ETF Advice From One of the World's Best Investors

Includes: AGG, EEM, EFA, VNQ, VTI
by: Richard Shaw
David F. Swensen, Yale 1980 PhD celebrated his 20th year as Yale's chief investment officer in 2005. He manages Yale’s $8 billion endowment and has the highest long-term rate of return of any major educational endowment manager at 16.1% annualized for 20 years.

Harvard, the largest endowment, has a 20 year record of only 14.9% per annum. Jack Meyer, Harvard’s endowment manager said, “I think David is the best in the business."

The Free Press recently published a book by Swensen for personal investors titled, Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment.

Swensen is troubled about what he sees as the immorality of the American investment business as it's practiced today by both CEOs and the investment management community. He writes, "Overwhelmingly, mutual funds extract enormous sums from David Swenseninvestors in exchange for providing a shocking disservice." By that he explains that mutual funds charge their investors big fees and usually fail to deliver returns that beat the market.

Randall Forsyth, of Barrons, told me that Swensen is the expert who gave him the idea for his statement on the PBS program, WealthTrack, that individuals can build an effective portfolio with just a few ETFs:

• (NYSEARCA:VTI) Vanguard Total Stock Market VIPERs
• (NYSEARCA:EEM) iShares MSCI Emerg Mkts Index
• (NYSEARCA:AGG) iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond