My name is Dan Duane.
I arrived on Wall Street (actually mid-town Manhattan) in the late Seventies, more or less by accident. After college and almost four years in the Army, I returned to graduate school intending to teach humanities in a university. Luckily–although it didn’t seem so at the time–the Baby Boom had already passed through college by the time I got my degree. Faculties were being pared back to better match smaller enrollments while graduate schools continued to churn out lots of people like me. Also, in my case, having been an infantryman in Vietnam automatically put me in the reject pile in many parts of the country. In the end I couldn’t find a job I was willing to take. On the advice of a friend, I tried the stock market instead.
At that time, Wall Street was just beginning to expand again after the dual shocks of the deep 1973-74 recession and the deregulation of commission charges (“Mayday” 1973). So I found a job relatively quickly. I spent my first four years as a securities analyst, while getting an MBA in finance at night and passing the CFA exams. I then spent close to two years also working as an assistant on a portfolio that shorted stocks in the S&P 500 before becoming its portfolio manager.
After that, I spent about 18 months managing money in Pacific Basin markets, before settling on global portfolios (US + non-US) in 1986 as the area that really interested me.
I’ve been the head of global and international stock investing at a number of investment firms.
My desire to teach apparently never left me. Over my Wall Street career I’ve spent a significant amount of time training and mentoring the analysts and portfolio managers I’ve worked along side and supervised.
My portfolios have gotten awards for superior performance from a number of organizations over the years. While that’s certainly better than never having gotten any, a skeptic would cite the stopped clock syndrome and say everyone is bound to have a good year now and then. I consider it a much more important achievement that I stayed employed for close to thirty years in a brutally competitive industry with high minimum standards of achievement (a study by the CFA Institute, for example, showed that a manager of US stocks who achieved median performance each quarter over a ten year period would be in the bottom 15% of those who remained employed throughout the decade.)
I retired at the end of 2006.
You can see my full profile on LinkedIn.
Like most American-trained investors, my strength is in individual stock analysis and selection. This is an area where the US has a huge technological advantage over the rest of the world. (Applying this skill abroad isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem, however. Sometimes in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man isn’t king–he’s just someone without an acute sense of hearing.)
While I was managing stock portfolios for others, I felt I should have my own money in the same place as my clients’. Once I had only the portfolios that belong to myself, my wife and our children to watch over, however, I started to reshape our asset structure to conform better to our own specific investment objectives. As I was doing this, I began to think about my position at the leading edge of the Baby Boom and what a daunting task managing their own retirement money must be for my peers who had not made their careers as professional investors.
I began to write this blog in 2009 for three reasons (now two):
–it forces me to formulate my own thoughts more clearly and completely, and
–I think my posts might be helpful as a source of objective information and advice for individual investors. “Objective” here doesn’t mean that I can predict the future with unerring accuracy. It means that what I say is not swayed by the need to cultivate investment banking clients, the desire to protect positions held on the trading desk or the worry that I will be shunned by the managements of firms I write about if I say something unflattering about them.
At one point I toyed with offering a subscription service but have since decided I’d rather be a visual artist. As it turns out, after three years of work I finished an MFA in Photo/Video at the School of Visual Arts in NYC in May 2020.
Note: Please read my disclaimer. Thanks.