Jeremy Grantham

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Jeremy Grantham
Born
Robert Jeremy Goltho Grantham

(1938-10-06) October 6, 1938 (age 83)
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
Harvard Business School
OccupationInvestor
Spouse(s)Hanne Grantham

Robert Jeremy Goltho Grantham CBE (born 6 October 1938) is a British investor and co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo (GMO), a Boston-based asset management firm. GMO had more than US$118 billion in assets under management as of March 2015.[1] He has been a vocal critic of various governmental responses to the Global Financial Crisis from 2007 to 2010.[2][3] Grantham started one of the world's first index funds in the early 1970s.[4]

In 2011 he was included in the 50 Most Influential ranking of Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Early life[edit]

Grantham was born in Ware, Hertfordshire[5] and grew up in Doncaster.[6] He studied Economics at the University of Sheffield. In 1966 he completed an MBA at Harvard Business School.[7]

Investment philosophy[edit]

Grantham's investment philosophy can be summarised by his commonly used phrase "reversion to the mean." Essentially, he believes that all asset classes and markets will revert to mean historical levels from highs and lows. His firm seeks to understand historical changes in markets and predict results for seven years into the future. When there is deviation from historical means (averages), the firm may take an investment position based on a return to the mean. The firm allocates assets based on internal predictions of market direction.[8]

Grantham has been described as contrarian investor and a permabear.[9]

Views on market bubbles and the 2007–2008 credit crisis[edit]

Grantham has built much of his investing reputation over his long career by identifying speculative market asset bubbles as they were unfolding. Grantham avoided investing in Japanese equities and real estate in the late 1980s during the peak of the Japanese asset price bubble,[10] as well as avoiding technology stocks during the Internet bubble in the 1990s and limiting exposure to the housing bubble a decade later. Writing in Kiplinger in 2010, Elizabeth Leary noted many of Grantham's predictions can be confirmed by analysis of his past newsletters.[11] In a 2021 interview, Grantham distinguishes between identifying overpriced asset bubbles (which he believes is not particularly difficult), and predicting when such bubbles will collapse (which he admits is impossible, stating only that asset bubbles will eventually end at an uncertain future date). Grantham also acknowledges his strategy can underperform market averages for years, testing the patience of investors in his company, but also says his strategy has always paid off long-term by avoiding overvalued assets.[12]

In GMO's April 2010 Quarterly Letter Grantham spoke to the tendency for all bubbles to revert to the mean saying:

For the record, I wrote an article for Fortune published in September 2007 that referred to three "near certainties": profit margins would come down, the housing market would break, and the risk-premium all over the world would widen, each with severe consequences. You can perhaps only have that degree of confidence if you have been to the history books as much as we have and looked at every bubble and every bust. We have found that there are no exceptions. We are up to 34 completed bubbles. Every single one of them has broken all the way back to the trend that existed prior to the bubble forming, which is a very tough standard. So it's simply illogical to give up the really high probabilities involved at the asset class level. All the data errors that frighten us all at the individual stock level are washed away at these great aggregations. It's simply more reliable, higher-quality data.[13]

In his Fall 2008 GMO letter, Grantham commented on his evaluation of the underlying causes of the then-ongoing world credit crisis:

To avoid the development of crises, you need a plentiful supply of foresight, imagination, and competence. A few quarters ago I likened our financial system to an elaborate suspension bridge, hopefully built with some good, old-fashioned Victorian over-engineering. Well, it wasn't over-engineered! It was built to do just one under favorable conditions. Now with hurricanes blowing, the Corps of Engineers, as it were, are working around the clock to prop up a suspiciously jerry-built edifice. When a crisis occurs, you need competence and courage to deal with it. The bitterest disappointment of this crisis has been how completely the build-up of the bubbles in asset prices and risk-taking was rationalized and ignored by the authorities, especially the formerly esteemed Chairman of the Fed. ...[14]

I ask myself, 'Why is it that several dozen people saw this crisis coming for years?' I described it as being like watching a train wreck in very slow motion. It seemed so inevitable and so merciless, and yet the bosses of Merrill Lynch and Citi and even U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke – none of them seemed to see it coming.

I have a theory that people who find themselves running major-league companies are real organization-management types who focus on what they are doing this quarter or this annual budget. They are somewhat impatient, and focused on the present. Seeing these things requires more people with a historical perspective who are more thoughtful and more right-brained – but we end up with an army of left-brained immediate doers.

So it's more or less guaranteed that every time we get an outlying, obscure event that has never happened before in history, they are always going to miss it. And the three or four-dozen-odd characters screaming about it are always going to be ignored. . . .

So we kept putting organization people – people who can influence and persuade and cajole – into top jobs that once-in-a-blue-moon take great creativity and historical insight. But they don't have those skills.[14]

Grantham focused on the issue of personal traits and leadership in trying to explain how we reached the current economic crisis.

Views on fossil fuels and the Keystone pipeline[edit]

Grantham has repeatedly stated his opinion that the rising cost of energy – the most fundamental commodity – between 2002 and 2008 has falsely inflated economic growth and GDP figures worldwide and that we have been in a "carbon bubble" for approximately the last 250 years in which energy was very cheap. He believes that this bubble is coming to an end. He has stated his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline on the basis of the ruinous environmental consequences that its construction will bring to Alberta and to the entire planet due to the contribution that burning the extracted oil would make to climate change.[15][16]

Timber investment[edit]

Grantham is known to be a strong advocate for investments in the timber industry that also relies on trees for biomass/biofuel (wood chips).[17][18][19][20] The potential conflict of interest with Grantham's philanthropic engagement for the "beyond coal" campaign of the Sierra Club[21] was criticized in Jeff Gibbs' documentary Planet of the Humans.[22]

Philanthropy[edit]

Grantham, together with his wife Hannelore, established the Grantham Foundation For the Protection of the Environment in 1997. Substantial commitments have been made to Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield, to establish the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment, the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, respectively, which will enable the institutions to build on their extensive expertise in climate change research.[23] The 2011 tax filing for the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment shows the Foundation donated $1 million to both the Sierra Club and to Nature Conservancy, and $2 million to the Environmental Defense Fund that year. The Foundation has also provided support to Greenpeace, the WWF, Rare and the Smithsonian. From 2006 to 2012, The Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment funded a $75,000 prize for environmental reporting. The prize was administered by the University of Rhode Island's Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting.[6][24]

In August 2019, he dedicated 98% (approximately $1 billion) of his personal wealth to fight climate change. Grantham believes that investing in green technologies, is a profitable investment on the long run, claiming that decarbonizing the economy will be an investing bonanza for those who know it’s coming.[25]

Awards and honours[edit]

Grantham was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[26] With his wife, Hannelore, he received the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy.[27]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for philanthropic service to climate change research.[28]

  • 2009 Honorary degree, Imperial College, London.[29]
  • 2010 Honorary degree, The New School, New York.[30]
  • 2012 Honorary degree, The University of Sheffield.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GMO LLC. official site Archived 8 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 20 February 2014
  2. ^ Paul B. Farrell (1 December 2009). "Obama's 'predictably irrational' economic policies". The Wall Street Journal (MarketWatch).
  3. ^ Katherine Jimenez (16 June 2010). "Housing market a 'time bomb' says investment legend". The Australian.
  4. ^ "The First Index Mutual Fund". vanguard.com. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  5. ^ 'Derde beurscrash komt eraan en wordt een ongekend bloedbad' | Het Financieele Dagblad. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b Leo Hickman (12 April 2013). "Jeremy Grantham, environmental philanthropist: 'We're trying to buy time for the world to wake up'". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  7. ^ JEREMY GRANTHAM ON THE BATTLE TO SAVE SOCIETY FROM CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘WE’RE NOT WINNING’, Alumni, Harvard Business School, 15 May 2019
  8. ^ "JG Letter" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Grantham's Bubble Gun Hasn't Been Triggered".
  10. ^ "As the bubble grew, GMO systematically reduced exposure to Japan. By late 1988, GMO owned no Japanese stocks in what Jeremy Grantham characterized a 'bet-the-firm' position." David F. Swensen and Charles D. Ellis. Pioneering Portfolio Management An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment. The Free Press, ISBN 9780684864433
  11. ^ "7 Stocks for the Next 7 Years".
  12. ^ "How to Spot Stock Market Bubbles (Rebroadcast) - Barron's Streetwise Barron's Podcasts".
  13. ^ "GMO Quarterly Letter, April 2010" (PDF).
  14. ^ a b "GMO Quarterly Letter Fall 2008 Part I #
  15. ^ Charlie Rose Show Interview with Jeremy Grantham Archived 16 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 May 2013
  16. ^ Nick Summers (8 August 2013). "GMO's Jeremy Grantham on Climate Change and Investable Ideas". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  17. ^ "The Silva Tree Princess Project" (PDF). Silva Tree. 2016.
  18. ^ "What You Should Know About Investing in Timber". Escape Artist. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Diversifying a Portfolio With Timber". The New York Times. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  20. ^ Fernholz, Tim. "The investment of the future is… wood". Quartz. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  21. ^ Hickman, Leo (12 April 2013). "Jeremy Grantham, environmental philanthropist: 'We're trying to buy time for the world to wake up'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Terence Corcoran: The hottest doc of the year kills green energy". Financial Post. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment - Imperial College London". www3.imperial.ac.uk.
  24. ^ "About the Grantham Prize". metcalfinstitute.org/granthamprize. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  25. ^ "Investing Prophet Jeremy Grantham Takes Aim at Climate Change". Bloomberg.com. 17 January 2019.
  26. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2014 Class List" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  27. ^ "Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy: Hanne and Jeremy Grantham". 22 May 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  28. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B9.
  29. ^ Imperial College, London (2009). "News and Events". Imperial College. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  30. ^ The New School (2012). "Honorary Degrees". The New School. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  31. ^ "ABC singer takes centre stage in honorary degree ceremonies". University of Sheffield. 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2013.

External links[edit]