Technically Speaking: Howard Marks On Speculative Manias

Posted by Lance Roberts

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One of my favorite investing legends is Oaktree Management’s Howard Marks. His investing wisdom and in-depth knowledge of investor psychology and market dynamics are unparalleled. Given the “speculative mania” we continue to watch in the market, I thought a review of some of his previous thoughts is appropriate.

Over the weekend, I re-read some previous research and ran across an interview between Goldman Sach’s Hugo-Scott Gall and Howard Marks. The talk ranged from investment decisions to behavioral dynamics. While the interview occurred in 2013, it is just as relevant as if he said it yesterday.

I have annotated some of the points for clarity.

Investor Psychology

Hugo Scott-Gall: How can we understand investor psychology and use it to make investment decisions?


Howard Marks: It’s the swings of psychology that get people into the biggest trouble, especially since investors’ emotions invariably swing in the wrong direction at the wrong time. When things are going well people become greedy and enthusiastic, and when times are troubled, people become fearful and reticent. That’s just the wrong thing to do. It’s important to control fear and greed.


Another mistake that people often make is to compare themselves with others who are making more money than they are. They mistakenly conclude they should emulate the others’ actions after they’ve worked. This is the source of the herd behavior that so often gets them into trouble. We’re all human and so we’re subject to these influences, but we mustn’t succumb. This is why the best investors are quite cold-blooded in their professional activities.       Continue Reading