Norton H. Reamer talks investment democratization

Norton H. Reamer highlights investment democratization and historical importance of investment to students and administrators in Karp Hall last Thursday. (Anna Klug | Concordiensis )

On Thursday, President Stephen C. Ainlay’s office, along with the Student Investment Fund, held a talk and book signing with Norton H. Reamer, a member of the Class of 1958, an investor and co-author of “Investment: A History.”

Reamer, a Life Trustee and former chairman of the Board of Trustees at Union, was the chief investment officer and chief executive officer of Putnam Investments in the 1970s. He founded United Asset Management in 1980 and ran it for 20 years.

In 2003, he founded and led Asset Management Finance, LLC. Reamer was an economics major at Union, and received his master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1960.

Recently printed, the book points out the importance of studying the history of investment by arguing that market conditions repeat because human behavior does not change. This is primarily because investors make the same mistakes over and over.

Moreover, it claims that investment is as democratic as ever in today’s world, while calling for the need for investors to be informed and disciplined as well.

Reamer talked about the democratization of investing, which was once a privilege only for the elite. Over time, says Reamer, the common man has been able to invest in innumerable markets. “Diversifying your investment is much easier now,” he said.

Talking to a packed room of faculty, administrators and students, he also highlighted the importance of undergraduate research irrespective of the students’ choice of major.

Narrating his own personal experiences, Reamer spoke about how he sold his successful business to start researching on the history of investment, only to realize that understanding the complexity of investment carried vital importance in the business and the entrepreneurial world.

Ainlay lauded Reamer’s efforts, emphasizing the importance of thourough research and understanding the history of investment, irrespective of your field of study or major.

Shedding light on retirement policy and sophistication of various economic policies, Reamer pointed out how the whole concept of retirement has changed over time and how funded retirement plans are highly valued now. Retirement plans that weren’t introduced till the 1930s are considered valued benefits now.

Furthermore, he appreciated the increased understanding of investment management, and how that has played a major role in fueling the entrepreneurial mindset in individuals, especially after the 1970s.

Reamer also itemized investment as a fundamental aspect of human enterprises and called for it to be used in social advancement.



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