Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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American Workplace Retirement Savings Accounts Hit New Records by Suzanne Woolley (Bloomberg)

Retirement savings hit the highest total on record, with the average 401(k) gaining 11% to $121,500 per new Fidelity data. Both strong contributions (totaling 13.5% of income) and the robust equity market gains of late 2020 helped push balances higher. [Link; soft paywall]

Goldman Sachs to Offer Its Investing Know-How to the Masses by Peter Rudegeair (WSJ)

In a bid to goose growth of its Marcus platform, Goldman has unveiled Marcus Invest, a roboadviser that automatically rebalances portfolios and allocates between various asset classes based on the broader bank’s investment strategy committee’s models. [Link; paywall]

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons by Tom Schoenberg (Bloomberg)

When a wealthy Florida retiree discovered her grandsons had been abusing her trust as they managed her wealth through JP Morgan, she decided to teach them and the bank a lesson. [Link; soft paywall]

Getting Bubbly

The Man Who Abandoned Value by Michelle Celarier (Institutional Investor)

Fascinating insights from a neurodivergent hedge fund manager who realized over a decade ago that the traditional value approach just wasn’t going to work anymore, and who is part of a larger trend that has abandoned the “value” approach. [Link]

Hedge fund seeks to hire Reddit options trader fluent in memes: ‘No higher education in economics or finance’ by William Canny (Financial News)

In a bid to keep track of retail trader interest, a quant hedge fund is looking to hire someone who can keep track of what’s being said about stocks on Reddit, Twitter, and other social platforms. [Link; paywall]

Non-Traditional Markets

‘There’s never been a time like this’: Wall Street is piling into trading cards as prices soar by Julia Horowitz (CNN)

Explosive price appreciation in trading cards has both drawn in and been driven by the advent of institutional interest in the space. [Link]

Kevin Durant and Logan Paul Agree: Sports Trading Cards Are the Future by Lucas Shaw (Bloomberg)

An LA-based sports memorabilia company has raised $40mm in an effort to expand its hold on the rarest and most sought-after playing cards. [Link; soft paywall]

Online-Trading Platform Will Let Investors Bet on Yes-or-No Questions by Alexander Osipovich (WSJ)

A new prediction platform that offers binary wagers on real world events with backing from Sequoia and Charles Schwab is launching next year, hoping to cash in on a massive wave of interest in stock market speculation and sports gambling. [Link; paywall]


COVID-19 Cases Are Dropping Fast. Why? by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

A spiraling surge in COVID cases over the holidays led to predictions of catastrophic caseloads, but a combination of behavioral changes, seasonal shifts, partial immunity, and vaccines are combining to cap the growth of cases. [Link]

School Reopening Pits Parents Against Teachers: “Is There a Word Beyond ‘Frustrating’?” by Kris Maher and Jennifer Calfas (WSJ)

The reopening debate is just the latest sign of political polarization in the United States, with different interest groups (splits among parents, and teachers concerned over safety) fighting to dictate the policy path for school reopening as cases recede. [Link; paywall]


Frozen Wind Farms Are Just a Small Piece of Texas’s Power Woes by Will Wade, Naureen S. Malik, and Brian Eckhouse (Bloomberg)

While Texas wind turbines did encounter difficulties operating in extremely low temperatures, the failure of traditional power resources has been far more significant, with larger drop-offs relative to expectations and more difficulty returning to service than the forests of wind turbines the state has built. [Link; soft paywall]


MicroStrategy Announces Proposed Private Offering of $600 Million of Convertible Senior Notes (MicroStrategy)

This week a company funded bitcoin speculation with the issuance of 6 year convertible notes, a leveraged bet that is relatively unique even in the hyped world of cryptocurrency. [Link]


Hockey Has a Gigantic-Goalie Problem by Ken Dryden (The Atlantic)

Tracing the history of ever-larger goalie equipment, which has allowed keepers to steadily shrink the percentage of the net that is exposed to sharpshooters. [Link; soft paywall]

The Padres Owe Fernando Tatís Jr. $340 Million. He Owes an Investment Fund Millions From His Payday. by Jared Diamond (WSJ)

Big League Advance offers cash up front to minor leaguers, who then have to fork over a chunk of their earnings if they make it big. For a 14 year contract, that number can get pretty big indeed. [Link; paywall]

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