Q: What surprised or shocked you from the crisis?
A: I was really surprised at how little faith and discipline advisers had. That was what shook me the most. There was a survey after the crash [by Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information] showing that something like 80% of advisers had gone to more tactical strategies. That really is freaky. I'm betting it's because clients were pushing for it. But that's B.S. — there is no better way than buy and hold. In 2008, when somebody would ask me about the market or this or that forecast from some guru, I'd cite study after study showing that you can't beat buying, holding and re-balancing. But for some people, logic doesn't matter. Emotions take over. My giving a logical answer is not going to help them. In going through this with one person, though, it finally hit me: If I was going to actually help him, I had to change the nature of the discussion. So I said, “Forget the studies. Who is the greatest investor alive?” Well, I knew he would say Warren Buffett. Does Buffett time the market? Does he listen to forecasters? No. He has a system and sticks to it. Once you stray, you're doomed to fail. And there's no reason to think that human mistakes won't be made by advisers. In fact, most smart advisers have an adviser because they know they're prone to the same mistakes with their own portfolio.
Director of research
Buckingham Asset Management LLC
— as told to Dan Jamieson