Co-Founder and CEO
Rusty Guinn is co-Founder and CEO of Second Foundation Partners, LLC, and has been a contributing author to Epsilon Theory since 2017.
Before Ben and Rusty established Second Foundation, Rusty served in a variety of investment roles in several organizations. He managed and operated a $10+ billion investment business, led investment strategy for the second largest wealth management franchise in Houston, and sat on the management committee of the 6th largest public pension fund in the United States.
Most recently, Rusty was Executive Vice President over the retail and institutional asset management businesses at Salient Partners in Houston, Texas. There he oversaw the 5-year restructuring and transition of Salient’s $10 billion money management business from legacy fund-of-funds products to a dedicated real assets franchise.
He previously served as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Opportunistic Investments at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a $12 billion portfolio spanning public and private investments. Rusty also served as a portfolio manager for TRS’s externally managed global macro hedge fund and long-only equity portfolios. He led diligence, process development and the allocation of billions of dollars across a wide range of indirect and principal investments.
Rusty’s career also includes roles with de Guardiola Advisors, an investment bank serving the asset management industry, and Asset Management Finance, a specialized private equity investor in asset management companies.
He is a graduate of the Wharton School, and lives on a farm in Fairfield, Connecticut with wife Pam and sons Winston and Harry. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Youth Symphony, and with Pam has been a long-time supporter and founding Friend of the Houston Shakespeare Festival. He also serves as a member of the Easton Volunteer Fire Company in Easton, Connecticut. Rusty spends his free time smoking meat, working his apple orchard, enjoying whisky, badly butchering progressive rock drumming and jeopardizing long-term relationships through high-stakes board games.
Articles by Rusty:
The libertarian paternalism of a Nudge culture in finance has created an industry of investors who care about fees but have forgotten about taxes, trading costs, slippage and behavioral costs of actively trading passive instruments.
If you can manage to find a truly independent voice in your personal, political and financial life, pursue it with reckless abandon. Don’t set it to the side so that you can build a brand or make an impact. Get your ass out of the boat, grab your bow, strap on your broadsword and sound the pipes. All that’s left is to decide what song you’re going to play.
The behaviors that influence markets must be considered in context of archetypes, the languages and identities which group investors every bit as much as identity politics groups voters.
When we try to define others’ Cartoon, we take away their agency, and strip away their humanity. And we do it with our clients, every time we guess what behavioral box they fit it.
Benjamin Graham famously said that the market is a voting machine in the short run, and a weighing machine in the long run. This is a right-sounding idea. It is also wrong. Behavior matters over every horizon.
What does the path of history tell us? What does the aftermath of one of America’s greatest natural disasters and human tragedies tell us? What can we do to survive and escape a Competitive Game that doesn’t allow us to pull away from the table? If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the investment industry, or at least have an interest in financial markets. If you’re in the investment industry or in the financial markets, you like to win. So you’re not going to like my answer.
We play. And we lose.
Diversification is clearly one of the things that matter. Unfortunately, most investors pursue the Meme of diversification! instead of the real thing, and end up with a false sense of security and inefficiency.
Part 1 of this note highlighted the supremacy of the risk decision in portfolio construction. In this follow-up, Rusty observes that many investors may be assuming that the natural risk of asset classes is “right” for them.
Of all the decisions you make as an investor, how much risk you take outweighs all of them. It is more important than costs, more important than diversification, more important than picking the right stock / fund / investment.
The second moral license from a wise emphasis on passive investing is spending inordinate amounts of time on tilts, trades and tactical ideas that will never influence our portfolio results.