Thursday, August 26, 1999

Hooray for the "Unqualified"

By Cass Bielski (

I have been thinking about this Foolish idea that John or Joan Average Investor can handle his or her investments better than the Wise investment advisers. What would happen if Mr. or Ms. Investor went into a major brokerage firm and asked for a job as a mutual fund director? He or she would probably be told that he or she lacked the qualifications to perform the task. However, wouldn't the average investor be more competent to hold such a job, based on the evidence?

In the major metropolitan area in which I live, a decades-long debate has been raging over the quality of the personnel the mayor has appointed to office. Some have called for a check into the qualifications of the office holders. However, as a citizen, I don't much care about their qualifications -- I just want them to be competent.

A friend of mine recently tried to get another job at his workplace and was basically told that, although he was very competent to do the job, he was not qualified to do it. Huh?

No, I do not mean to bash investment firm personnel or their hiring practices. I know that qualification is one of the few indicators they have to base a hiring decision on. And I do not mean to suggest that they should go out and hire at random. (Although that would be interesting, wouldn't it?)

I suspect that most of the folks who read this would be considered unqualified by an investment firm. Yet one of the themes of this site is that you are perfectly competent to handle your own investments.

So go out there and take control of your investments (Foolishly, of course) and strike a blow for the unqualified!

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