It was once said that we are “the sum total of our experiences”. In the world of investing, this rings especially true. For Nancy Tengler, the CIO of Laffer Tengler Investments, a career in money management that has spanned more than 3 decades has presented real world challenges and opportunities that have reinforced a philosophy on risk. First, she shares that her interest in money came from not having any of it, pushing her to first focus on savings and then on investing that savings.
She’s also come to believe that the biggest risk is not taking enough of it, a notion is a thread throughout our discussion. This idea dates all the way back to the crash of ’87, a harrowing episode during which Nancy was forced to look past the shocking volatility and argue that clients should put fresh money to work as part of a longer-horizon plan.
We talk about the stratospheric valuations of tech stocks in the late 1990’s and she contrasts that period with today’s the more reasonably valued market leadership. In the present, she sees a secular tailwind coming from developments in cloud computing and in generative AI that will benefit not just the tech companies that create these innovations, but the older economy stocks like Walmart that deploy them as productivity enhancement tools. Next, we discuss the balance between the macro and the micro within her process. While being highly macro aware and concerned about top-down factors like US government debt, Nancy’s process emphasizes a study of business fundamentals along with a strong focus on evaluating the strength of management teams. Lastly, we talk about the women in finance movement and the work that Nancy is doing to promote financial literacy for females, including her book, “The Women’s Guide to Successful Investing”.
I hope you enjoy this episode of the Alpha Exchange, my conversation with Nancy Tengler.