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Episode #420: Dan Cooper, ROC Investments – ROC: Return on Character – Meb Faber Analysis

Episode #420: Dan Cooper, ROC Investments – ROC: Return on Character


Visitor: Dan Cooper is the founder and CEO of ROC Investments, which allocates capital on the premise of the behaviors of the CEOs and their senior government groups.

Date Recorded: 5/11/2022     |     Run-Time: 50:11

Abstract: Dan shares how he ran a method targeted on investing in firms with CEO’s that show excessive character earlier in his profession. When he later regarded again on the returns and located conventional components solely defined 30% of the technique’s outperformance, he determined to launch an ETF primarily based on that technique, ticker R-O-C-I.

He shares how he defines character, how he quantifies it, after which how he implements it right into a portfolio. Lastly he shares what CEO’s exemplify this technique with tales of executives of Costco, Southwest & Microsoft.

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Hyperlinks from the Episode:

  • 1:11 – Intro
  • 1:54 – Welcome to our visitor, Dan Cooper
  • 4:26 – What led Dan to launch an ETF targeted on character
  • 8:51 – The unique idea of creating a guidelines primarily based character fund
  • 11:00 – How Dan decides who’s a high-character CEO
  • 18:48 – Quantitative research and the way to consider this as an funding technique; Return on Character
  • 22:32 – Overview of how the composite rating works, how typically the technique rebalances, and the way he handles CEO turnover
  • 31:36 – Overview of his newly launched ROCI ETF
  • 33:33 – The preliminary reception and views on a personality index fund
  • 37:26 – What else is on Dan’s thoughts?
  • 38:56 – Would publishing their record incentivize higher habits from CEOs?
  • 42:42 – Episode #323: John Montgomery, Bridgeway Capital Administration
  • 43:31 – Different ideas and insights about Dan’s technique and the ROCI ETF
  • 44:58 – Dan’s most memorable funding
  • 46:43 – Study extra about Dan Cooper;; LinkedIn


Transcript of Episode 420:

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Meb: Welcome podcast listeners, we have now a extremely enjoyable present for you right now. Our visitor is Dan Cooper, founder and CEO of ROC Investments, which allocates capital on the premise of the behaviors of the CEOs and their senior government groups. Dan shares how he ran a method targeted on investing in firms with CEO’s that show excessive character earlier in his profession. When he later regarded again on the returns and located conventional components solely defined 30% of the technique’s outperformance, he determined to launch an ETF primarily based on that technique, ticker R-O-C-I. He shares how he defines character, how he quantifies it, after which how he implements it right into a portfolio. Lastly he shares what CEO’s exemplify this technique with tales of executives of Costco, Southwest & Microsoft.   Please get pleasure from this episode with ROC Investments’ Dan Cooper.

Meb: Dan, welcome to the present.

Dan: Nice to be with you.

Meb: Redding, California. What are you doing up in Redding, close to Mount Shasta? I’ve hiked that after upon a time.

Dan: You probably did?

Meb: I did.

Dan: Yeah, I did it too. It’s definitely worth the hike. It’s acquired an important view, supplied there’s not smoke within the space. And we’re getting loads of that today up right here in Redding. We’ve been right here since 2012. I moved my household right here, along with my spouse. Now we have two boys, and we love clear mountain streams, and rivers, and lakes, and mountain mountaineering, and tenting. We do a ton of tenting.

Meb: The hike up climb up Shasta for me, I did it on my own, and I made the error of doing all of it in someday.

Dan: Oh, wow.

Meb: It was truly very difficult. However I had a second the place you begin at no matter time is the morning, it was 3:00 within the morning or one thing. So, I went to a movie show in Redding, or wherever it was. It was too low-cost to pay for a lodge room as a result of I knew I used to be going to be leaving at 2:00 within the morning and whatnot. So, I went to the flicks, slept in my automobile, wakened, and began strolling in the course of the night time. And listeners, if you happen to’ve by no means been mountaineering at night time, it’s a really discomforting feeling for the primary quarter-hour and even the longer, proper? Like, that is bear territory, maybe. However it was like a full moon. And one of the vital religious, simply memorable moments of my life was strolling. I simply ultimately turned off my headlamp, so that you’re simply strolling at midnight and this path. And ultimately, you come out of the forest and also you see Shasta with simply stars behind it. And I used to be identical to, “Wow, okay, that is tremendous particular.” Anyway, superior journey. I keep in mind sliding down with my axe, my ice axe, and sitting on my backpack to go down manner quicker as a result of I used to be exhausted at that time. I keep in mind very particularly attending to a velocity the place I assumed, you already know what? There’s no turning again, however I’m going manner too quick. And if you happen to’ve ever seen these movies on TV the place folks’s just like the ice axe by way of their leg, like, I used to be having flashes that I’m like, “I’m going to finish up at this…”

Dan: It’s going to occur. They’re going to have a begin. My favourite second on Mount Shasta was we wakened early identical to you guys, otherwise you did if you’re by your self. We acquired about halfway up the mountain and the solar began arising and the shadow of the mountain fell on the clouds under. It was a particular epic second. It’s a particular journey. It’s value doing. And it’s very approachable right here for Californians. It’s not onerous to get to.

Meb: I’ve so many enjoyable tales. All proper, so, we’re going to speak about all issues ETFs, character. I wish to hear a bit bit about your background. You bought a enjoyable origin story. You spend a while on another nations and continents. Give us the timeline origin story for Dan.

Dan: Yeah, man. I began off fairly humble, nonetheless am fairly humble, labored my manner by way of faculty operating my poison ivy killing enterprise in Boston the place my mother and father reside. I used to be generally known as Dan, the poison ivy man. All people had it, no one needed it, and I used to be the one one silly sufficient to go do away with it. So, after I graduated from faculty, that’s all I actually knew easy methods to do. However a man named Joe Ritchie grabbed me out of faculty. Joe Ritchie based a reasonably well-known buying and selling firm, which was known as Chicago Analysis and Buying and selling, CRT. They usually have been the biggest choices and futures agency on the earth again then. They usually traded I feel one thing like ridiculous quantities within the quantity of whole market. I joined him after he had offered to Financial institution of America. We have been managing his personal cash. We at all times had quant fashions going that Joe was creating. We’re allocating capital by way of personal fairness and venture-type methods all around the world.

However we additionally did these loopy overseas diplomacy prompts. Joe would take his affect and attempt to make a distinction in Washington on areas of the a part of the world that he thought we’re lacking from a coverage standpoint. So, we labored on attempting to assist Iraq after the primary invasion with the financial sanctions, working with the three spiritual leaders there. After which we’re in the course of Afghanistan pre 9/11. Two years earlier than 9/11, Joe and I have been working in Washington to attempt to discover a technique to overthrow the Taliban. And all these jobs form of opened the world to me in a manner that was simply unbelievable. The opposite factor I did with Joe’s after 9/11, I used to be bored with overseas diplomacy and politics. I launched the primary character fund. That’s primarily based on what I’m doing right now.

Meb: What’s the 12 months within the timeline?

Dan: That was early 2000s, within the early 2000s. It got here from a dialog the place Joe and I used to be sitting round and he goes, “Man, I simply want I knew who the nice ones have been, who the CEOs that truly have character as a result of I feel that’d be an unimaginable long-term predictor of a efficiency of an organization.” And he was at all times coming at it from the standpoint of a coach. He mentioned, “It’s going to be tough to research Wall Avenue and each facet of taking the identified knowledge swimming pools and reduce them in numerous methods.” However I feel we might be higher than the market at understanding this one section of the market, which is character. And on the time, I used to be studying Collins’ guide, “Good to Nice.” After which, I used to be additionally attempting to deliver an organization to Japan known as Tal Plus [SP] out in Nebraska. They usually develop behavior-based interview methods to quantify the diploma wherein an individual suits a job utilizing an interview course of. And so, I put two and two collectively and used Collins’ findings round degree 5 leaders as the standards. They usually constructed a behavior-based interview round that and began speaking to everyone on the road, analysts. We scored the CEO purely on the premise of this one standards after which allotted capital.

Initially, we went brief. We additionally form of surveyed for the dangerous guys. And we had a nasty man record and an excellent particular person record. And we went brief. The dangerous CEOs, alongside the nice ones rapidly realized that the shorts form of have been consuming our shorts, actually killing us, as a result of they have been one of the best at manipulating fact.

Meb: They exist within the pump and dump world. And it’s humorous, by the best way, you observe a number of the actual dangerous, which, surprisingly, typically, for some cause, gave the impression to be positioned in Salt Lake Metropolis, Vancouver, another locales. However they proceed to have 9 lives, which is form of loopy to me. It’s like usually, you see the CEO then you definately’re like, “Okay, that was completely atrocious. I’d by no means put money into that particular person once more.” However then they simply form of, like, resurface, like, a 12 months or two later someplace else.

Dan: Identical factor in politics. I imply, it’s wonderful how the market forgives. So, we acquired out of a brief enterprise. It grew to become a market timing recreation, and we weren’t available in the market timing. We simply form of ran longs. So, that’s how the technique first acquired began. It was fairly attention-grabbing.

Meb: That’s a enjoyable inspiration. How early within the course of was this one thing that was quantified? And perhaps it was from the get-go. And my notion, it’s like, you’re sitting across the early days, like, “All proper, this man’s whole wanker. This man is clearly a liar. This man is operating this for his personal private profit,” no matter, on and on and on, or the place you, like, you already know what? That is truly going to be a framework. We’re going to attempt to be rules-based and goal. What was the unique idea and the way has it advanced over the previous decade plus?

Dan: The unique idea was very rules-based. It wasn’t sitting round saying, “Hey, Bob over there’s a actually good man.” And one of many issues we realized actually fast, Meb, was that folks that knew CEOs on the golf membership or church pews didn’t know CEOs. I imply, the easiest way to get to this understanding, the holy grail of this method is knowing folks which might be within the trenches with the CEOs. And so, I’d converse with Wall Avenue analysts again then and ask them questions like, “Of the businesses you observe, who do you suppose would possibly put the corporate earlier than their very own pursuits? Who tends to be extra humble than they’re boastful?” They usually couldn’t simply say… They might truly say, “Okay, give me a narrative. Give me a cause.” That knowledge and that data relayed would then form of be markers that we might be capable of use in our grading scorecard for every dialog and every bit of knowledge that we discovered that was related to the knowledge we’re in search of. Every CEO had a special rating, and it was all pushed by this evaluation. And so, we’re form of attempting to create a stability sheet nearly on character and apply it and actually attempt to pressure a self-discipline round it. And I feel that’s actually essential as a result of this isn’t opinion-based. You’re on the market looking for markers of character. I imply, loads of the issues that the road form of throws out on the ground doesn’t know easy methods to worth. And we predict it’s priceless after we know a CEO would possibly put the corporate earlier than their very own curiosity. And we predict it makes a giant distinction. These are the sorts of items of knowledge that we’re consistently on the market attempting to reap and arrange, to your level.

Meb: I think about loads of the listeners are listening to this and attempting to conceptualize of their heads and saying, “Okay, properly, it appears difficult to have the ability to bucket folks into good, dangerous, or a spectrum.” So, inform us a bit bit about…and this might be the historic knowledge versus thought, however the idea, let’s get a bit extra concrete on, like, what’s truly going into how the sausage will get made about, is that this a character-driven CEO or not?

Dan: What we’re utilizing right now… I got here again to this final two years. And one of many attention-grabbing issues that motivated me have been the next. One, it felt like character wanted to be firmed on the earth, which means that it mattered. And there wasn’t loads of locations the place you would form of categorical your worth for it. Two, I went and did some again checks on our earlier funding method. It seems that that mannequin that Joe and I developed collectively 20 years in the past carried out very, very properly over the 20-year interval, which was one other working example and proof that we’re on to one thing. The opposite factor we tried to do is we attempt to analyze it from an element’s perspective as to why, and solely 30% of the outperformance was explainable by conventional components, 70% was unexplainable, which means it didn’t have a correlation to conventional components. So, we predict we have now stumbled onto a brand new, if you’ll, issue because it pertains to driver for efficiency. Then, throughout these 20 years, after I wasn’t engaged on the technique, and quick ahead to right now, I Googled, “Does anybody care about character as soon as?” And up popped this guide known as “Return on Character,” which is what we named our fund after. And it was a guide written by Fred Kiel printed by “Harvard Enterprise Overview.”

Fred performed a seven-year research on the influence of excessive character CEOs versus low character CEOs, and do they outperform? And his outcomes present that prime character CEOs outperform low character CEOs by 5X, as measured by return on belongings. And that was one other knowledge level that simply, once more, affirmed the technique as a priceless factor to attempt to work on. And so, what we did is I reached out to KRW, which is Fred’s firm. They usually lead our analysis in attempting to know easy methods to analyze CEOs right now for this attribute. One in all their companions, analysis collaborators, they’re working with these college professors that have been utilizing behavioral integrity, pure language processing to measure integrity. Now, to interrupt down character, we outline it in 4 alternative ways, or having 4 parts, integrity, accountability, forgiveness, and compassion. And so, we’re consistently in search of markers in a type of 4 areas to have the ability to create and construct the composite character rating.

However our first display screen was utilizing behavioral integrity evaluation with the professors that KRW introduced from College of Virginia, Duke, and Yale to run our first display screen. And we ran a display screen on I feel 700 firms, the biggest 700 firms within the Russell. And that introduced our record all the way down to a smaller composite. Then, our subsequent step was publicly out there knowledge and scrubbing all these sources for markers of accountability, forgiveness, and compassion, three different parts of character. And that was achieved by three completely different folks independently, after which the composite character rating was added to the integrity rating. After which, we additionally conduct behavior-based interviews, the place we requested the road and requested folks accustomed to the sector, “Inform me in regards to the CEOs within the sector that you simply’re accustomed to.” and we run them by way of the identical course of as I did earlier than. All these three inputs find yourself giving us a composite character rating, which we used to weigh the businesses that we ended up placing within the portfolio.

Meb: Possibly this can be useful for listeners, you don’t have to present away the golden formulation or something proprietary, but it surely appears straightforward simply to say, “Okay, like, integrity, forgiveness, accountability.” Like, what does that truly imply if you’re saying form of on a quantitative degree? Like, how does that truly display screen…? Most individuals, it in all probability sounds subjective. You’re doing an goal lens to this.

Dan: We use CEO shareholder letters and convention name communications. And so, we have now over 30 years of shareholder letter evaluation on many of the Russell 1000 that we use to do our first display screen utilizing behavioral integrity like pure language processing.

Meb: Cool. So, give me some extra examples. Okay, so the integrity, that’s like a language display screen. On the others, are they related…? Is it language-based? Like, how do you identify for the others? What are they once more, compassion, forgiveness?

Dan: Integrity, accountability, takes accountability for private decisions, issues like proudly owning errors once they screw up, embrace this accountability, attempting to depart the world a greater place. Forgiveness, letting go of 1’s errors, letting go of others’ errors, specializing in what’s proper versus what’s fallacious. After which compassion is empathy for others, you already know, asking for assist, empowering others, actively caring for others. And so, we run screens on Glassdoor for lots of those markers as proof rated by varied completely different staff. We go after language movies performed with the CEOs and search for markers or examples of those three different traits. We additionally learn articles on all these varied completely different CEOs and, once more, attempting to search for these markers form of popping up and discovering proof that, “Okay, we see this right here. We see him letting go of errors or making a mistake and proudly owning it,” or a sure degree of empathy and the best way wherein they responded to COVID, for instance. All these issues start to supply factors and get factors to have the ability to give us a degree of confidence for these different three standards’s that we’re utilizing. After which the identical factor with behavior-based interviews, if you’re sitting and speaking to folks, you’re listening for these markers. After which, when these markers are hit, they get documented and added to the composite rating.

Meb: Is it extra that the constructive alerts…and it may be each side, the constructive alerts actually bubble up one of the best, or is it extra just like the destructive ones kick folks out? So, like, I’m simply attempting to consider, like, the megalomaniac CEO that perhaps, okay, on a few these, but it surely simply completely has no self-awareness with accountability and blames different… How does the composite form of work?

Dan: We don’t are likely to concentrate on the negatives. I’ll let you know that the habits integrity display screen that we use, the Wirecard occasion, an instance of a giant blowup in Germany, and this course of flagged the destructive there. Our orientation isn’t across the destructive. Usually, we simply attempt to concentrate on what we name as a hyperlink rating. The decrease the hyperlink rating, the higher the outcomes because it pertains to behavioral integrity. And we aren’t screening for negatives. We’re simply attempting to spend our time in specializing in who tends to lean this course greater than others. And the opposite factor too is, like, we’re not going to get it proper 100% of the time, however we’re diversified over 106 completely different firms and all sectors, mark cap-weighted. And we simply suppose that this may outperform over time greater than it gained’t.

Meb: There’s two components of this that I’d like to the touch on. One is that you simply truly did effective, and you may converse to it, like what the unfold was. As a result of, like, loads of the dialogue about…to not lump you in ESG, however ESG form of umbrella, “Look, hey, we could or could not outperform.” However it is a higher manner simply to get you S&P publicity. Your situation, you’re not solely saying, “Hey, look, let’s make investments with these people who find themselves higher stewards,” but additionally, this may increasingly truly outperform. Is that form of a part of the argument? And in that case, discuss to us a bit bit in regards to the quantitative research or analysis, how to consider that.

Dan: No, our rivalry is that even if you happen to don’t consider in character, we predict it is a good funding technique as a result of the analysis actually factors to it. You have a look at Fred Kiel’s guide, “Return on Character,” I imply, “Harvard Enterprise Overview,” you have a look at that and all of the proof is there. You have a look at Collins’ guide and he cites the extent 5 leaders. There’s all these completely different analysis markers. I imply, there’s quite a few research on humility that’s come out that has an enormous impact on management and its consequence in the best way firms carry out. After which, I’ve my very own expertise, the place I truly ran this technique earlier than, in the course of the time we have been invested for 4 years and we persistently outperformed the market. After which, we went again into the analysis on what it might have achieved if we stored it going. And that very same outperformance continued for 20 years.

And so, you already know higher than anyone, previous efficiency isn’t a prediction of future efficiency. However we predict that there’s actually one thing there on simply the efficiency facet. One other factor too, research have proven that 70% of an organization’s efficiency is a mix of market circumstances and enterprise mannequin. Enterprise fashions for large firms just like the Russell 1000, they’re all fairly related as you go sector to sector. The most important alternative for change in an organization good and dangerous actually turns into the 30%, and that’s administration and management. And management is one thing that we predict is immediately correlated to habits. And it issues particularly… Have you ever ever labored for somebody that was a nasty boss?

Meb: Yeah, properly, let’s not name out any on the podcast particularly by identify. I’m saying I’ve been my very own boss for many of my profession. So, technically, sure, I’ve labored for myself. However, look, I’ve actually labored with associate who had tough work experiences. Sure. And I’m certain everybody listening can say sure.

Dan: You already know, the distinction and the way it makes you’re feeling. You’re both leaving the day feeling constructive about life and hopeful figuring out anyone’s acquired your again, or somebody’s attempting to go after you and also you don’t belief them. And that has an enormous impact on the best way you work together along with your colleagues at work. It has an impact on the best way you drive your automobile house and if you greet your children if you get house. And we simply suppose that there’s loads of argument for why that is an economically rational method. However we additionally suppose its consequential influence is equally priceless within the sense that if we’re, as a market, as buyers, attempting to allocate our capital into firms which might be champion or no less than working in direction of this type of habits, that makes one other huge distinction too. And if we may by some means begin to sway the best way folks take into account how they rent CEOs and leaders, as a result of we’ve been capable of present that this truly issues after which truly outperforms over time, that will be an important byproduct of the outperformance that we hope to have the ability to present.

Meb: The composite rating, how does this truly work? So, do you guys have like a 0 to 100 composite rating and also you’re actually in search of the highest quintile, or quartile, or one thing?

Dan: The tails of the bell curve, on the finish of the day, we solely have 106 firms. It’s not like we have now 500.

Meb: And what’s the universe?

Dan: Russell 1000. We solely acquired knowledge on roughly 700 firms. And we’re staying form of within the bigger universe as a result of we actually need this to be a method to get market publicity. Now we have a barely decrease beta than the market. What’s attention-grabbing too is that Fred’s analysis, “Return on Character,” confirmed that high-character CEOs’ firms tended to have a better return on fairness and decrease debt ratios. We went and performed our evaluation on our present portfolio. Our firms have the identical form of leaning as properly, decrease debt, increased return on fairness. We haven’t been capable of unnecessarily monitor our worker engagement but by way of our evaluation. However that’s one other indicator that Kiel recognized as a constant facet of CEOs that are usually on the upper finish of the character curve.

Meb: And so, you guys don’t simply do CEO. Do you do the entire C-suite? Do I recall that?

Dan: That will be the purpose. Generally, we will achieve some understanding of the C-suite, generally we will’t. However we have now to begin with the CEO. Usually, if in case you have a high-character CEO, your odds of them having a really high-leaning character of C-suite is way higher. And one of many issues that we’ve launched, we’re actually assured in our course of however our hope is to be one of the best within the house at understanding this one sliver of the market over the course of our existence. And so, we’re simply consistently in search of methods to be higher. And moving into the C-suite at a deep degree can be a long-term goal, for certain.

Meb: Discuss to me about how typically are you this? Is it continuous? Is it yearly? How does it get examined?

Dan: We stability, if wanted, each quarter. After which we’re consistently watching our CEOs and our firms. One of many issues that it’s essential to make a distinction right here is that we don’t see character as one thing meaning errors gained’t be made. In truth, we frequently see when folks screw up, like after I screw up or anyone, it’s like the final word check to have a look at character. Once we’re reviewing all our CEOs, we’re consistently in search of how they react to the challenges, what’s it that they do once they do screw up? Do they personal it or not? An awesome instance of that, after I first did this fund, I acquired to know Jim Sinegal of Costco as a result of he popped up on the record. He was certainly one of our early CEOs. And he since final day turned it over to Craig, the present CEO, and Jim was telling me a narrative about Craig and the way quickly after Jim had left, they’d a situation the place they’d these little indicators of their jewellery bins at Costco. Have you ever ever been to Costco?

Meb: Yeah, but it surely’s been some time, so I don’t… What’s a jewellery field?

Dan: A jewellery field is the place they promote their diamond rings and every little thing else, and watches, and issues like that. They usually had an indication that mentioned, “Diamonds reduce like Tiffany diamonds.” And Jim had expressed some fear about it. However ultimately, anyone forgot to place reduce like and simply put Tiffany diamonds within the case. And certain sufficient, Tiffany is available in. It’s form of upset. They usually lawyer up and Costco lawyer mentioned to lawyer up. And Craig form of steps in and says, “Wait a minute, we screwed up. We have to personal this. We don’t must deny it. We have to personal our mistake and make it proper.” To me, that’s an incredible instance of character that bleeds into, not solely his however the firm’s status. And I feel you see it performed out in that firm even right now. These sorts of issues matter.

Meb: So, a few questions. You talked about CEO transition. So, what do you do? Do you simply need to, like, restart the rankings throughout? What occurs in that situation the place you’ve acquired is it a subjective transition? Had been you want, “Okay, this gal seems to be fairly first rate too?” How do you deal with that, which I assume occurs not too occasionally?

Dan: Yeah, no, we exit the place anytime a CEO leaves. Now we have to run a brand new evaluation on that, which takes a while, a part of certainly one of our circumstances.

Meb: How do you deal with one thing factor like, “Okay, we acquired a highly-rated CEO,” after which they do one thing that will knock their rating down. So, I don’t know, simply 2022, they get cancelled for doing X, which was a nasty habits, no matter it might that will journey your sign. Is it like a right away, or do you then need to, like, apply a lens and say, “Okay, we have to study this as a result of perhaps it’s not what we predict?” How does that play into the portfolio from that time?

Dan: We might positively have to look at the state of affairs to actually perceive precisely what the journey up was. However that will be achieved fairly rapidly. And it wouldn’t be achieved essentially utilizing analytics. We might use our personal private judgment on the state of affairs, and whether or not or not we would have liked to drag that CEO from the portfolio.

Meb: What is perhaps useful is to perhaps undergo both some good ones and provides some examples and/or some who’s lacking and provides some examples. I feel which may give us a bit extra concrete, real-world feels about what these guys and gals are doing. Warren and Charlie in there? They acquired to be good behaviors, proper? The place do they rank?

Dan: Yeah, they’ve made it. Possibly, yeah.

Meb: Okay, as you say, you already know, perhaps they’re peddling an excessive amount of sugary drinks, and that…

Dan: That’s proper.

Meb: …takes them down on the…

Dan: Sees sweet, yeah, it’s simply an excessive amount of. Yeah, we don’t have loads of firms which might be very controversial, mockingly. I imply, I feel our most controversial firm is a taser firm.

Meb: That’s an excellent query is how typically…? As a result of I think about folks listening, like, you’re not truly making use of the 4 standards to the precise working enterprise, or is there some form of spillover impact?

Dan: We’re probably not taking an ethical filter on the precise business enterprise. That’s one other degree. And it will get messy fairly fast, so far as everyone has completely different opinions. And so, we attempt to keep impartial there. Some real-life examples, I imply, there’s some previous ones which might be nice, Herb Kelleher at Southwest, Jim Sinegal of Costco. We had Claiborne Deming at Murphy Oil. So far, one of many issues that’s a component of our course of is that we don’t essentially dig into loads of particular tales on the CEO after we actually attempt to depend on our course of. The brand new CEO, or it’s not too new, of Microsoft has simply popped up so far as simply reworking the tradition of that firm. UiPath’s CEO, Dan, was a extremely attention-grabbing man. Their main precept is humility as an organization, which I assumed was actually fascinating so far as simply an antidote of a kind of firm that we have now in our portfolio.

However we’re consistently in search of further inputs and understandings of present firms on the market within the market. And it’s enjoyable to be taught. I imply, it’s so enjoyable in search of one thing good versus in search of one thing dangerous. And it truly is thrilling when you’ll be able to begin seeing a development in a particular firm and perceive that, man, these are folks actually working attempting to do higher. Nicely, we will discuss in regards to the dangerous. That’s effective. Man, by the best way, Kelleher, I used to have a quote of his hanging in my toilet. And I’m going to muck it up. However it mentioned one thing alongside the strains of, “Now we have a strategic plan. It’s known as doing issues,” or one thing like that, proper? Like, it’s such a Kelleher quote. It’s so correct. Let’s speak about a number of names. You can provide me their ranking or in the event that they fall in or out. Elon, the place’s Elon as a CEO?

Dan: I have a tendency to have a look at the Elons of the world as productive narcissists, ones that you simply wouldn’t essentially guess in opposition to as a result of in loads of methods, these guys are the corporate. So, they’d at all times put the corporate earlier than their very own curiosity. He didn’t make our record, however we don’t wish to go destructive however we additionally don’t like to speak about our record as being form of a method to make different folks look dangerous. We additionally don’t see character as a hard and fast factor. We expect it may be developed. Elon might be on the record. In a manner, I’m cheering for all 1,000 firms and the remaining emigrate this course. There are particular CEOs that aren’t on the record for apparent causes. However I feel we additionally know why the other of what we’re attempting to determine is tremendous harmful. We wish to affirm the nice facet of the bell curve. We wish to discover the few which might be over right here. And the few which might be over right here, we simply wish to avoid. And I feel most individuals ought to wish to avoid them. However we’re not within the enterprise actually, Meb, of figuring out them. It’s simply not our house.

Meb: No, it is smart. By the best way, you guys, listeners, Dan has launched an ETF, the ROCI ETF, nice ticker, with our superb pals at Alpha Architect Western crew, proper? When did you guys launch?

Dan: March twenty fourth.

Meb: Current.

Dan: Yeah, so we’re simply out of the gate.

Meb: Simply out of the gate, that’s thrilling. I can keep in mind that identical to yesterday, our first fund.

Dan: When did you launch your first fund, Meb?

Meb: 2013. We sub-advised one in post-financial disaster, sooner than 2013. Possibly like 2010, if I can keep in mind. So, inform us a bit bit the way you do that in apply, so, what number of names, how do they get weighted, when do they get rebounds, all that great things.

Dan: Now we have 106 names. It’s marked midway throughout all sectors. We’re actually taking the top-weighted CEOs from our standards or our evaluation for every sector. We would like the technique to any outperformance that we carry out to be actually attributed to character versus any components that could be driving it. And so, equal-weighted the market cap perspective. We rebalance as wanted each quarter. And we’re consistently monitoring and reviewing our record all year long, and likewise consistently in search of new CEOs as we go. Analysis is consistently in course of. And it’s designed, Meb, to be form of a method to get market publicity, however solely allocate your cash to management and corporations which might be pursuing this type of habits. As a substitute of placing your cash on the broader market, that on character, or put money into character, we predict you’ll carry out over time. And in addition, it’s affirming one thing that I feel makes the world a bit higher. And that’s form of the worth proposition as a result of we’re attempting to, in a manner, nearly create a personality market.

Meb: What has been the preliminary reception for the way persons are form of receiving it? And what I imply by that’s not essentially are simply folks dumping tens of millions of {dollars} into it however loads of instances, after we’ll launch a product or an thought, we’ll get some responses that we didn’t anticipate, or folks say, “Oh, attention-grabbing,” and never essentially in a destructive but additionally in a constructive manner. Or perhaps they are saying this suits in differently or one thing. Like, what’s form of been a number of the conversations you’re having and the way are folks interested by this right here in 2022?

Dan: Typically, it’s very uncommon folks don’t prefer it. It’s like this appeals to one thing nearly innate, and people who goes…it’s nearly like a duh. In fact, that is smart. And the typical investor will say folks which might be within the business completely like it. They have an inclination to at all times ask, “How can I purchase?” And it’s important to clarify it to your advisor and allocate parts of your present portfolio to [inaudible 00:32:34.364]. The subtle buyers are consistently it in comparison with every little thing else that they do. And I feel all of them just like the premise. They wish to see a monitor report over time, as most individuals would. However there’s an actual broad and basic openness to it I’ve discovered up to now. There are at all times one or two individuals who suppose that character doesn’t matter. They cite different firms the place our CEOs have outperformed, have achieved very well, they usually don’t have character. And so, that’s at all times straightforward to do. However, generally, it’s been very properly acquired. And the primary factor is simply getting the phrase out that there’s now some first time. I keep in mind the primary behavior-based funding product I feel the SEC has ever authorized. And it’s a form of a brand new different. We don’t fairly know the place we match but within the SG world, however we actually suppose it’s related, and we’re hoping that folks additionally care about investing in character and see us as a manner to try this.

Meb: You might have a pleasant web site that you simply’re constructing out, and I used to be smiling as a result of it talks in regards to the issues that do matter, the issues that don’t matter, age, tenure, business, training, profession path, political stance, beliefs, faith, and household historical past, which I assumed was nice.

Dan: It’s all research-based evaluation. The opposite attention-grabbing factor is that the 4 traits discovered that we outline this character, integrity, accountability, forgiveness, and compassion are additionally the traits in different cultures which might be attributed to the definition of character. And so, this isn’t simply, say, an American factor. Most societies would acknowledge that these 4 areas introduced collectively Is form of a illustration of character. So, we might like to sometime take this past America and go to Europe and Asian markets.

Meb: Presumably, it ought to apply, no?

Dan: Sure.

Meb: I ponder how a lot cultural distinction you see in a few of these nations. I imply, not solely may you globally, however you’ll basically find yourself with some nation cultural ranks, I’d assume, the place some nations, simply by the best way that persons are wired socially, that they might have decrease weights on a few of these.

Dan: See, that’s the factor that’s attention-grabbing is the analysis exhibits that telling the reality is linked to integrity, taking tasks for if you screw up is linked to accountability, forgiveness, forgiving different folks once they screw up, compassion, empathy for others. Anytime these 4 traits form of mix does usually outline, properly, that particular person’s acquired character. I’ve talked to Fred Kiel about this. And he says, “Yeah, it’s nearly like this common rule that form of runs by way of us all.” These issues matter because it pertains to the way you outline character. Like I mentioned, the opposite issues the place you mentioned doesn’t have something to do along with your habits sort, your character sort, for instance, you’re introvert otherwise you’re extrovert, it doesn’t matter. It might probably come up in any form of human being.

Meb: It’s attention-grabbing as a result of there are loads of further avenues this might go together with completely different subsets of the globe. As you concentrate on experiencing and refining the analysis within the coming horizon as you look out, what are some areas the place you’re form of like scratching your head or pondering within the Redding woods, the place you’re like, “I ponder if we may incorporate X?” or, “I’m curious if these measures could correlate to Y?” like, what are y’all interested by as you look out to the long run?

Dan: After I look out to the long run, I actually return to analysis and the way we might be higher at understanding this facet of the market. I can’t assist however suppose if you happen to go on Amazon and also you have a look at this pen, for instance, they’ll have like 20 evaluations on this pen. Folks take the time to jot down their opinions. A dream of mine can be to have the ability to present a method to begin to present a voice to folks which might be working within the trenches and to have the ability to begin offering perspective on the best way management behaves and culminating that knowledge and utilizing it as an informative method to allocate investments. That’s one thing that I take into consideration quite a bit and the way greatest to try this as a result of I feel there’s lots of people which have quite a bit to say about how they’re handled or their experiences at work. And it’s so private and related that it’d be nice to determine easy methods to form of unlock that in a extra deep and sustainable method.

Meb: Yeah, how does the Glassdoor impact, something like that ever play into it? The place you, like, “Look, the CEO says all the appropriate issues however behind the scenes, this man is a complete tyrant.” Is that one thing that ever surfaces otherwise you ever, like, take into consideration, you already know, on the identical time, the Glassdoor is completely unreliable as a result of it might be a bunch of staff that simply acquired fired?

Dan: Proper. I had one situation the place I simply known as Christian leaders and mentioned, “Hey, this CEO is simply unimaginable. He’s acquired an unimaginable character.” However then all my evaluation on the CEO exhibits that he was extra like the final and some good males that put the concern of God in all subordinates. And so, you rapidly realized that the best way these folks behave, CEOs behave on the golf membership will not be indicative of how they behave within the trenches. And so, the extra that we will refine our evaluation utilizing a wide range of completely different instruments, Glassdoor evaluations are nice as a degree of consideration, not the purpose of consideration, the higher we’ll be at understanding. There’s loads of instruments which might be out there right now that haven’t been prior to now that may assist us achieve each an understanding of this facet of firms, not simply from the standpoint of, say, pure language processing, synthetic intelligence of habits, of language, but additionally simply folks’s capacity to freely categorical data. And people are all issues that I feel and hope that we will develop over time and actually enhance upon and make us smarter. And in addition, it’ll be form of enjoyable is that it begins to indicate in impact. CEOs truly suppose twice earlier than they behave poorly as a result of habits begins to matter. That will be a neat byproduct.

Meb: Yeah, you simply begin publishing your record. That’s like the actual get the CEOs to begin behaving, publicly shaming them and saying, “Look, man, you’re backside quartile proper now. You bought to select it up.” There’s a facet enterprise for you, promoting entry to the record of all the general public boards across the nation and being like, “Yo, you guys, your CEO is considering up the joint. Possibly you must take into consideration one thing else.” That will be an attention-grabbing, activist marketing campaign state of affairs. You’re going to get… Elliott, if you happen to’re listening to this podcast, Carl Icahn, if you happen to’re listening, right here’s your targets proper right here.

Dan: It might be an actual consciousness if the boards are asking the query, “Why isn’t my CEO on the record?” And if we will get that a lot traction, and we will show… Most individuals have a core a part of their funding technique that sits within the markets on a broad degree, just like the Russell 1000 or the S&P 500, our worth proposition, our request available in the market is transfer proportion of that over to the character fund, VOC ETF, and get form of the identical relative threat returns with the upside of character over time. The extra we will get folks investing in character and exhibiting that that issues, that they do care about habits, and that, in a manner, it’s form of a vote that they consider it would outperform, the extra consideration we’ll get, I feel, with these firms, with these board of administrators. That’s the long-term purpose. We’re orienting ourselves in direction of attempting to construct a method that can be right here for 100 years. We don’t wish to promote it. I’ve acquired an unimaginable investor in Bridgeway Capital Administration, which is out of Houston, John Montgomery, and Tamra, the CEO there, our principal buyers. And we’re targeted on attempting to create a product that’s out there for so long as folks care about character available in the market, there’s the place to affirm it. That’s our focus. And we’re actually excited. I imply, we’re simply getting began, Meb. And certainly, I actually do respect you having us on.

Meb: Oh, it’s enjoyable. John is a former podcast alum, listeners, episode 323, if you wish to take a look at a enjoyable chat. He’s one of many OGs of quantitative investing, as I discussed to him within the present, even owned his fund at one level many moons in the past.

Dan: John was the one which did our backtest overview of our earlier portfolio and his head form of fell off his shoulders once they noticed and found this type of what we name the character issue. That unique efficiency will not be associated to our fund right now, however my unique technique, solely 30% of the outperformance was associated to components, 70% John couldn’t clarify. And so, he acquired fairly excited.

Meb: If anyone is aware of extra about components in testing, John is without doubt one of the few. As we begin to wind down, Dan, what else? Something we missed within the basic dialog about character-based investing, or like, “Yo, Meb, we must always have talked about X, Y, Z,” or we’d lined all? What else is in there?

Dan: Nicely, I imply, you already know, from my standpoint, I’m actually targeted on attempting to persuade folks to place 20%, 30% of their market publicity in ROC ETF. It’s a giant piece however we’re simply getting going. We’re seeking to construct a neighborhood of people who suppose character issues. We’re calling it ROC Ambassadors. The fund is connecting with different buyers that suppose it issues and wish to affirm it. So, we’re at all times in search of folks,

Meb: How are you going to attach these? You guys are going to construct out a Slack channel, or is there going to be a manner you’re going to carry the ROC convention in some unspecified time in the future? What’s a great way for these guys to attach ultimately? You’re nonetheless brainstorming.

Dan: We’re nonetheless brainstorming. We’re a month out. We’d like to have a ROC convention, a Slack connection level. We’re in search of ambassadors. Meb, would you be a ROC ambassador for us?

Meb: You bought to ship me some swag, and no less than one free fishing lesson in Northern California.

Dan: Completely, and a waterfall go to. Yeah, I feel you’d like that one too.

Meb: Cool. I’m going to hit you for the [inaudible 00:42:45.234] stuff. Nicely, yeah, I imply, it’s attention-grabbing. I really like the concept and the idea. It’s one of many ideas that additionally, like, you wish to consider in, the place you’re, like, hopeful that that is the best way it really works and never the other. The nice guys win, guys and gals. So, that’s fairly cool. What’s been your most memorable funding, wanting again over time? You’ve achieved quite a bit, been in loads of locations. Something that seared into your mind?

Dan: Nicely, I feel my most memorable funding has been my unique funding character fund that was capable of outperform for 20 years by investing in CEOs that had tendency to behave with character and honor. I had the privilege of attending to know quite a lot of these CEOs. And the neat factor about that’s that all of them are likely to make you higher as an individual. And it’s not too typically you could be within the funding world and truly develop into higher as a consequence of your focus. On this case, that was in all probability my biggest guess. And the best consequence is having the ability to form of show that it does matter, you already know, and it really works. That’s what I’d maintain up for instance.

Meb: All proper, properly, listeners, all my public firm CEOs, if you happen to’re not on their holdings record, you bought to succeed in out to Dan and say, “What’s happening, man? There’s one other line of enterprise… I must amp up my quantity. The place am I going fallacious right here?”

Dan: Meb, I feel it’s essential to say, and it is a actually cool facet of this, is that Fred, he launched a consulting firm that truly goes in… It’s known as KRW Worldwide. They usually go into big firms and assist firms develop this facet. And their rivalry is it’s not that folks have or don’t have character, it’s the way you develop it over time. And so KRW, if you happen to’re not on the record, truly is the answer to this facet of the coin. We’re solely seeking to attempt to determine KRW Worldwide after which those I labored with on the analysis entrance can present an answer to get firms form of wanting and orienting on this course. It’s actually thrilling.

Meb: Superior. Nicely, look, man, the place do folks discover out in the event that they wish to take a look at the fund, what you guys are as much as? What’s one of the best place?

Dan:, is the place we reside. And you can too discover me on LinkedIn. I welcome folks reaching out, giving me their opinion on completely different firms or concepts. The extra we will rally collectively… If ever there was a neighborhood method to investing, it’s this as a result of all of us and many people reside with these CEOs or reside and work in these firms are accustomed to them from an expert standpoint, we welcome the dialogue. I look ahead to listening to from folks.

Meb: Superior, man. Dan, it’s been a blast. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us right now.

Dan: Yeah, it was an honor. I actually respect it.

Meb: Podcast listeners, we’ll submit present notes to right now’s dialog at If you happen to love the present, if you happen to hate it, shoot us suggestions at We like to learn the evaluations. Please overview us on iTunes and subscribe to the present, wherever good podcasts are discovered. Thanks for listening, pals, and good investing.



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