Tenacity, unwavering faith and an intelligence rooted in academia. All descriptors of one man, who held a steadfast conviction about the best way to invest and kept his philosophies and ideas afloat for over a decade, when others publicly called these ideas “garbage.”
Who is this man? Professor Burton G. Malkiel, the father of index funds and the author of the international best-selling book A Random Walk Down Wall Street, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the publication of its 13th edition this year.
Burt conceptualized index funds and wrote about them in the very first edition of A Random Walk Down Wall Street in 1973—before they even existed. Like many brilliant artists and innovators before him, however, he was not met with acclaim. Rather, he was vilified in news articles, on Wall Street, and amongst most of his peers.
For more than a decade.
Luckily Burt did not throw in the towel about index funds, and he kept the strong belief that someday other investors would catch on to the notion that low-cost index investing is a much more fruitful strategy than trying to pick individual stocks. In 1976, Vanguard came out with the first index fund. In recent years, indexing has comprised more than half of the money that has gone into retirement investing.
Burton Malkiel is a giant in the investing world—and he is our giant at Rebalance. He has been an influential member of the Rebalance Investment Committee for over a decade, since the beginning of our firm’s history. Burt’s philosophies and influence inform how Rebalance manages our clients’ money every day.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street, which is a metaphor illustrating that an investor cannot beat the stock market, is at the heart of our investing philosophy at Rebalance.
My longtime partner at Rebalance, Mitch Tuchman, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Burt earlier this year, about the publication of the 50th Anniversary edition of A Random Walk.
At 91 years old, Burt remains as sharp, intuitive and insightful as the day I imagine he wrote the first edition in 1973. A Random Walk Down Wall Street is required reading in undergraduate economics courses throughout the world, and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
We invite you to view segments from our interview with Professor Malkiel.
During the interview, Burt discussed how his foundational concepts are timeless. Not surprisingly, while he has adapted the book to address modern and current financial evolutions, such as cryptocurrencies, the foundation of the book has stayed largely the same.
Despite stock market volatility that he has experienced over the course of more than five decades in his career, Burt continues to deliver the same simple message: regardless of the stock market’s behavior, stay invested, become a long-term investor, and use index funds and this will pay ample rewards in the long run. Rebalance is entirely aligned with this theme.
Burt is a legend, a hero, and a national treasure, as The Wall Street Journal aptly reported last November in this article. We are honored that he is part of the Rebalance family.