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Unconventional Success

Unconventional Success

A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment

The bestselling author of Pioneering Portfolio Management, the definitive template for institutional fund management, returns with a book that shows individual investors how to manage their financial assets.

In Unconventional Success, investment legend David F. Swensen offers incontrovertible evidence that the for-profit mutual-fund industry consistently fails the average investor. From excessive management fees to the frequent "churning" of portfolios, the relentless pursuit of profits by mutual-fund management companies harms individual clients. Perhaps most destructive of all are the hidden schemes that limit investor choice and reduce returns, including "pay-to-play" product-placement fees, stale-price trading scams, soft-dollar kickbacks, and 12b-1 distribution charges.

Even if investors manage to emerge unscathed from an encounter with the profit-seeking mutual-fund industry, individuals face the likelihood of self-inflicted pain. The common practice of selling losers and buying winners (and doing both too often) damages portfolio returns and increases tax liabilities, delivering a one-two punch to investor aspirations.

In short: Nearly insurmountable hurdles confront ordinary investors.

Swensen's solution? A contrarian investment alternative that promotes well-diversified, equity-oriented, "market-mimicking" portfolios that reward investors who exhibit the courage to stay the course. Swensen suggests implementing his nonconformist proposal with investor-friendly, not-for-profit investment companies such as Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. By avoiding actively managed funds and employing client-oriented mutual-fund managers, investors create the preconditions for investment success.

Bottom line? Unconventional Success provides the guidance and financial know-how for improving the personal investor's financial future.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743228381 | 
  • August 2005
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About the Author

David F. Swensen
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David F. Swensen

David F. Swensen is the chief investment officer of Yale University and the bestselling author of Pioneering Portfolio Management. He serves on the boards of TIAA, The Brookings Institution, Carnegie Institution, and Hopkins School. At Yale, where he produced an unparalleled two-decade investment record of 16.1 percent-per-annum returns, he teaches economics classes at Yale College and finance classes at Yale¹s School of Management. Mr. Swensen lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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