The virtual irrelevancy of population size to required sample size

Statistics and sampling are fundamental to almost all of our understanding of the world. The world is too big to measure directly. Measuring representative samples is a way to understand the entire picture. Popular and academic literature are both full of examples of poor sample selection resulting in flawed conclusions about the population. Some of […]

The importance of verification

It’s amazing to test this yourself. Hold down the button of a garage door opener and try to use your vehicle lock / unlock button. It doesn’t work. Simple as that. The signal from the garden variety garage door opener blocks the signal of most (all?) vehicle remotes. Smart criminals are increasingly using this to […]

Credit Suisse annual update on market performance

Credit Suisse has for several years now put out an annual¬†Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2013 is out now. It’s worth reading in its entirety for the insights. I don’t agree with everything there, and I certainly don’t agree with the widely held view (not among the authors) that the universe of countries included […]

Different types of predictions

As part of the run-up to my overview of my own predictions for 2012, I thought i should highlight why I bother at all. Most predictions, most of the time, will be wrong. Crystal balls aside, it is nearly impossible to reliably, accurately predict future complex events. However, the process of rigorously considering what might […]

SAM Risk-free Rate Workshop

The Technical Provisions Task Group and KPMG ran a workshop for industry participation on risk-free rates recently. The idea was to see whether we could improve the extent and quality of industry comment on key, controversial areas of the proposed SAM regime. Turnout was good, but not great, but the discussion and points raised were […]

Understanding just how bad things can get

CEOs are a pretty optimistic bunch. And I think maybe that’s right. It might be the only way to maintain sanity in the job. I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with CEOs and CFOs about their business prospects and what variability to assume when simulating future possibilities. I’ve had several try […]

Gold ain’t happening yet

Paulson and Soros still think Gold is a buy, adding to their stakes as the price declines. It’s also not very brave of me to blog about this now as gold has declined when for much of the financial crisis it was increasing in price. I’ve been watching other things. The idea that the gold […]