The name and purpose

When I was actively looking for alternatives to name this blog, I often questioned my wife about what she thought I should call it. One day, while I pounded domains into registration sites to clear several possibilities, my wife asked “What’s the matter? You look preoccupied;” “Well, I’m struggling with the blog name; trying to think outside the box, I guess.” “The box is there for a reason.” That was all it took.

This blog will primarily contain my ideas on how people should think about the field of financial markets and investing. These ideas will be oriented to the general public, will be expressed in 500 words or less, and above all will strive to provide information useful to reasonable people who are trying to achieve realistic results with their savings. (The stress in the last part of the previous sentence is on the words reasonable and realistic.) It is my sincerest hope that I will succeed at least in part. But I am sure you will let me know. Occasionally I will write about other subjects, and will invite contributions from other writers as well.

For security and anti-spam reasons I am obliged to review and authorize every comment before publication. This will require no additional work on your part. But I want to make clear that this “supervision” will not extend to correcting the meaning of your criticism or objections. Just avoid reprehensible words, mis-spellings or questionable images and you should be fine.


the author

Roberto Plaja, CFA; founder & CEO of Orthos Advisory AG (

For the last four decades I have been involved in the investment management industry, covering roles of responsibility in a number of large financial institutions.

Italian by birth and American by training (you will see postings in Italian and in English), I graduated from Cornell University (1976) and Harvard University (1979), and began investing on behalf of wealthy individuals in the early nineteen-eighties. If I look back to that period, I smile and cannot believe anyone would have actually listened to what I had to say – let alone letting me run their money. But they did, and this helped me develop and blossom into roles of more technical and significant nature, including serving institutional clients and also managing a specialized group within a mutual fund company. Although most of my career progressed in the United States, I have spent considerable time in Europe and I currently reside in Switzerland.

In my roles over the years, I’ve had one constant: interest, curiosity and passion for investing. Distinguishing between true “signals” and the ever-increasing “noise” in the markets is what I spend much time on; despite the many academic studies indicating the value of patience and a long-term approach, I still marvel at how many investment decisions are made on the basis of one quarter’s worth of statistics. I have also learned to appreciate individual investors more than the institutional variety: when it’s actually your money that is at stake, the relationship between investor and advisor changes dramatically, often in unpredictable manners. But that’s the best part for me, because it has human significance.


R Plaja, November 2014