About Douglas Tengdin, CFA

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

Hostage-Taking Bond Markets

By | 2018-05-18T06:39:35+00:00 May 18th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is the bond market holding Italy hostage? “Hostages” by Laurens. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Over the past few days the Italian bond market has sold off. Market participants have been spooked by the prospect of a political alliance between the two major populist parties there – the Northern League and the Five Star Movement. The leaders of the parties have been in talks for months, ever since Italy’s elections in early March were inconclusive. The country has been operating without a government since then, [...]

The Player’s Dilemma

By | 2018-05-18T10:25:16+00:00 May 17th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is “Pay to Play”? Photo: Dodger Harrison. Source: Morguefile “Pay to Play” is a pernicious system where nonprofits use their business needs to generate donations. Periodically, a nonprofit will ask vendors to submit business proposals – say, for snowplowing services, or investment management. When the proposals are evaluated, the nonprofit also examines the record of charitable contributions they may have received. Unless a business is on the list of the organization’s donors (they “pay”), they don’t have a chance of being hired (they [...]

Lessons from Global Conflicts

By | 2018-05-16T05:40:54+00:00 May 16th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is the “Thucydides Trap”? Map of Ancient Greece. Source: Wikipedia Thucydides was an ancient Athenian general who wrote about the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Sparta had been the dominant power in Greece. They had a harsh military culture built around their seemingly invincible army. Athens was a rising power, commercially and at sea. They had built the most powerful navy in the Mediterranean Sea. War between the two city-states was inevitable, according to Thucydides, because Athens’ growth challenged Sparta’s dominance. An [...]

Real Returns, Real Differences

By | 2018-05-15T06:29:25+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Why have US stocks done so well? NY City by Night. Photo: Paul Barcellos, Jr. Source: Wikimedia Since 1900, US stocks have grown 6.4% per year, on average, after inflation. 2% of that has been capital gain, and over 4% has been dividends and reinvested dividends. A dollar invested in 1900 would have grown to be more than $1,400 today. By comparison, a dollar invested in the UK in 1900 would have only grown to about $500 today – a 5 1/2 % real [...]

Bicycles for our Brains

By | 2018-05-14T06:41:29+00:00 May 14th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What good is technology? Photo F. Muhammad. Source: Pixabay A couple of decades ago, Scientific American published a study, where the researcher measured how much energy it took various types of animals to travel. In the results, the California Condor was the most efficient, soaring on wind currents and thermals. People were more efficient that dogs or rabbits or bees, but not as efficient as a horse or condor. But the most efficient animal in the study was a person riding a bicycle. Over [...]

Foolish Wisdom

By | 2018-05-11T07:38:37+00:00 May 11th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Would you rather be the Leader or the Leader’s fool? “The Court Jester” by William Merritt Chase. Source: Wikimedia There’s a tragic cycle in human affairs. A leader solves a problem and is cheered for wisdom or decisiveness or practical understanding. They’re given authority, perhaps political leadership. The adulation becomes intoxicating. They don’t want to hear bad news – no one does – and they acquire toadies and hangers-on that latch onto them like leeches. These parasites only tell them what they want to [...]

A Bicycle Built for History?

By | 2018-05-10T06:58:03+00:00 May 10th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is each generation destined to repeat the same errors over and over? Photo: Ben Kerckx. Source: Pixabay There’s a theory that says civilization is like the tide, moving in and out on a regular basis. This idea was perhaps first articulated by the ancient Greeks, as they tried to understand what makes up a just society. The story of Daedalus and Icarus illustrates this: Icarus, excited by having the ability to fly, flew too close to the sun. His wings melted and he crashed [...]

Group (un)Think

By | 2018-05-09T06:03:37+00:00 May 9th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is “Social Proof”? Photo: Petr Kratochvil. Source: Public Domain Pictures “Social Proof” happens when we rely on the views of group we’re with to form our own opinions. Everyone is strongly influenced by people that they’re with. A researcher once had some college students match the length of a line on one card to one of three alternatives on another card. When subjects worked alone, almost all of them made the correct choice. But when they were put into a group that had [...]

By Their Belt-Straps

By | 2018-05-08T07:04:28+00:00 May 8th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is the Belt-Road Initiative? Illustration: Lommes. Source: Wikimedia In 2013, China’s President Xi Jinping announced plans to connect East Asia and Europe via a network of rail, road, and sea routes to facilitate trade, cultural exchange, and open flows of capital and people. Shortly thereafter, China announced that over $160 billion of infrastructure projects were in planning or construction along the way, projects like a 700 MW hydropower station near Islamabad, Pakistan, or extending the current Eurasian Landbridge – a 7,000 mile rail [...]


By | 2018-05-07T06:47:47+00:00 May 7th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is a capital-intensive business? Illustration: Charles Graham, Harper’s Weekly. Source: Wikimedia Capital is what makes things. Factories and design studios and drilling rigs and construction equipment. To build the Panama Canal, the managing engineers employed thousands of steam-powered excavating machines, rather than millions of workers with shovels. Today, our economy runs on ideas, rather than steam-power. It needs people who are creative, who can pull innovations and material and suppliers and delivery together on a mobile platform that is elegant and easy to [...]