Wed Nov 13 15:26:26 EST 2013

Ritholtz Bubble

I have been reading Barry Ritholtz', The Big Picture blog, regularly since 2008 and watching his star rise over the years. However, lately I have found him to be less interesting and not as informative, perhaps because there is little new and I know how he thinks and have already absorbed all he has to say.

But I wonder if like a stock that keeps going up, is Barry Ritholtz approaching bubble status? In addition to his blog and his Washington Post column and his increasing number of media appearances, here are some recent indications from his blog:

  • Getting Rid of Comments     (February 2013)

    Back in February 2013, he started censoring comments to his blog. Undoubtedly there were many that deserved it, but I know some did not. For example, comments about publishing all predictions in real time and not just mentioning months later the ones that worked out.

  • Site Redesign     (March 2013)

    Seems to me it is all about increasing the number of viewers in order to have more customers who will pay management fees for his investment advice.

  • Wealth Management     (September 2013)

    Barry leaves FusionIQ to start his own firm Ritholtz Wealth Management. Is this similar to a company building a fancy new headquarters prior to going bankrupt?

  • Bloomberg column     (November 2013)

    Expanding his media presence, Barry joins Bloomberg View and Radio group. Now his daily missives can be read on Bloomberg's web site in addition to his own. Is this overexposure?

And similar to the value of a stock in a bubble, what is Barry's value proposition? On the one hand he touts the value of indexing, asset allocation, and low coast ETFs. On the other hand he wants a percent or two to do that for you without presenting any evidence that he can beat the market. Like all the talking heads he gives opinions of what might go up or down, but who can keep track of how that translates into making or losing money? Why do none of the market prognosticators have a public model portfolio with various bond and stock funds and ETFs that show they can do better than a general diversified basket of low cost ETFs with yearly rebalancing? Barry is better than most in that he has some humility, but I fear that as he reaches new heights, the selling of his image will have to grow too.

Posted by mjm | Permanent link | Comments
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