Investors and financial advisors would have a much less complicated time of it if they could follow what we will call the Tao of Dee, as described by Gary Antonacci in his absorbing new book, Dual Momentum Investing. An Innovative Strategy for Higher Returns With Lower Risk.
“The best investor I know -- one who has outperformed all the professional money managers I’m familiar with -- is my wife, Dee,’’ said Bob Topol, then-the highly successful head of Smith Barney’s OTC department.
It was 1971, and Dee Topol, a patriotic citizen, invested only in stocks with U.S., American, or general -- she admired Gen. Eisenhower -- in their names (from American Electric Power to General Mills, and so on).
“I kept asking myself how Dee could have outperformed the world’s best money managers for so long with such a naïve strategy. After a few weeks, the answers came to me,’’ Antonacci remembers.
Dee had created “the world’s first index fund,’’ he says.
He tells us that she succeeded by following what were then the basics of sound investing: Her portfolio had small transaction costs because she held onto stocks forever; she saved 1 percent yearly by not having to pay a commission fee, and her portfolio was well diversified.
Calling the lessons he learned from her investment style “a life-changing revelation,’’ Antonacci back then settled on a strategy that, with significant updating and refining during the intervening 43 years, he supports today.
What evolved from that strategy is what Antonacci calls dual momentum, a combination of absolute and relative momentum. Relative momentum is, Antonacci writes, “when an asset’s past performance relative to that of other assets is used to predict its future performance.’’ Absolute momentum, he says, is “the tendency for an asset to persist in its performance based on its own price history.’’
Antonacci, an investment consultant, has an MBA from Harvard and has been an investment professional for more than 35 years. He also writes a blog on his website. His research on momentum investing won Wagner Awards for Advances in Active Investment Management (first place in 2012 and second place in 2011) from of the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM). Recently, Dual Momentum Investing won a 2014 USA Best Book Award in the "Business: Personal Finance/Investing" category.
Antonacci packs an enormous amount of challenging detail into 141 pages over 10 chapters. (Further pages are devoted to appendices; notes; a glossary of financial and economic terms; a bibliography; and a recommended reading list.) He says that understanding and implementing his dual momentum investing strategy is demanding and time consuming, but worth it.