This week has seen the conclusion for the six-year run of the television show, Lost. My wife and I have been avid viewers for some time and anxiously awaited this final episode. I like the show so much that I am a “fan” of the show on Facebook. And this past week has shown a considerably disparate collection of opinions regarding what actually occurred with the cast as well as the success of the last episode.
This made me think about our chosen field of endeavor, where there are often widely divergent views on approaches and methods. This past week saw Steve Campisi compete against Mark Elliott on the value of including the “income effect” in a fixed income attribution model. And next month I have the pleasure of taking on Carl Bacon on the subject of time- versus money-weighted returns. Our Battle Royale has been a standard part of our annual Performance Measurement, Attribution & Risk conference since the event’s initiation, and it serves to show how not only are there different views, but that they often engender strong passion on the part of the participants. And while these events have never resulted in profanity-laced name calling, such as what appears in some of the Lost comments, participants can clearly see how opinions can be strongly held and well entrenched. These events, as with the Lost commentary, provide the opportunity to gain additional insights into controversial topics.
Standards are great, but it’s good that not everything is standardized, so that firms and institutions have the opportunity to select the approach(es) they feel best suit their needs.