Justice Samuel Putnam wrote the decision in Harvard College vs. Amory. Samuel Putnam. Image from page 56 of “History of Essex County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men” (1888)

In the September 2015 issue of Richard C. Young’s Intelligence Report, Dick Young wrote:

The Prudent Man Rule is based on common law stemming from the 1830 Massachusetts court formulation Harvard College v. Amory. The Prudent Man Rule directs trustees “to observe how men of prudence, discretion and intelligence manage their own affairs, not in regard to speculation, but in regard to the permanent disposition of their funds, considering the probable income, as well as the probable safety of the capital invested.”

Since I started our family investment management firm in 1989, I have operated under the assumption that the Prudent Man Rule to this day carries as much weight as it did in 1830. Common sense and prudence just don’t go out of style—ever.

Originally posted September 29, 2015.