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Vague language in institutional investing

August 18, 2012

Kathleen McLaughlin’s [July 28] story about state fund investing reminded of a problem in institutional investing today: vague and imprecise language. Terms such as “stocks,” “bonds” and “commodities” have reasonably well-defined meanings. “Hedge funds,” “risk parity” and “private equity” do not. A competent observer cannot understand precisely what transpires in these asset classes. “Real estate” is more widely understood, but rates of return in this asset class are approximate at best because values are based on educated guesses (appraisals).

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John Guy

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