A common investment mantra is that high risk equals high returns. Yet, if we look back at history, we see so often this is not the case, for the simple reason that excitement is fundamentally overvalued.
We can of course in hindsight look back on bubbles throughout history and wonder why on earth anyone was willing to get involved. Take for example the Dutch Tulip Bulb Market Bubble in the early 1600s, when speculation and social status drove the value of tulips to extreme levels – the rarest tulips up to 6 times average salaries at the height of the market!
Or indeed the Great Baseball Card Bubble of the 1980s, where collecting went from a niche hobby to big business, as irrational exuberance drove prices to absurd levels.
Rising values created demand in both of these examples but before long, prices reversed as exuberance was swapped for panic selling as the bubble popped.
Yet we see market experts also overpaying for excitement. Whether it was mortgage-backed securities in ’07 or technology stocks in ‘99, it seems that the market easily forgets irrational exuberance from years gone by. Today we have the crypto-currency boom which is drawing investors in, on the hope you are smart enough to ride the boom and get out before the bust, or indeed that ‘this time it’s different.’
As high yield investors, we do not believe that investing is as simple as high risk equals high return – we are firm in our belief that excitement is so often overvalued. Rather, we believe that while quality is boring, boring is fundamentally undervalued. For that simple reason, we enjoy the not-so-secret pleasure of buying undervalued, ‘boring’ bonds.
This means that when the bubbles pop, we are left holding a whole lot more than those investors gripping on to their bit of cardboard with a picture of a baseball player on it.