Treece Blog: Golden mistake?Written by Dock David Treece | | email@example.com
Headlines, airwaves and hotel conference centers have lately been packed with advisers telling people that they need to own gold — and lots of it. These gurus advocate holding bullion in IRAs or gold-linked ETFs in 401(k) accounts, owning gold using every available means and dollar. In truth, they are probably doing their audiences an incredible disservice.
Many readers will recall that my family’s business started buying gold mining stocks for clients in 1999 and 2000. This was back when the price of gold bullion had declined for almost 20 years. With gold at less than $300 an ounce, many central banks around the world had given up and were selling the gold held in their vaults.
Now, with gold having stabilized well over $1,600 an ounce, there is a surplus of advisers who are just now coming around, touting the shiny metal as the best protection against inflation, deflation, recession, Congress in session, a collapse of the monetary system or all of the above.
At the same time, central banks, which were selling gold before it quintupled in price, are now buying it
back. Many of the world’s largest pension funds have been liquidating their own positions in commodities. Like us, their views have changed and they are now looking at other sectors that represent better opportunities.
Granted, after trading in and out of the precious metals market many times during the past 14 years, my firm still has some small exposure to mining companies. However, this exposure is limited, more likely to decrease in the future than increase, and there are reasons we have it (e.g., the mismatch between metal prices and mining stock share prices). These are things that we’ve found because we are paid to study the intricacies of markets.
These things likely wouldn’t be known to someone who didn’t work in investments on at least a part-time basis. This is why I say that unless someone works in investments and understands the complexities of trading in different types of assets (bullion vs. miners vs. ETFs vs. futures) or unless simply wants to buy a few gold coins to hand down to their kids without a paper trail, most people have absolutely no business dealing in commodities.
Similarly, most people lack the historical perspective to realize that the bull market in gold has been running for more than a decade, that this is historically pretty long as bull markets go, or that this run in gold was preceded by a 20-year bear market. They see only that the price of bullion seems to have leveled off and wonder why.
This is, essentially, why 80 percent of investors are usually late to the party; they bought tech stocks in 2000 right before they collapsed, or bought real estate in 2006 right before the bottom fell out of the market. These shortcomings aren’t confined to the investing public; they include a number of brokers, advisers, pundits and other well-known people.
My brother and I regularly write columns and my father, “Dock1,” does a radio spot with Fred LeFebvre every morning on WSPD 1370 AM. These are tools we use to make some of our research public, and hopefully they are thought-provoking for our audience.
However, we are money managers — we don’t want to be rock stars. Other advisers with similar exposure spend all of their time writing books and articles or hosting radio shows, and manage money in their spare time. With all of their media efforts they don’t have the time to do comprehensive research, and this can be detrimental for clients.
It can be almost as detrimental as an adviser who asks clients what they want to do. After all, if he isn’t more informed about the markets than his clients — if his knowledge isn’t the reason they’re in the office in the first place — why is he being consulted?
Dock David Treece is a partner with Treece Investment Advisory Corp. and is licensed with FINRA through Treece Financial Services Corp. He provides expert content to numerous media outlets. The above information is the express opinion of Dock David Treece and should not be construed as investment advice or used without outside verification.