Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogger Interview - Brian Lucey

What is the best business/investment decision you ever made?

The best business decision I ever made was to leave the Central Bank of Ireland and to take the subsequent pay cuts and move to my present position as an academic. The most important asset most people have is their human capital, and I felt that doing this was quick to enable me to maximise my return, in a holistic sense, on this.

What kind of car do you drive?

I mostly take the train, but I have a 12-year-old Saab 93 convertible for the infrequent days that you can actually take the top down :-)

What is the worst financial advice that you ever received?

I'm glad I didn't take it, but I was offered an opportunity to get involved in a partnership for oil exploration shares. These did not work out…

Do you own property abroad?

No, I don't.

Should basic finance be included on primary school curriculum?

It actually is, in the sense at least of using money as a learning aid. I think it would be much more useful for all University students to be required to take a mandatory course on life skills, or perhaps even have this at the second level. When I was in school in the 70's we had classes in Civics, and I think this might be the place to put these issues into the curriculum. Most people in their late teens or early twenties don’t have the financial maturity or the financial capacity to really benefit from financial literacy classes. Maybe we should however have something at University.

Do you contribute to a pension plan?

No, I don't, I'm Lucky enough to be one of those people that has a defined benefits package through the public sector.

What's your favourite film of all time?


Have you ever won money?

Not any significant amounts, I don't really gamble. I have won some cash in a few table quizzes.

Do you own your own home?

Yes we do.

Do you invest directly in the stock market, through funds or both?

Not really, I'm quite risk averse.

What is your preferred method/system of saving (Deposits, Funds, Shares, Property)?

Right now I think having access to cash is important, so the most useful savings method therefore would now be deposits.

What financial product/s do you consider to be bad value for money?

I'm not sure that there is any such thing as bad value for money, I think people need to decide what their risk profile is and then make a decision. That said, it does strike me as quite extraordinary the fees charged by some fund management institutions, particularly for anything as basic as a tracking or index funds.

Do you trust your bank?

For a given value of trust yes… I trust that when I want to withdraw my money, it is going to be there. I think given the experiences of the last couple of years we can't really trust the Irish financial institutions to behave themselves when left to their own devices. Hopefully this will have been a lesson learnt, and the financial institutions including banks will be able to proceed in the future to do what they should do, just provide the vital infrastructure and credit channel that modern economy needs.

Brian Lucey is Associate Professor in Finance at the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Victims, Spectacle Makers or Whiners in the Workplace

I like this analogy in ‘What They Teach You at Harvard Business School’ on how important it is for business owners to identify “victims”/ “whiners” / “spectacle makers” in the workplace, before the pollute or contaminate your business and turn customers away.

“..if I had my favourite bowl of ice cream over here and a bowl of shit over here, if I took one speck of shit and put it in the ice cream, would you eat the ice cream?”