is one of those people who can not only break down the complicated into simple understandable language, he makes finance conversation a joy to behold, filled with smart, insightful and even fun observations.
All of the books and websites recommended by Ellis are found here.