Is this the beginning of the end of ETFs as an asset class? Ian Salisbury has an important story this weekend, saying that the average ETF underperformed its benchmark by 125bp in 2009, and even the monster SPY underperformed by 19bp. That’s more than twice its total expense ratio.
The FICO people invited me to a press dinner on Thursday evening, where I learned quite a bit about their credit-scoring system — including the fact that the “free” credit score being sleazily shilled by Ben Stein is not actually a FICO score at all, and therefore even more useless than I’d thought. I also learned about their new Credit Capacity Index — a pretty useful tool, I think, which tells banks not how likely someone is to default on their present debt load, but rather how likely they are to default if you extend even more credit to them.
Arthur Sulzberger, Janet Robinson, and Martin Nisenholtz of the NYT all took the opportunity of hosting today’s PaidContent conference to talk at length about their paywall plans. Which makes it all the more surprising that their message was so garbled: when they weren’t simply refusing to say anything at all, they were giving three conflicting answers to the same question.
Now that the New York Times has decided to move to a metered paywall system, a lot of attention at the PaidContent conference — at the TimesCenter, no less — is being directed towards Rob Grimshaw. He’s the managing director of FT.com, which has been a pioneer in the meter-model space.
Wow, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd really doesn’t want the Federal Reserve to be the main systemic-risk regulator — to the degree that his latest proposal gives that job to the Treasury Secretary, of all people. This is not a good idea, as Karen Shaw Petrou says:
Last week, weighing in on a miles-travelled tax, I said that “there really is something quite creepily Big Brotherish about trying to track every single vehicle in America”. But then I heard from Bern Grush of Skymeter, and he’s persuaded me that you don’t actually need to make tracking information available in order to tax miles travelled.