The institutional investment field is the most interesting, most stimulating part of the business world.
I knew that even before my recent seven weeks of forced inactivity. But my convalescence from heart surgery provided a lot of time to think about the subject I have been covering for the past 22 years.
And I decided once again there is no other part of the business world I would rather be covering.
Institutional investors - pension funds, mutual funds, endowments, foundations - set the pace in the financial markets. They are the ones that make or break new investment vehicles or concepts.
And pension executives, money managers, consultants and academics active in the institutional investment area are, overall, the brightest, most engaging people I have ever met.
I missed talking to them daily. I missed the intellectual stimulation of listening to and trying to understand new ideas, or revisiting old ideas with new twists. I missed the stimulation of the client letters and other communiques money managers and consultants send to their clients. I receive at least six a week, and I am educated, stimulated or challenged by all of them.
Some of them provide factual information on what has just happened in the markets or the economy. Some report on trends. Some report on new research and explain new ideas and concepts. Some offer opinions about political, economic or investment developments. Some provide a combination of all these areas. I've mentioned some of them in the past, e.g., those of Bill Gross at Pacific Investment Management Co., John Hotchkis of Hotchkis & Wiley, and Keith Ambachtsheer of Keith P. Ambachtsheer & Associates.
But there are many others I missed this time, among them the LCM Perspective by Seymour Lotsoff of Lotsoff Capital Management, Insights from Invista Capital Management, and the Collins Rationale from Collins Associates - three that arrived on my desk last week from which I learned (and almost always learn) something.
The stimulation I received from reading these newsletters and learning from them made me glad to be back and reminded me why I love doing what I do so much.
Actually, if the truth be told, I couldn't have handled the stimulation during the first few weeks of my recovery. I thought I was functioning pretty well 10 days after the surgery, but the heart/lung machine and the anesthetic must have had more effect on my brain than I was aware of.
I got a hint that this was so when my daughter, Molly, bought me a mug with a Far Side cartoon on it showing a man getting out of bed at dawn. On the wall of his room is a poster which says: "First pants, then shoes!"
I thought the cartoon was hilarious, but didn't realize it applied to me until a few days later when, after tying one shoe I noticed I hadn't put my pants on!
I'm pretty sure I'm back to normal now, and I'm glad to be back. Thanks to all of my friends in the business who took the time to send me cards and notes. They were much appreciated. Now, if only I could remember what I did with them so I could thank you individually .....