Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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8/19/11: David Swensen ’80PhD

Surveying the stock market’s recent rollercoaster imitation, David Swensen ’80PhD reaches for a different amusement-park metaphor: “The Mutual Fund Merry-Go-Round.” That’s the headline of an August 14 op-ed that Swensen, Yale’s chief investment officer, wrote in the New York Times.

But Swensen is not amused. Mutual-fund managers “face a fundamental conflict between producing profits for their owners and generating superior returns for their investors,” he writes. Through “pointless buying and selling,” they drive up their fees. What’s more, they use a rating system that encourages managers to “sell low and buy high.”

Using blunter language, disgraced securities analyst Henry Blodget ’88 sums up Swensen’s position on his site Business Insider: “The Mutual Fund Industry Is A Huge Scam That Costs Investors Billions Of Dollars A Year.” Swensen avoids the word “scam” but calls for “aggressive, intelligent regulation.”

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