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The Indomitable Investor: Why a Few Succeed in the Stock Market When Everyone Else Fails by Steven M. Sears

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A Fox in the Henhouse

To foster financial education, the U.S. President or the Secretary of the Treasury, should appoint an investor laureate to serve the nation. This person would serve a multiyear term, and be charged with issuing a minimum of four quarterly reports each year that detailed his or her view of the markets based on research and conversations with various firms and other investors. The laureates would be investors’ investors. John Bogle, the semi-retired founder of the Vanguard Investment Group, would be great in this role. So would Warren Buffett. The list is long. The principle is old. When President Roosevelt appointed Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President Kennedy, to serve as the first chairman of the SEC, he was asked why he chose someone who had made so much money doing many of the things the new SEC would be charged with regulating and preventing. President Roosevelt reportedly quipped that it took a crook to catch a crook. Naturally, Kennedy, whose sons served this nation as President, Attorney General, and Senator, was very successful at the SEC. He understood the markets in ways that only someone who knew enough to sell before the Great Crash could know. He did a lot to help investors. Under his leadership, corporations were required to file financial disclosure documents with the SEC so everyone could determine a company’s financial health, and weigh management’s words against financial facts. But Kennedy fell short in one important measure—investor education. ...

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