I agree with a lot of what you say. I really don’t like managed funds but that is mainly because of the charges. As returns are relatively lower these days then an extra 1 or 2% on top for the “managed” part can really eat into any profits over time. I read somewhere that simple index trackers beat around 80% of managed funds. After all someone has to pay for those phone number salaries you mention.
With regards to your last point about interest rates and property bubbles etc I tend to look at it the other way. If people are gloomy about equities then the prices are likely to be comparatively cheap now. Look how many people went into the market at the end of the 90’s when prices by most counts were expensive.
Sorry to hear about your losses anyway. I’ve learnt some similar things the hard way too.