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Reminiscences of Marty Zweig: What I Learned From a Market Great: Liz Ann Sonders

FYI: On February 18, while on vacation, I received a shocking phone call. My first mentor and boss, Wall Street icon Marty Zweig, had passed away. I've been extremely blessed throughout my 27-year career to work with some of the most transformative and legendary folks in the business. Marty was one.

I worked for him (and his partner at Avatar Associates, Ned Babbitt) for 13 years, starting in 1986 after I graduated from college. Another would be Louis Rukeyser, with whom Marty and I shared the "stage" on Wall Street Week for many years as regular panelists. And of course, I've had the great thrill of working for Chuck Schwab since 2000. It doesn't get any better than learning from these legends over the past 27 years.


  • Thanks for the link to a grand piece. It also had a link to the Wall Street Week show just before the 1987 crash, which I enjoyed now more than then. Marty was really expecting a bad day ...
  • MJG
    edited May 2015
    Hi Guys,

    Thank you Ted for this walk down memory lane. It is a worthwhile trip.

    For a long time I believed that Marty Zweig and Jason Zweig were related. I was wrong.

    I suppose I made that false connection because of the rather conservative investment style that both gentlemen advocated and practiced. As a panel member on Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street Week TV show, the Marty version seemed the most conservative member of that gang; he seemed to be at least a semi-permabear with his constant worrisome outlooks. The Jason version shares in many of those conservative and worrisome attributes.

    Marty Zweig liked to talk about the difference between the “rifle” and the “shotgun” approaches to investing. Here is a Link to a single page from his “Winning on Wall Street” book that nicely summarizes the distinctions:

    He firmly believed that most investors do not have the time or the skill set to be effective “rifle”-like investors. Note his stock selection criteria at the bottom of the same page. I suspect most MFOers would deploy similar criteria if we were choosing individual equity holdings.

    In Jason Zweig’s “The Little Book of Safe Money” and his “Your Money and Your Brain”, he emphasizes the battle for risk control. Jason identifies 3 Commandments that are likely guiding principles for conservative, risk control investors.

    He states that: (1) Don’t take risk you don’t need to take, (2) Don’t put money at risk that you can’t afford to completely lose, and (3) Don’t accept any risk if you don’t anticipate a payday that rewards that risk. For seasoned MFOers, this is all basic don’t do stuff.

    In Appendix 2 of Jason Zweig’s “Your Money and Your Brain” book, he advises on the do-side of the ledger. Not many surprises here either. He endorses Expense Ratio cost management, low trading frequency, again a cost control measure, and smaller fund sizes to better exploit a shrinking excess returns target map.

    He too prefers a shotgun to a rifle, and, at bottom, recommends a heavy weighting of Index fund products. Jason also favors having a female on the investment decision team to achieve a more balanced assessment of investing opportunities.

    Indeed, Marty and Jason Zweig were not related. However, to a large extent, they shared many investment rules and principles. That’s a little surprising bottom-line judgment given that Marty truly admired famed trader Jesse Livermore. Upon reflection, maybe that’s not so shocking since Livermore practiced patience and money management in his storied stock dealings career.

    Best Regards.
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