Performance Perspectives Blog

Overselling time-weighting

by | Nov 10, 2011

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar frequently interjects jokes into his presentations. One deals with a Roman Catholic girl who was asked by her Baptist boyfriend to marry him. This occurred many years ago, when such “mixed marriages” were often frowned upon. When the girl told her mother the news, her mother responded “Darling, you know you can’t marry a Baptist boy! We’re Catholics, and it just wouldn’t work out.” The girl replied: “I know, Mom, but we’re in love!”

The mother thought about it and offered a solution: “Why not take him to Church with you, and let him experience the beauty and power of a Catholic Mass. Perhaps you can convince him to convert.”

Well, the daughter did as instructed, and a few weeks later informed her mother that the boyfriend had agreed to become Catholic, so a date was set for the wedding.

But then a short time later, the girl came home crying, explaining that the wedding was off. “What happened?” asked her mother. “Did he decide not to become a Catholic?” “Worse,” explained the daughter. “I think I oversold him. He’s going to become a priest!”

Sadly, the investment industry has been oversold on time-weighting. Ironically, those who were doing the selling (e.g., Peter Dietz) never claimed that time-weighting was the universal way to measure performance, and often cited money-weighting as the preferred approach to evaluate performance from the client’s perspective (that is, “how did my account do?,” as opposed to “how did the manager do?”).

I’ve been asked to write a brief article on this topic, and will provide a link to it shortly. Because of space limitations, I couldn’t use Zig’s joke in the article, so I decided to use it here; hope you liked it!

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