More on Related Themes
2014-04-17 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Diversified Fixed Income Choices by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO
Sponsors of defined contribution plans face a dual challenge: They must present investment options appropriate for plan members and design menus that encourage selection of well-structured portfolios. We believe that actively managed strategies designed to potentially reduce risks, invest globally and enhance yield relative to the index may improve diversification and lower concentration risk in fixed income offerings. Plan sponsors may consider a range of return and risk measures as they evaluate current and prospective fixed income offerings.
2014-04-16 A Classic Barometer by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Investors seem a bit too eager to tout emerging market equities. Much as they did with technology stocks during the early-2000s, investors today are looking for the best re-entry point. Data clearly do not support anymore the notion that emerging markets are a superior growth story, yet investors seem to be ignoring the classic warnings signs for fear of missing out. One such classic warning sign is the slope of the yield curve. Historically, steeper yield curves have been reliable forecasters of stronger overall nominal economic growth and stronger profits growth.
2014-04-14 Why Today’s Environment Favors Active High Yield Strategies by Darren Hughes, Scott Roberts of Invesco Blog
Fixed income investors are looking for ways to prepare their portfolios for rising interest rates. While bond prices generally fall when rates rise, history shows that high yield bonds have typically held up well in rising rate environments.
2014-04-09 How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called “high-frequency trading” on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market investors.
2014-04-09 Master Limited Partnerships by Greg Reid and the Salient MLP Team of Salient Partners
Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) are a unique asset class in the investment landscape. Historically, MLPs have been primarily owned by high net worth and retail investors due in part to the tax complexities. However, MLPs have started gaining traction over the past few years among institutional investors as they seek alternative sources of yield in our present low-yield world.
2014-04-02 4 Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Brian Hicks of U.S. Global Investors
Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.
2014-03-28 Four Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.
2014-03-12 The Importance of Beta Management by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Morningstar recently released “Mind the Gap-2014” which demonstrated that investors are generally very poor beta managers. The Morningstar data showed that investors’ performance lagged that of their funds by about 250 basis points per year for the past ten years because of poor beta management, i.e., investors tend to be very poor allocators of capital.
2014-03-06 Watch and Wait by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments
Vladimir Putin’s and Russia’s military action in the Crimea, formally a part of the Ukraine, made it hard to focus on much else Monday. Aside from the obvious and important humanitarian concerns, the military threat carries immense global risk and potentially significant economic consequences.
2014-02-20 American Industrial Renaissance Revisited by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We first wrote about The "American Industrial Renaissance" in 2012, and it remains one of our favorite investment themes. We continue to implement this theme through small US-centric industrial companies and small financial institutions that lend to public and private industrial firms. It remains unlikely that the United States will be the manufacturing powerhouse that it was during the 1950s and 1960s, but many factors are suggesting that the US industrial sector will continue to gain market share.
2014-02-11 Leveraged Finance Outlook: Riding the Low Default Wave by Andrew R. Jessop, Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO
Following strong performance in 2013, we expect low (1%-3%) defaults in leveraged finance markets this year. Issuance should remain healthy, and continued slow but steady growth in the U.S. economy should offer further stability to these companies. However, careful credit selection and monitoring of sector trends remain imperative. Investors with low tolerance for volatility and more interest rate sensitivity may emphasize loans, while investors with greater risk tolerance and a more benign outlook for rates may look to high yield.
2014-01-21 Kansas by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO
In the coming year, traditional money market strategies, long viewed as safe havens, will be challenged by new regulations, near 0% returns and a lack of investable assets. Short-term bond strategies could provide the right balance between risk-taking and liquidity management, and offer the potential for positive returns. Active managers have a distinct advantage because they can manage interest rate volatility and potentially source assets by identifying underappreciated sectors.
2014-01-17 Bonds and Rates by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares
Right now the topic de jour in the fixed income space is interest rate risk. The traditional thought is that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall. But looking at history, the high yield market has defied this widely held notion. Let’s examine the four main reasons why high yield bonds have historically performed well during times of rising interest rates.
2014-01-15 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update - Week Ending 1/10/14 by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
The active ETF market experienced a sizable increase, with total net assets exceeding $14.8 billion. The total number of active ETFs rose to 74 with State Street launching three equity products: SPDR MFS Systematic Core Equity ETF, SPDR MFS Systematic Growth Equity ETF and SPDR MFS Systematic Value Equity ETF last week.
2014-01-14 Are Stocks On Thin Ice? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
I love the weather! Just as it is a reliable conversation starter (everyone has an opinion on it), it provides seemingly unlimited analogies to the financial markets for me to write about. That’s because while many attempt to forecast both, the weather and the markets are moved by an endless stream of random events.
2014-01-13 Equity Bubble? No. by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
The US stock market performed very well during 2013. The S&P 500’s total return of nearly 33% far outpaced the returns of most asset classes. A growing contingent of market observers is fearful that the US equity market is in some sort of a bubble. We disagree completely with this notion. A strong market rally that many investors have missed is hardly sufficient grounds for a financial bubble.
2014-01-10 5 Investor Tips for 2014 by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
While the winding down of QE signals better times ahead, investors need to be selective and focused in taking smart risks, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper.
2014-01-10 Risk Management: The Ability to Say No by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares
Heather Rupp, Director of Research for Peritus Asset Management, the sub-advisor to the AdvisorShares Peritus High Yield ETF (HYLD), discusses the advantages of active management when it comes to credit risk.
2014-01-10 The Leverage Buyout Overhang by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares
While we are not opposed to leveraged buyouts, as they can often produce very supportive private equity partners, what does concern us is when the capital structure is levered up to a potentially unsustainable level due to these buyouts or large dividends to equity sponsors.
2014-01-09 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
The active ETF market experienced a slight downtick during the shortened New Year’s week, with total net assets exceeding $14.7 billion. The Global Bond category, led by the PIMCO’s Total Return ETF and Global Advantage Inflation-Linked Bond Strategy, had the highest weekly decrease in net assets by about $62 million. Net assets in the Alternative category decreased by almost $28 million, which included the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF.
2014-01-06 Value Stocks Beckon in Emerging Markets by Henry D'uria, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein
Years of playing defense have left many emerging-market (EM) equity portfolios laden with pricey safe-haven stocks. We think they risk missing the big opportunity that’s brewing in value stocks, especially as EM economies begin to stabilize.
2013-12-31 Why Resolutions Are Easy to Make...and Hard to Keep by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
It’s that time of year again when resolutions are supposed to be made. Typically this is a January 1st task as we face a new year and everything starts over again.
2013-12-20 Celebrating Asia\'s Growth Past and Present by Taizo Ishida, Mark Headley of Matthews Asia
Today, Matthews Asia celebrates 10 remarkable years that have passed since we launched our Asia Growth strategy to U.S. investors. During this time, the region has evolved in many significant ways. In the early 2000s, only the "Asian Tiger" economies had managed to reach GDP per capita levels considered the tipping point for consumption growth. More recently, consumption has been on the rise in many of the region’s economies, laying the foundation for Asia’s ongoing prosperity.
2013-12-17 Gaining Perspective by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
This weekend we were honored to have Steve Finn, the owner of our largest custodian, Trust Company of America, and his lovely wife, Kelly, join us for our annual Holiday Party (see more about the party in the "What’s Happening" section). On Sunday, at a post-party brunch, Kelly (who studied art at the International Academy of Art in Nice, France, and at the Brera Art Academy in Milan, Italy and has many years of patient craftsmanship with oil paint and easel) was telling us about how she goes about creating her exquisite paintings.
2013-12-12 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Activity for the active ETF market was fairly mild for the previous week with net assets increasing slightly higher, reaching about $14.7 billion. No active ETF products launched last week, but there was growth in the short term bond category, as well as downward movement among the global bond and foreign bond categories, which included PIMCO’s Total Return ETF as a notable decliner.
2013-12-06 Like a Shakespearean Script by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Shakespearean plays follow a pattern. The underlying plots and storylines change from play to play, but the five-act construction is a common overlap. Market cycles tend to follow a similar pattern cycle after cycle. Like the different plots in various Shakespearean plays, the catalysts that begin and end each cycle, and the events during the cycle are always different. However, market cycles seem to follow a script and, so far, this cycle seems to be following the script almost perfectly.
2013-12-05 10 for \'14 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Each December we publish a list of investment themes that we feel are critical for the coming year. We continue to believe the US stock market will continue its run through one of the largest bull markets of our careers. Our positive outlook extends to the following areas: US Equities, Japanese Equities, European small cap stocks, high yield municipals.
2013-12-02 Investing in China? What You Should Know About Gaining Access to the Markets by Ted Samulowitz, Graham Day of Invesco Blog
Investors with exposure to China and those interested in gaining a foot into the country received some good news last month when it was announced that China’s GDP grew by 7.8% in the third quarter. The news was a sigh of relief for investors as China’s economy appears to have avoided the hard landing economists and investors had feared.
2013-11-19 Confronting the Tax Drag by Tom Metzold, Jim Evans, Lew Piantedosi, Peter Crowley of Eaton Vance
The impact of the “tax drag” on investor portfolios can be significant over long time frames, potentially consuming a quarter or more of every dollar earned by the average investor. As federal tax rates have risen for many investors, so too has the risk of losing a larger portion of one’s returns to taxes highlighting the need for a tax-aware investment approach. Municipal and tax-advantaged bond strategies, tax-efficient equities and solutions for high-net-worth investors can all help improve investors’ after-tax portfolio performance.
2013-11-15 Passive Management ≠ Passive Investing by Ashwin Alankar, Michael DePalma, Guoan Du of AllianceBernstein
Passive investments are often misunderstood. Instead of providing static positioning as implied by the label, they can be very capricious because of market and sector turbulence. To tame a passive asset, we think investors need to exert more active control over the dynamics of volatility.
2013-11-13 Why I Sell the Dollar: From Dollar Strength to Dollar Weakness by Axel Merk of Merk Investments
To those that say the U.S. has the cleanest of the dirty shirts, we would like to point out that it hasn’t helped the greenback, as evidenced by the euro outperforming the dollar both so far this year, as well as last year. Yes, we have a mess in the Eurozone that won’t be resolved anytime soon. But we also have a mess in the U.S., Japan, and many other places around the globe.
2013-11-07 EM: The Growth Story That Isn't by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We remain very concerned about emerging market stocks and bonds. The recent outperformance of EM stocks is again luring investors to once again touch the hot stove. Emerging markets seem to have some significant structural and cyclical issues about which investors seem unaware or seem to be ignoring.
2013-11-05 Stormy Weather by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments
Young and old alike celebrated Halloween last week, albeit in soggy fashion in much of the nation.
2013-10-18 Trying To Beat The Market Is A Fool's Errand by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Proponents of indexing as the best investment strategy seemed to take great delight in reporting how the vast majority of professionally managed portfolios (mutual funds, separately managed accounts, hedge funds, ETFs, etc.) fail to outperform the S&P 500. Therefore, they argue, it is best not to even try. Investors should simply invest in index funds and forget about it.
2013-10-08 The Futility of the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In the past two decades, the so-called endowment model has been adopted by hundreds of endowments, foundations and advisors – particularly those serving ultra-high-net-worth clients. By aggressively allocating to illiquid alternative asset classes, those investors hoped to duplicate the results of Yale and other top-tier institutions. New research exposes the futility of those efforts.
2013-10-01 Breaking Bad? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
For most of the summer, the speculation was out there. How would it end? (BTW DVR users no spoiler alert necessary for this article.) Which main characters, if any, would survive? TV chat boards were filled with nervousness and lots of guesses.
2013-09-30 The Global Sea Change Continues by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Most investors will readily admit the global credit bubble is deflating, yet continue to favor credit-based asset classes within their portfolios. Whereas many investors still believe that the emerging markets are a growth story, the data tell us that U.S. investors can find growth in their own backyard.
2013-09-27 How to Strengthen Your Portfolio Core by David Fabian of Fabian Capital Management
In strength training and investing, your core is everything. It’s the foundation or base from which you build upon to reach new levels of success. Without a solid core, you are doomed to underachieve because you don’t have the right balance needed to attain your goals. By starting from the ground up using concrete core holdings, you can add additional tactical positions from which to enhance your returns. That way you will have a well-rounded portfolio strategy that is easy to understand.
2013-09-20 Will Europe's Improving Economy Push Interest Rates Higher by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased in the second quarter after six straight declines. Data expectations were on the optimistic side, but investors appeared to become more confident before the release, thanks to encouraging evidence from supposedly reliable forward-looking indicators.
2013-09-18 Dow Changes as a Contrary Indicator by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
The folks who select the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) came out with their latest changes on Monday, September 9, 2013. They removed Bank of America (BAC), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and Alcoa (AA) from the DJIA. Added to the index were Visa (V), Nike (NKE) and Goldman Sachs (GS). At Smead Capital Management, we are always looking for important psychological clues to human behavior as it pertains to the popularity of common stocks.
2013-09-10 Raising the Bar on Target Date Due Diligence by Manning & Napier/Strategic Insight of Manning & Napier
Deeming whether target date fund investments are appropriate for a specific participant population is an arduous and imperfect task, made more complicated by a lack of full transparency. Fiduciaries should question whether the underlying securities of target date funds are appropriate to meet the retirement saving needs of plan participants. However, the question itself raises concern about what it would take to examine the funds in such detail.
2013-09-05 Where to Draw the Line by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
Just before leaving on my recent road trip, I picked up a new pair of glasses. It was the first new pair in about three years. As many of you are probably aware, I wear (strong) prescription glasses, but you may not realize that the glasses are bifocals.
2013-08-22 Hot Potato: Momentum As An Investment Strategy by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates
Investors increasingly are attracted to momentum as a key ingredient in their portfolios. But how does momentum fare as a stand-alone strategy? In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at the pros and cons of this important risk factor.
2013-08-16 What Happens When You Tell Indians to Stop Buying Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
With the government in India raising its import tax for gold to 10 percent this week, I firmly believe Indians will continue indulging in gold, even if they have to smuggle it in.
2013-08-14 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Overall the total AUM in all active ETFs declined by $1.2 million last week, an insignificant amount for the $14.4 billion space. “Short Term Bond” increased by almost $29.3 million, while “Global Bond” fell by around $15.8 million. “Foreign Bond” had another bad week, ending almost $34 million lower than where it began, as did the “Currency” category which declined by more than $8.7 million.
2013-08-09 Charts for the Beach by Richards Bernstein of Richards Bernstein Advisors
Our basic positions are now famous (or infamous). We continue to favor US assets and to shield our portfolios from the on-going and broad problems in the emerging markets. In the spirit of August, we forego significant text this month to present a series of charts that outline a few of the opportunities and risks we see in the global markets.
2013-08-08 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Overall the total AUM in all active ETFs declined by $2.5 million last week, an insignificant amount for the $14 billion space. The biggest change of the week was the “Short Term Bond” category overtaking the “Global Bond” to become the largest category in active ETF space.
2013-08-07 Japan The Land of the Rising Stock Market by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We have been ardent bulls on the Japanese stock market since last Fall. Our thesis has been a simple one: For the first time in the history of our data, Japan began running consecutive monthly current account deficits.
2013-08-01 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Last week total AUM in all Active ETFs fell by almost $20 million. This was almost entirely due to redemptions in “Foreign Bond” Active ETFs. The “Short Term Bond” category continues to gain assets and increased by $38 million just last week. Total AUM in this category could possibly surpass the “Global Bond” category in the coming months in trends continue.
2013-07-29 What's Wrong With Indexes? by Brian Evans, Madrona of AdvisorShares
It has been more than 35 years since the first broad market index funds debuted. At the time, they were a cutting edge strategy for core equity allocation. Today, index funds are a major part of 401(k) and other retirement plans, particularly ones tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500. But they have deep flaws.
2013-07-24 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
This past week, total assets in the active ETF space increased by over $60 million. The top 3 categories (“Global Bond”, “Short Term Bond” and “Foreign Bond”) all saw increases in AUM. The “Alternative Income” category fell in AUM, after weeks of only going up.
2013-07-23 More Summer Storms? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
don’t know about your part of the country but I think this summer has been the wettest in some time around Detroit. We have had soooo much rain. Our Great Lakes began the year well below their long-term average depth. After months of rain, all of the Great Lakes are now above their levels from last year, and nearby Lake Ontario has gained ten inches in height in just the last month. Ontario is 11″ higher than one year ago and 5″ ABOVE the century average. Yet its previous below average condition had existed for years and had been worsening quite a change!
2013-07-19 Challenging a Long-Held Assumption about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
It is widely accepted that China spurred higher commodity prices in the past decade. And if the country was the force behind the boom, then the assumption is that China’s lower, but still healthy growth will be a drag on commodity prices. But recent research challenges this assumption.
2013-07-18 Submissions from Advisor Shares by AdvisorShares Team of AdvisorShares
Two submissions from the AdvisorShares team this week: Money Flowing into Savings Deposits and Money Market Funds by TrimTabs Asset Management and AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update.
2013-07-16 Letters to the Editor by Advisor Perspectives (Article)
A reader responds to the ongoing exchange of letters regarding socially responsible investing, and a reader responds to Joe Tomlinson’s article, Retirement Portfolios: Fears over Rising Rates are Overblown, which appeared last week.
2013-07-08 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update Week Ending 6/28/2013 by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Total AUM for “Global Bond” ETFs fell again last week by over $200 million, but “Short-Term Bond” Active ETFs continue to gain assets and passed the $4 billion mark this past week. AUM has also been shrinking in the “US Bond” and “Currency” categories, while it has risen in the “Alternative” and “Alternative Income” categories.
2013-07-02 Bullish on Quality and Active Management Over the Long Term by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds
While solid on an absolute basis, quality stocksas measured by returns on invested capitalhave lagged their lower-quality peers. Chuck Royce explains why shifts in Fed policy should help to complete a reversal that’s already begun.
2013-06-26 Perspective by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
When you look down the road of life, the items closest in time loom largest and seem most significant. But over a lifetime we learn that while items far away may appear small, they can actually be larger, and much more important.
2013-06-25 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
Adam Apt responds in the latest exchange of letters on the topic of socially responsible investing. A reader responds to Geoff Considine’s article, A Better Alternative to Cap-Weighted Bond Indices, which appeared June 11. A reader responds to Wade Pfau’s article, Retirement Income Designations – Which Should You Choose?, which appeared last week.
2013-06-21 Are Actively Managed Funds About to Gain an Edge by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
Although 10-year Treasury rates rose last month, the strong performance of certain cyclical sectors within small-cap looks to us like investors may be showing a bit more confidence in areas favored by many active investment approaches.
2013-06-20 Active ETF Market Share Update by Team of AdvisorShares
Total AUM in all active ETFs fell from $14.552 billion to $14.416 billion over the course of the week. Just like the previous week, ETFs with longer term fixed income investments are facing redemptions, while “Short-Term Bond” ETFs are rapidly expanding their asset base. AUM for active ETFs in the “Global Bond” category fell below the $5 billion dollar level.
2013-06-19 Efficient Pension Investing by Jared Gross of PIMCO
Adapting the Sharpe ratio to pension portfolios can help plan sponsors choose among a multitude of investment options designed to achieve the same goal. In our experience, the most significant efficiency gains have come from shifting from intermediate bonds to long-term bonds and introducing lower-volatility substitutes to equities.
2013-06-18 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Affluent investors all over the world just aren’t getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Mason’s recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and they’re eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.
2013-06-18 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)
Adam Kanzer responds to several letters to the editor that appeared last week. Those letters were in response to his article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared June 4. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared May 21.
2013-06-14 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by Team of AdvisorShares
So far this month, money has flown into short-term bond active ETFs and funds in the alternative income category. There has also been a shift out of funds investing in longer-term bonds and emerging market debt, probably in response to rising interest rates and a strengthening US dollar. There was also a big increase in the smallest category of sustainable active ETFs, which is comprised of funds investing in companies that make efforts to improve their impact on the environment.
2013-06-14 Global Small Cap Investing: Unconstrained Opportunities by Blake Pontius of William Blair
Equity asset allocations have become more global in recent years as investors have sought to reduce the long standing home country bias in their portfolios. Further propelling this trend has been the growing aversion to traditional asset class structures and indeed, conventional asset class definitions, in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global fi nancial crisis. Against this backdrop, global equity strategies have continued to garner asset fl ows in Europe and have slowly begun to gain traction in the U.S. after years of tepid demand.
2013-06-12 Silver Lining: Fed's “Tapering” Signals Stronger Economy by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments
The Federal Reserve’s warning that it planned to scale back purchases of Treasuries sparked a storm on Wall Street, bringing instability to what had been a pleasant May in the US markets. Almost lost in the noise, however, is a silver lining: the Fed thinks the economy may be healthy enough to fly on its own.
2013-06-11 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers responded to Adam Kanzer’s article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared last week. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared the week before. Several readers responded to other articles as well.
2013-06-10 Emerging Market Opportunities by Patrick OShaughnessy, Ashvin Viswanathan of OShaughnessy Asset Management
Emerging market equities present both unique opportunities and also unique risks. Unlike more mature economies, emerging markets’ economies have the potential for impressive growth rates. But emerging markets also have the potential for damaging socio-economic and political instability. Equity returns in these countries are often impressive, but to earn these returns investors must deal with considerably higher volatility than in the developed equity markets.
2013-06-07 Liquidity Markets Likely to Evolve Under Proposed Money Market Reforms by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO
We view the SEC’s proposed regulations on money market funds as a pivot point for cash and liquidity management. If the first proposal is adopted, prime institutional money market funds would convert to a floating net asset value share price. That conversion would likely cause some volatility in pricing. As we do not expect yields to increase in the near-to-medium term, in our view the risk-reward tradeoff would not be as attractive for investors.
2013-06-04 Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing A Response to Adler and Kritzman by Adam M. Kanzer (Article)
When the Domini 400 Social Index was launched in 1990, the common wisdom said that if you limited your investable universe by anything other than financial factors, you would limit your returns. The performance of the index has proven that assumption to be false. Nevertheless, the assumption lives on.
2013-05-31 In an Era of Uncertainty and Lower Returns, It\'s Time for Alternatives by Sabrina Callin, John Cavalieri of PIMCO
The initial economic and capital market conditions of the 1980s set the stage for a multi-decade bull market for stocks and bonds. Times have changed, however, and traditional investment portfolios are unlikely to deliver returns as healthy as those enjoyed for much of the last 30 years. It’s time to think alternatively about asset allocation and index construction, sources of alpha and beta, and risk and return objectives to increase the probability of success in what we believe is a new era for investors and financial markets.
2013-05-17 Making the Most of Equity Allocations by Andrew Pyne, Sabrina Callin of PIMCO
We believe slowing global growth and deleveraging are likely to result in lower long-term returns for equities. Traditional approaches to building equity portfolios may not be enough for investors to meet their return goals. We have found three complementary ways investors can enhance equity return potential: fundamental indexes, index-plus strategies and high active share stock selection approaches.
2013-05-07 The Satisfaction Gaps that Cost You Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors recognize that clients are unhappy with returns in the last decade, but believe they are satisfied with communication and the relationship as a whole. That’s why three recent conversations I’ve had with investors and advisors should set off alarm bells.
2013-05-07 Investing for Income and Capital Appreciation by Giorgio Caputo, Rob Hordon, Ed Meigs, Sean Slein of First Eagle Investment Management
A Q&A with First Eagle Investment Management’s senior members and their market views and strategic insights.
2013-05-02 A Case for Owning Commodities When No One Else Is by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Sometimes following where money is being invested is a solid course of action to gain alpha; other times, a better opportunity lies in going the opposite direction, i.e., thinking contrarian.
2013-04-29 New Highs Bring New Worries by Richard Golod of Invesco
The sustainability of the rallies in US and Japanese equities this year so far is looking uncertain amid slowing year-over-year earnings growth and mixed global economic signals. European and emerging market shares have traded lower year to date and seem likely to continue lagging in the near term. However, on balance, I remain optimistic about global equities, seeking yield opportunities and investments with an actively managed, more selective approach.
2013-04-10 Don't Pay Too Much for That Bordeaux - Or That Bond by Jeff Helsing of PIMCO
The financial market’s reliance on ratings agencies and benchmarks, along with regulations, can cause distortions in the value of some securities. These price distortions can create potential opportunities for some investors. Investors should consider aligning capital allocation with outcome-oriented objectives that aren’t influenced by credit ratings or benchmarks.
2013-04-09 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)
This is in response to Joe Tomlinson’s article, Choosing an Actively Managed Fund: What Works and What Doesn’t, which appeared last week.
2013-04-09 MLPs: Winning Streak Broken, Growth Story Intact by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason ClearBridge
by Chris Eades, Portfolio Manager (Article)
After an off year clouded by investors’ concerns about future tax policy, ClearBridge’s outlook for MLPs is again brightening. Oil and natural gas production are both ahead of estimates and the resulting infrastructure build-out is continuing.
2013-04-02 Choosing an Actively Managed Fund: What Works and What Doesn’t by Joe Tomlinson (Article)
Few topics have been studied as closely as selecting actively managed funds that will outperform the market. Advisors who use such funds need to be confident in their choices – and justify their methodology to clients. Here’s what the latest academic research says on this highly contentious issue.
2013-04-02 New Research on Investor Behavior by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)
Market theory passed through two distinctly different paradigms in the past 80 years and is experiencing the rise of a third. Those transitions have marked the introduction of improved ways to explain price movements. The ascendant paradigm, based on new research in the field of behavioral economics, promises to offer superior guidance to investors and advisors who hope to exploit market inefficiencies.
2013-03-26 How to Invest Like Buffett by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Listen to Jim Cramer or his cohorts on CNBC and you’ll hear statements like, “Don’t settle for the mediocre returns of a market index!” and “It’s not that hard for investors to pick stocks that will beat the market!” Unless you possess the skills of Warren Buffett, that’s not true. But in the book Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffett, Larry Swedroe says you indeed can invest like Buffett – just not by stock-picking.
2013-03-26 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.
2013-03-14 DC Plan Sponsors: Now's the Time to Get More From Bonds by Stacy Schaus of PIMCO
Long on equities and light on bonds, today’s DC plan lineups may expose participants to extreme market risks. Plan sponsors could potentially improve retirement outcomes by trimming choices for stocks and considering additional options for bonds. The inclusion of active fixed income strategies with global exposure or additional income opportunities could help participants reach their retirement goals.
2013-03-13 Who Cares if There's a High-Yield Bond Bubble? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
High-yield bonds, or "junk bonds" as they are widely known, have received a lot of attention in recent months. Is there a high-yield bond bubble? Certainly a ton of new money has gone into high-yield bond funds over the last few years. Millions of Americans who would have never considered high-yield bonds have bought in due to near zero returns on traditional savings vehicles.
2013-03-12 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
Two readers respond to Joe Tomlinson's article, Can Advisors Add Value Through Fund Selection?, which appeared on February 26, and a reader responds to Wade Pfau's article, Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Rate Paradigm: Extending the Efficient Frontier for Retirement Income, which appeared last week.
2013-03-12 Spring Thaw by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
The first thing you notice when you are landing at Detroit Metro Airport in the winter after two weeks in the Caribbean is whether or not there is snow on the ground. I am pleased to report that other than a few clumps left by the snow plows or swept by the wind into the empty furrows and fenced-in corners of a farmer's field, the six inches that covered everything when I left have largely disappeared.
2013-03-06 Lessons Learned by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
The need for taking precautions, preparing for emergencies, having "just-in-case" options, was a much discussed topic...right after the 2000 and 2008 market crashes. Not so much anymore.
2013-03-06 Combining the Best of Passive and Active Investing by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management
Should investors pay higher fees to active managers in an attempt to beat the market? Or should they instead buy cheap passive index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) thereby surrendering to the compelling long-term evidence that successful money managers are few and far between and very difficult to identify. It is an important and ongoing debate because the choice between the passive or active approach to investing can have a huge impact on long-term results.
2013-03-06 Liquidity Tiering for Higher Yields in the Tax-Free Market by Duane McAllister, John Bortizke of BMO Global Asset Management
In today's low-yield environment, investors need a fresh approach to managing their portfolios for higher income. Liquidity tiering provides a framework that can help you achieve both principal stability and yields sufficient to meet your goals.
2013-03-05 Selecting Truly Active Equity Funds by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)
In a recent Advisor Perspectives article, Joe Tomlinson reported evidence showing that 401(k) plan sponsors add value in selecting funds, but their risk-adjusted alpha is not enough to beat a comparable index portfolio. Tomlinson then pointed out the need for additional research to help advisors improve upon the fund selection process. As a step in this direction, I will report on research conducted by my firm and other academics.
2013-03-01 The Walk of Life: Stepping Away From Dire Straits and Toward Active Short-Term Mgmt Strategies by Jerome Schneider, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO
Money market investors may find the benefits of recent regulatory and industry reforms bittersweet at best, as they are still tolerating borderline zero percent yields in a persistent low rate environment. Without creative strategies for liquidity management, many investors are finding themselves in the "dire straits" of actual negative real returns on their cash allocations even with modest current levels of inflation.
2013-02-27 Is This Market "For the Birds"? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
Last week, the stock market hit one of those gusts of headwind that seemed to stop the 2013 rally in its tracks and push it backward. When that happens, as it is again today, it is like watching the gull traverse just a few feet in front of us on the beach. What happens in the short run can be progress or retreat.
2013-02-26 Can Advisors Add Value Through Fund Selection? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)
Low-cost index funds will beat the average actively managed fund after expenses. But can advisors identify superior active funds to overcome this disadvantage? Advisors who believe they can choose those funds will be challenged by the results of two studies from the defined-contribution industry.
2013-02-20 Nervous Investors Approaching a Trap? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
With the S&P 500 reaching new post-crash highs, it is interesting, to say the least, that most individual investors are not bullish on stocks. Rather, as the market has moved relentlessly higher this year, individual investors have turned more and more bearish.
2013-02-14 Understanding Derivative Overlays, in All Their Forms by Markus Aakko, Rene Martel of PIMCO
Passively managed overlays are typically based on a simple formula, while active approaches involve more complex algorithms or decision-making. Overlay examples include portable alpha, LDI, currency, completion, rebalancing, and tactical asset allocation overlays -- as well as tail-risk hedging and hedge fund replication. Potential benefits include the ability to effectively manage cash, reduce costs and risk exposure, simplify manager transitions and express tactical views.
2013-02-12 Fixed-Income Insights: When High Yield Loses Some Height by Zane Brown of Lord Abbett
If one sought an indication of how monetary policy and historically low interest rates can influence investor behavior, the high-yield bond market could provide some perspective. In 2012, investors' ongoing demand for income was reflected by the high-yield market's 15.6% return, the $32 billion that flowed into the asset class, andas several headlines pronouncedthe market's record-low yields of less than 6%.
2013-02-08 The Year in Review: 2012 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Politicians crave the spotlight, but it is unfortunate that investors watch the show. 2012, like 2011, was another year in which Washington theatrics scared investors. As a result, investors largely missed out on above average equity returns. Corporate profits and valuations, and not Washington, continue to be the primary drivers of equity returns. We think there are several important points to consider when reviewing 2012 performance, and when structuring portfolios for 2013.
2013-02-06 Too Active, Too Passive: Too Little Understanding by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
The wealth management and institutional consulting communities have allowed indexing to be called "passive" investing and stock-picking disciplines to be called active management. This implies a mindless approach to indexing and a great deal of busyness to stock picking. We at Smead Capital Management believe these labels are at the heart of a great deal of confusion about what works and what doesn't work in both equity mutual funds and separately managed accounts.
2013-02-05 Comparing Advisors to Jim Cramer: Measuring your Professional Alpha by Bob Veres (Article)
Jim Cramer, Suze Orman and other so-called investment pundits and gurus are constantly telling consumers that they can do a great job of managing their portfolios on their own. Let's look at what the research has to say about the various investment performance benefits that advisors should be able to give their clients during the accumulation phase of their lives – excess returns above what do-it-yourself investors could obtain on their own. I call those excess returns 'professional alpha.'
2013-01-23 Gun Control & How To Play Upcoming Debt Battles by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
Ever since the tragedy on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut occurred when Adam Lanza senselessly murdered 26 people (20 children and six staff) and then himself there has been a growing cry from millions of Americans for some kind of new gun controls. And the current occupant of the White House is all too happy to oblige. Last week, the president unveiled the most sweeping new gun control laws since the so-called Brady Bill was passed in 1993, requiring background checks on firearm purchasers in the US. Obama's proposals go much further as I will discuss.
2013-01-22 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Stocks shrugged off numerous worries to log a very good year in 2012, but can markets continue to climb? Certainly the worries remain. The most immediate has to do with the spending side of the fiscal cliff. The cliff deal made permanent the Bush tax cuts for all but high-income taxpayers but it did not address spending. So while the worst case of the cliff was avoided, the work is not nearly done. In this commentary we discuss our current assessment of the investment environment including a detailed look at what could go right, and tie it all back to our portfolio positioning.
2013-01-17 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO
The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.
2013-01-16 Tax-Deferral Becomes More Urgent As Congress Seeks Fiscal Solutions by Mitchell Caplan of Jefferson National
Many Americans began the New Year relieved that the "fiscal cliff" had been averted, if only temporarily. But there is no escaping their biggest fearthat an increase in their federal tax bill is inevitable. Congress continues to hammer out the final details, but one thing is certain: anyone drawing a salary or receiving other income will be hit with more taxes. And the higher their income, the bigger the bite.
2013-01-15 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO
While not immune to global economic headwinds, emerging market investments remain well positioned to outperform their developed world counterparts over time. The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.
2013-01-03 Beyond the Fiscal Cliff by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Politicians love the spotlight, but it is very unfortunate that investors watch the show. The drama of the so-called "fiscal cliff" has scared investors, and led them to miss a very good year in the equity market (the S&P 500's total return was 16.0% during 2012 versus the long-term annual average of 11.8%). It appears as though Washington wants to continue to dominate the headlines, which means that it may be more important than ever for investors to downplay Washington's theatrics.
2013-01-02 Somewhere Over the Rainbow by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
We are 13 years into a secular bear market in the United States. The Nasdaq is still down 40% from its high, and the Dow and S&P 500 are essentially flat. European and Japanese equities have generally fared worse. The average secular bear market in the US has been about 11 years, with the shortest to date being four years and the longest 20. Are we at the beginning of a new bull market or another seven years of famine? What sorts of returns should we expect over the coming years from US equities?
2012-12-20 Hedge Funds: Identifying Alpha and Mitigating Risk by Daniel Eagan of AllianceBernstein
Hedge funds have historically generated higher returns than stocks with less volatility, but they also pose several significant risks that volatility alone doesn't capture, our research suggests. That makes careful due diligence and diversification of managers crucial.
2012-12-15 A Face-Off Between Passive and Active Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Exchange-traded funds continued to attract assets in 2012 while money has been exiting mutual funds. Still a majority of assets continue to be invested in actively managed products: As of the end of 2011, of the nearly $13 trillion invested in funds, index and exchange-traded funds comprise only about 8 percent, according to the Investment Company Institute.
2012-12-10 13 for '13 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Each December we publish a list of investment themes that we feel are critical to the coming year. We continue to believe that US equities are in the midst of a major bull market that could ultimately rival 1982's bull market. It is hard to be bearish when one considers the following.
2012-11-30 Active Management: Don't Drop the Pilot by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein
For years, we've advised clients to hold diversified portfolios with balanced allocations to stocks, bonds and other assets. Lately, it's been a hard sell, especially after years of underperformance by active equity managers. But the tide may be turning.
2012-11-07 Avoid a Passive Pickle in Less Volatile Stocks by Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein
Less volatile, defensive stocks have been so popular lately that many investors are now asking whether the low-volatility opportunity has come and gone. The question highlights why we think a multifaceted, actively managed approach is the way to go when investing in this space. These strategies have more levers to pull to avoid near-term risks and, thus, to extend the long-term return potential of low-volatility stocks.
2012-11-06 Asset Location: Nine Tips to Create “Tax Alpha” by Glenn Frank (Article)
With campaign season finally over, taxes are going to dominate the debate in Washington in the months ahead – however things shake out at the polls today. It's going to be confusing; it's going to be uncertain. But many of the most critical questions advisors will ask can be answered with an analytical approach to deciding where to 'house' assets – in taxable or tax-sheltered accounts.
2012-10-26 Of Irish and Fiscal Cliffs by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Dr. Michael Hasenstab, Templeton Global Bond Fund portfolio manager and co-director of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group's International Bond Department, doesn't prescribe legislative answers, but he can relate the fiscal challenges the U.S. faces to the experiences of a country with its own dramatic cliffs: Ireland.
2012-10-23 She Turns Sea Shells by the Sea Shore by Mariko Gordon (Article)
I love the sea. Always have. I explain how my seaside search for shells while unplugging on the Gulf Coast of Florida led to some useful insights related to uncovering an investment manager's process.
2012-10-22 What's Bubbling Up? The Hidden Costs of Indexing by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein
Investors eager for "safety" have been piling into indexed portfolios at the expense of actively managed strategiesand thus making a big, and risky, bet against deep value and for high-dividend yielding stocks. We think theyre pursuing just the wrong course.
2012-10-09 Is Gluskin's David Rosenberg Right about Utilities? by Geoff Considine (Article)
They're not the sexiest property on the Monopoly board, but in today's market, there's plenty of evidence mounting that utilities are a great source of income. Indeed, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg made the case for utilities in a recent commentary.
2012-10-04 Overtime, Then (not so) Sudden Death by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO
The FDIC's unlimited insurance coverage on demand deposits is set to expire on December 31. While the expiration by itself might not be a game changer, it adds to the uncertainty that looms over liquidity strategies as global interest rates continue to be squeezed. We believe that actively managed short-term strategies that dynamically adjust to market conditions are viable solutions, with more attractive risk and return characteristics than money markets.
2012-09-28 The Danger of Safety by Owen Murray of Horizon Advisors
Investors have become cautious and anxious following the bear market of the past twelve years and the recent bouts of extreme volatility. We examine risks and opportunities in light of the difficult market environment in our special report The Danger of Safety."
2012-09-18 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
Several readers respond to our article, Can Our Retirement System be Fixed?, which appeared last week. A reader responds to Bill Gross' commentary, The Lending Lindy, which appeared on September 5, and a reader responds to David Schawel's article, Three Bond Funds for Rising or Falling Rates, which appeared last week.
2012-09-11 Three Bond Funds for Rising or Falling Rates by David Schawel, CFA (Article)
Several actively managed bond funds have achieved significant outperformance relative to their benchmarks despite recent low interest rates. The strategies employed by these funds can and will continue to outperform without needing rates to fall further.
2012-09-04 Challenges in Todays Municipal Market by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein
Most fixed-income investments carry two key risks: interest-rate risk and credit risk. Both affect a bond's value in the market. But before the 2008 financial crisis, interest-rate risk was the primary concern of many investors and investment managerscredit risk was much less of a consideration. My colleague Michael Brooks explains why.
2012-08-30 Fixed Income Investing - the Dangers of Complacency by Bill Woodruff of Bandon Capital Management
The paper points out the US has been in a declining interest rate environment for 30 years, producing a tailwind for fixed income investors but one with little room left for further decline. At these interest rate levels - the yield on the 10 year US Treasury recently hit an all-time month end low of 1.49% - fixed income investors face unique risks which are predominantly unfamiliar.
2012-08-03 Postcard from Japan by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia
After spending a week crisscrossing Tokyo earlier this summer to meet with various companies, my general take-away was that the country, as a whole, has managed a rather swift recovery from last year's devastating earthquake. Japan seems to have been able to rebound from its nuclear crisis, showing great resilience. Most of the firms I met with were already plowing ahead to try to make up for last year's losses.
2012-08-03 Is Buy-and-Hold Dead? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
If one searches in Google for Does buy-and-hold work?, more than 191 million results will appear.If one searches for Is buy-and-hold dead?, more than 81 million results will appear.However, if one searches for Successful buy-and-hold strategies, only about 9 million results will appear.Its pretty clear that the investing world believes that buy-and-hold strategies are basically dead and gone.
2012-08-03 How to Avoid the Bursting of the Bond Market Bubble by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
This letter is the first in a series that I hope you will take very seriously. U.S. interest rates are at record lows. Meanwhile, Obama and Congress are sky-rocketing the national debt. We all know this cant go on much longer.
2012-08-03 Hedging Against (and Profiting From) A Prospective Decline In The U.S. Dollar by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The U.S. dollar has remained the world's reserve currency due to several factors: 1. Its large circulation (roughly $1.1 trillion); 2. The denomination of many transactions (especially commodities such as oil and other natural resources) being in USD; 3. The stability of its political system; and 4. The lack of any other viable options. However, that may not always be the case.
2012-08-01 Real Estate Portfolio Construction for Individual Investors by Casey Frazier of Versus Capital Management
Commercial real estate is an asset class that includes many different strategies and approaches. Investors segment real estate investments into a few categories. This segmentation is done by several key factors including income profile, leverage, operational risk and potential returns. The most important segmentation is core versus non-core, or properties with stable income versus properties that have unstable or no income.
2012-07-13 Bond Investing - Its the Short Side, Stupid by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
As you are probably aware, I am an avowed political junkie but this article isnt about politics. Instead, I want to borrow a phrase from the 1992 presidential election as an analogy to highlight what I believe bond investors should be concentrating on right now - the short side.
2012-06-28 Focusing on Capital Preservation: Stable Value and Possible Alternatives by Brett Gorman, Henry Kao, Stacy Schaus of PIMCO
Stable value, which combines an actively managed fixed income portfolio with a contract to help assure principal and income, offers capital preservation potential and historically higher risk-adjusted returns than money market and low duration strategies.
2012-06-06 Liquidity Lessons: The Critical Importance of Budgeting for Overlay Strategies by Markus Aakko, Jared Gross of PIMCO
One approach is to tier liquidity into current and contingent tiers, where some assets are kept in more liquid form and others are kept in higher-yielding investments. Quantifying how much of the immediate category is needed is a relatively straightforward risk-management exercise involving estimating the potential mark-to-market change in value of the overlay. Our view is that locating the liquidity pool internally has a number of potential advantages over an external model.
2012-06-01 Hasenstab on a Possible Grexit by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton
The Greek debt drama looks to be entering its final act. On June 17, Greek citizens will cast their votes to either elect a pro-austerity government that would keep the economically eviscerated country in the eurozone, or leave the union and go it alone. Dr. Michael Hasenstab expects either option is going to be painful for Greece, so the big question in his mind is whether the world is prepared for either outcome. A summary of some of Dr. Hasenstabs thoughts on what Greeces next move may mean for investors.
2012-05-24 Measuring Active Management: The Basics of Active Share and Tracking Error by Team of American Century Investments
Every investor needs to understand the basics of portfolio management. In a broad sense, portfolio management can be divided into actively managed and passively managed categories. Although we describe both approaches at the outset, we fasten our attention on active portfolio management in this piece. Specifically, we focus on the Active Share and Tracking Error approaches to measuring active management in equities. The goal is to further develop an appreciation for the multi-faceted complexion of active portfolio management.
2012-05-22 The Harsh Realities of Bond Math by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates
Shortly after I graduated from college my father sat me down and tried to teach me about bonds. He proceeded to explain that prices and yields. He tried to explain the difference between a bonds yield and its coupon as well as the effect that time to maturity has on the sensitivity of a bonds price to changes in interest rates. It all sounded so complex, and there were intertwining effects. This, combined with its counter-intuitive nature, made the concept of bond pricing difficult to grasp in a short lesson.
2012-05-17 Avoiding a Cold Shower in the Cash Markets by Jerome M. Schneider of PIMCO
A concern for investors would be to vigilantly monitor the global marketplace for any changes in the liquidity markets, reviewing aspects and conditions in both the unsecured and secured markets. The second source is the capital market participants themselves. Reduced or reallocated dealer balance sheets have led to wider bid-offer spreads in the marketplace. The final evolutionary condition to monitor is the regulatory environment in the U.S. The SEC and the Fed have recently become critics of the current structure of 2a-7 money market funds.
2012-05-17 You should worry about EM inflation. Not US inflation. by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Investors seem overly concerned about US inflation. Both market-derived expectations and actual rates of US inflation remain very subdued, yet we are consistently asked about inflation and whether our investment strategies are adequately structured for high US inflation. Across the board, these data do not support structuring investment strategies for the US inflation that investors, oddly enough, feel is inevitable. The data do, however, suggest that investors recent rush into emerging market debt is much riskier than they anticipate.
2012-05-16 Quarterly Review: 1st Quarter 2012 by Robert L. Worthington of Hatteras Funds
Overall economic conditions are slowly improving in certain developed markets like the U.S. This could result in decent and probably better than expected earnings results for Q1 2012, which of course are announced throughout the early-mid part of the coming quarter. Risks are still prevalent and meaningful in regards to the European debt crisis and may continue to mute economic activity for this part of the world. Finally, while evidence suggests that the major developing economies of China, India and Brazil are slowing, risk of hard landings in these countries is small.
2012-05-04 Do Emerging Markets Win, Place or Show in Your Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The recovery in U.S. stocks is significant and helps restore confidence in equities. Were pleased to see markets improving, especially following a rough finish in 2011. Yet there lingers a persistent negativity toward emerging markets growth and commodities that prevents many investors from jockeying their portfolios into a position for growth. Rather, they remain spectators on the sidelines, with equity fund outflows continuing.
2012-04-20 Small Cap Outlook 1Q12 by 1492 Investment Team of 1492 Capital Management
While weve seen the markets advance nicely, we think the market could gain more than 25% this year as the U.S. economy continues to move ahead and the rest of the world is in stimulus mode. Most importantly, there are still plenty of bears calling for recession, despite an ongoing barrage of better economic statistics. No doubt the remainder of the year will give the stock market plenty to ponder like the U.S. Presidential election, ongoing European debt crisis fallout and concerns about Chinas economic growth. Read on to understand why were so bullish on the U.S. stock market.
2012-04-20 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Stocks and other risk assets surged in the first quarter, continuing the strong run that began in the fourth quarter of last year. In each of the past two quarters, domestic stocks gained about 12%, marking one the strongest runs over the October-March span going back to the 1920s. Developed foreign stocks increased nearly 12% in the quarter, emerging-markets stocks gained 14, small-cap U.S. stocks were up 12%, high-yield bonds rose 5%, and emerging-markets local-currency bonds added 8%.
2012-04-19 Current Conditions Cater to Our Rigorous Muni Investment Process by Team of American Century Investments
The last four years have been a remarkable period in municipal bond (muni) market history. The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession transformed the high-grade U.S. muni market and how people invest in it. What was once a relatively homogenous bond sector in terms of its credit quality and ratings became much more heterogeneous. Under these conditions, we believe experienced professional credit research and portfolio management are now crucial to investment success. This article outlines our muni investment processes.
2012-04-18 Balancing Perception, Reality, Equities and Fixed Income by Team of Franklin Templeton
Never underestimate the power of perception to influence peoples fiscal behavior. Perception is such a significant influence, in fact, that economic tea-leaf readers have developed a myriad of surveys and indicators to monitor individuals perceptions of the investing environment because perceptions canand domove markets. When sentiment is negative, investors tend to shift out of assets they perceive as risky and into assets they perceive as safe. Ed Perks, portfolio manager of Franklin Balanced Fund and Franklin Income Fund, is well aware of the role perception plays in the markets.
2012-04-18 European Debt Crisis Never Went Away by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
US stocks are having a big day today, with the Dow up just over 200 points. But there are problems lurking in Europe that could be quite negative for global equities over the next several weeks. There are fears that Spain and perhaps Italy will need more bailout loans in the weeks just ahead. Thats our topic for today. In December and January the ECB took the unprecedented step of loaning apprx. 1 trillion euros to European money center banks in an effort to buy some time for the banks to recapitalize. The loans had three year maturities, and the interest rate was an incredibly low 1%.
2012-04-11 Municipal Bonds: What a Difference a Year Makes by Team of Franklin Templeton
Nows an exciting time for investors to consider this asset class, which is on firmer footing today. In brief: We believe the fear and dire predictions about municipal bonds last year were largely unfounded and misguided. We think the municipal bond market is now trading on strong fundamentals. Fiscal constraints remain in the marketplace; we need to be disciplined and responsible in our investing. In our opinion, its nonsensical to compare the U.S. municipal marketplace to sovereign-debt countries. We are staying more defensive; we think its the most prudent course of action.
2012-03-15 Investment Management with a Conscience by Douglas Hodge of PIMCO
Earlier this year the Financial Times ran a series of editorials under the title Capitalism in Crisis. Contributors ranged from Bill Clinton and Alan Greenspan to FT editors Martin Wolf and John Kay. There was also a submission with the byline, Occupy London. While I am admittedly unable to add much to their collective wisdom, I think a sound analysis of capitalism requires an understanding of the role of the investment management industry within the financial services ecosystem."
2012-03-13 Concentrated Equity Triple Play Higher Returns, Lower Risk, Lower Correlations by C. Thomas Howard, Ph.D. (Article)
Concentrating a portfolio on a few choice assets dramatically increases an investor's chance of superior performance. Nonetheless, most advisors and investors shun portfolio concentration as unacceptably risky. To a great extent, this is driven by the myth that adequate diversification is impossible unless one holds many stocks - a myth I will debunk.
2012-03-05 Is Popularity Ruining Indexing? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
Scarcity creates value in economics. In our view, what is scarce today is an equity manager doing long-term/long duration equity analysis and institutions/individual investors willing to employ them. Since 33% of the stock market is indexed and most of the other 67% works in very short analytic time frames, we believe the market must be as inefficient as it has ever been. Time is the ally of the long-duration common stock investor and we believe more so now, because indexing is getting too popular and investing in short durations is at epidemic levels.
2012-02-21 A Simple Email to Save a Client by Dan Richards (Article)
A recent conversation got me thinking. Losing a client is a painful experience -even more so when you realize that something as simple as an email could have avoided that outcome.
2012-02-16 Hasenstab Sticks to His Guns by Team of Franklin Templeton
Michael Hasenstab, Portfolio Manager of the Templeton Global Bond Fund, doesnt scare so easily. As he reiterated recently, he actually sees times of market panic as opportunities to make investments where he sees long-term value. The key thoughts he shared: The challenge during periods of volatility is that, although investors can take a short-term hit, this volatility can create opportunity. Fears Europe will sink Asia appear overblown. China not likely to see a hard landing. The Eurozone drama continues to unfold.
2012-02-06 Time to Get in the Game by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Recent data on job growth, unemployment and manufacturing activity offer compelling reasons for investors to get off the sidelines. Private job growth continued with a gain of 257,000 jobs, signaling a very constructive trend weve seen for a number of months. Public sector job shrinkage also continued and should be a welcome sign given the need to reduce government debt. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3% in January. Arguably, investors should be willing to take on more risk when they feel their employment is more secure. And the feeling of greater job security might soon be on the horizon.
2012-02-01 The Trouble with Seeking Core Fixed Income Alpha by Daniel Morillo of iShares Blog
A typical core fixed income bond fund managers alpha is often positively correlated with the returns of broad equity benchmarks like the S&P 500. That means an investors actively managed fixed income holdings may perform more like equities than bonds. How problematic is this? Daniel Morillo is here to explain.
2012-01-26 2011 A Difficult Year for Active Investors by Owen Murray of Horizon Advisors
Actively managed mutual funds greatly underperformed their respective benchmarks in 2011. This was primarily due to extreme market conditions triggered by the European debt crisis. Investment managers were not rewarded for good fundamental decision making as fear dominated trading activity in the global markets. Active manager underperformance / outperformance trends tend to be cyclical, but over time, good active managers add value. We expect actively managed funds to outperform once market volatility subsides and fundamental factors reemerge as a key consideration for investors.
2012-01-24 Must Bond Investors Fear Rising Interest Rates? by Andrew D. Martin (Article)
Thirty-one years ago, in 1981, the one-year Treasury reached its all time high of 14%. Today it hovers around 0.10%. Never before have interest rates fallen so far. Many economists and investment advisors, seeing nowhere to go but up, expect interest rates to climb from these historic lows. But that would not be the catastrophe that many bond investors fear.
2012-01-10 2011: The Famine That Followed the Feast That Followed the Fiasco by Ron Surz (Article)
Ron Surz provides his award-winning commentary on the US and global markets.
2012-01-06 Capturing Domestic Demand in Emerging Markets Neither Small Caps Nor Multinationals Are a Good Proxy by Arjun Divecha of GMO
As domestic demand play gains momentum, we hear increasingly that the best way to capture this theme is to buy small cap emerging stocks. We believe, however, that this is a mistake and that focusing on companies that speciﬁcally serve domestic demand is a more effective way to exploit the opportunity. Besides, why buy a proxy when you can buy the real thing?
2011-12-05 The Facts They Dont Want You to Know by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
Our industry needs a good old fashioned kick up its backside. Far too much mediocrity is rewarded for nothing other than destroying value.
2011-12-02 The Paradox of Active Fixed Income Management by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog
Amid this years volatile markets, many investors expected their fixed income holdings to be a source of stability in their portfolios. But some are finding the opposite has been true. In this blog, Matt Tucker explains how the Paradox of Active Management could be partly to blame.
2011-11-29 The Investment Case for Israel by Jamia Jasper (Article)
What country went into the 2008-2009 recession in a stronger position and exited sooner than any western nation? Whose stock market has outperformed the MSCI EAFE over the past 10 years?
2011-11-22 Morningstar’s Attempt to Predict Performance by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few question that skillful mutual fund managers exist, but virtually all attempts to identify them ex ante have failed. Last week, Morningstar took up the challenge with its Analyst Ratings, which aim to identify funds with the 'long-term potential for superior risk-adjusted performance.' Given the futility of such efforts over the last several decades, advisors should approach this new effort with skepticism.
2011-11-01 The Small Cap Falsehood by Michael Edesess (Article)
The supposed outperformance of small cap stocks is a foundational precept on which many respected asset managers have staked their expertise over the years – foremost among them, Dimensional Fund Advisors. A growing body of research, however, shows no such advantage for the last 30 years and, now, a new study seems to have proven that the supposed small-cap advantage may have never existed in the first place.
2011-10-27 Third Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Since 2008, we have been in a period where macroeconomic forces are particularly influential and must inform our portfolio strategy. This quarter's developments in which we saw heightened concerns about a global economic slowdown, political gridlock, and serious concerns about shorter-term European and longer-term U.S. debt problems are consistent with the risk scenarios we've been discussing the past several years.
2011-10-27 Outlining the U.S. Economys Growth Dichotomy by Team of American Century Investments
David MacEwen describes the growth dichotomy that has developed during the recovery from the Great Recession, and how its restricted the recovery, softened consumer sentiment, influenced the fixed income teams macroeconomic outlook, and shaped some of the teams sector outlooks. One of the key characteristics of the subpar, slow-growth recovery we have experienced since the Great Recession has been the clear divide between the recovery rates of the business and consumer sectors. Businesses have bounced back faster and stronger than the U.S. consumer who buys their goods and services.
2011-10-19 All That Glitters Is Not a Cash Equivalent by Jerome M. Schneider of PIMCO
The latest volatility has investors asking questions about the securities they own, in particular probing any exposures to European issuers. Cash investors often over-allocate to money market and bank investment vehicles, while the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities might fall just outside of this space. We currently see opportunities in short-dated, non-financial BBB-rated corporate bonds, along with dollar-hedged bonds and bills issued by sovereigns with solid balance sheets.
2011-10-18 Bob Doll: Why the US is Positioned Strongly by BlackRock (Article)
Investor unease has risen dramatically over the past quarter in the face of growing concerns about the world's economic and financial health. The focal point has been the intensifying debt crisis in Europe. The issues facing Europe are highly complex, but essentially are underscored by a single question: Is Europe facing a solvency crisis or a liquidity crisis?
2011-09-27 Do Low Correlations Favor Active Managers? by FundQuest Investment Management & Research Group (Article)
There has been much debate regarding the challenges for active managers in market environments with persistently high correlations. Some argue that high correlations hinder active managers seeking to generate alpha through security selection. Indeed, in a recent study, we found that active managers were more likely to succeed in low-correlation environments.
2011-09-21 Muni Veterans Discuss Economy, Downgrades and Silver Lining by Joseph Deane and Julie Callahan of PIMCO
Many municipal balance sheets are in reasonably good shape and default rates remain a small fraction of the overall market. The downgrade of Americas AAA rating to AA+ had a knock on effect on municipal bonds. However, we believe of greater consequence to bond issuers, and to the market, is the outcome of federal budget negotiations. We feel essential service revenue bonds tend to have more consistent revenue streams and lower (or no) pension and medical liabilities than general obligation issues.
2011-09-13 The Risks of Exchange-Traded Products by Dennis Gibb (Article)
Every major financial crisis has been foretold by timely but ultimately ignored warnings. At the end of mania, the rush to secure more fees, investment performance and status trumps common sense. In the last few months, the drumbeats of warnings from financial journals and regulators about exchange-traded funds have been sounding. Few seem to be listening.
2011-09-08 Teaching to the Test by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO
Many managers are focused on beating benchmarks, rather than helping clients achieve their investment objectives. Clients save and invest their money for specific reasons, such as for retirement or childrens education and managers should focus on helping them meet those goals. Many managers are really closet indexers masquerading as active managers while charging premium fees for benchmark returns. Many equity managers deviate very little from their benchmark because they are terrified of potentially underperforming it.
2011-08-29 Instant Pudding by Tim Gramatovich, Ron Heller and Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares/Peritus Asset Management
We are in the midst of a prolonged stagnant economy and Europe is facing mounting issueshowever we believe the end result is a resetting of expectations and re-pricing of global equity markets rather than anything economically devastating. Credit bubbles, and the resulting deleveraging, take a great deal of time to heal and this time is no different. There is no instant fix. But with the transfer of debt to public balance sheets from private ones (thanks to QEs 1 and 2), we see corporate credit as more desirable than Government paper.
2011-08-23 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)
Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.
2011-08-12 Developed Market Banks: Why PIMCO Pathfinder Takes a Selective Approach by Charles Lahr of PIMCO
The Pathfinder Strategy is currently limited to only a handful of banks that are best characterized by PIMCO as deep value opportunities. We generally do not see meaningful upside potential in equity positions of developed market banks over the secular horizon. Our concerns primarily revolve around three factors: loan growth, balance-sheet risk along with capital levels and regulation.
2011-07-26 Equity Allocations: Thinking outside of the Box by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates
In this issue we will look at a different way of constructing the equity portfolio. We will use the concept of active sharea measure of how much active equity portfolios actually deviate from their benchmark indexesas well as what active share tells us about the standard equity structure alternatives. The success of an investors overall portfolio is highly dependent on how well the equity component performs; stocks are the largest allocation in most portfolios, on average half of assets or more. Therefore, paying special attention to the equity strategy decision is very important.
2011-07-22 ETF Mythbusting: Short Selling SLV by Noel Archard of iShares Blog
Short selling of SLV shares in the secondary market does not reduce the amount of silver held on behalf of Trust investors, nor does it increase the number of shares issued by the Trust. In order to establish a short position in SLV, a short seller must borrow the necessary shares of SLV from an existing holder, which means that the short seller also has an obligation to return those shares to the lender at a later time. In order to return the borrowed shares to the lender, the short seller must either purchase shares of SLV in the secondary market, or create new shares of SLV.
2011-07-19 Earning 'Extra Credit' Through Short-Term Strategies PIMCO by Jerome M. Schneider of PIMCO
Given renewed concerns over liquidity and credit, investors can potentially do better by considering actively managed short-term strategies that invest beyond traditional U.S. money-market guidelines. The current credit situation in Europe is different from that in both 2008 and 2010 because initial liquidity conditions in the short-term markets are better. In our view, investors should evaluate potential investments within the wider scope of relative value opportunities and not simply for the incremental yield they may offer above risk-free returns.
2011-07-13 The Inflation Revival: Is it Time to Recalibrate Your Portfolio? by Richard Levine, Matthew Rubin and Tom Marthaler of Neuberger Berman
After a decades-long hiatus, inflation appears to be making a comeback. Clearly few anticipate a return to the days of the late 1970s and early 1980s when double-digit annual inflation gains were the norm. Still, the cumulative impact of inflation can be costly even during periods of modest price increases. According to Bloomberg $100 saved by the end of 1988 was “worth” only $56 by the end of 2009. Investors may wish to take into account such changes as they estimate the potential returns of their portfolios, and consider incorporating inflation hedges into their investment strategy.
2011-07-12 Making the U.S. Dollar Safer: Return OF Your Money by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
Money market funds try to keep a stable net asset value by employing what is called amortized cost accounting: the market value is ignored, assuming the issuer of the debt will pay in full. The justification for this practice is that money market funds invest in highly rated securities of extremely short duration. That may be correct, but in case of a systemic shock and a flight from money market funds, there is a risk that money market funds would need to liquidate holdings at a loss; additionally, an outright default cannot be ruled out in light of the Lehman Brothers experience.
2011-07-11 Hedge Funds Outperform Equity Benchmarks in Turbulent Markets by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
Hedge funds navigated volatile markets to finish the month with a slight loss. “Market Neutral and Long-Short Equity funds both outperformed broad equity market indices for the month,” notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President. “Managers were fully occupied in negotiating the risk trade as investor sentiment changed dramatically over the course of the month. We continue to believe that in volatile markets actively managed hedge fund portfolios will provide superior results to index investing.”
2011-07-06 IRA Ins and Outs by Kevin Feldman of iShares Blog
Which investments should you keep inside an IRA and which outside? Consider these guidelines. In general, I try to put tax inefficient investments in my IRA. It’s probably easier to describe tax efficient investments than it is to do the opposite. Two good examples of tax efficient investments are municipal bonds and most index ETFs. In the case of municipal bonds, you generally avoid paying federal income tax on the income and in some cases avoid paying state tax as well. In the case of most USequity index ETFs, they have had a good track record of paying minimal capital gains distributions.
2011-06-28 Reducing Risk through Value-Oriented Tactical Strategies by Mark E. Ricardo, JD, LLM, AAMS (Article)
Conventional wisdom was that the best way to reduce portfolio risk is to adopt a diversified long-term strategic asset allocation. That paradigm was challenged - deservedly so - following the 2008 financial crisis. Fortunately, an improved paradigm has emerged: Investors should combine long-term strategic allocations with a value-oriented tactical rebalancing strategy.
2011-06-07 Modern Portfolio Theory IS Harming Your Portfolio by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management
In a recent paper, Scott Vincent argues that the flawed foundation of MPT has allowed its advocates to control the language of the debate and set the stage for the obvious conclusion that passive index-based investing is inherently superior. And don’t think for a second that this debate is simply theoretical, academic, or unimportant– the basic tenets of MPT shape the decisions of nearly all investors in profound and often disturbing ways. YOUR money is almost certainly being managed with these ideas at the core. The traditional approach to asset allocation is built on false axioms.
2011-06-03 Can Less Deliver More? The Case for Concentrated Equity Strategies by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is such a widely held notion within the financial services industry that it's almost blasphemous to suggest an investment strategy that questions this premise. But what if researching multiple baskets of stocks was too distracting and too much to manage? Could focusing your attention on a single, smaller basket of investment ideas produce better results? Some investment professionals-Warren Buffett among them-believe concentrated equity portfolios offer the opportunity for better risk-adjusted returns.
2011-05-26 Protecting Bond Portfolios From Rising Rates by Team of Neuberger Berman
As the U.S. economy continues to strengthen and the prospect of inflation rises, investors are concerned the U.S. may potentially face a sustained period of rising interest rates. This matters to bond owners because changes in interest rates directly impact the market value of bonds and bond portfolios. With today’s fixed income markets now implying an increase in interest rates and higher volatility in credit spreads, a traditional buy-and-hold bond portfolio or a more traditional fixed income mutual fund strategy may not be as attractive to investors.
2011-04-26 Beware the 3-Minute Trader by Bill Barker of Motley Fool
It is widely reported that 70% of all trades on the New York Stock Exchange are owned for less than three minutes. As in 180 seconds. Max. There are many reasons to take affront at such trading strategies, not least of which is that rapid-fire trading incurs significant tax consequences. As you read this, many of you will have just gone through the always enlightening and delightful gift from our government -the process of filing your own taxes. While that isnt something we'd normally remind you about, we do hope youve taken notice that trading stocks isnt given a free ride by Uncle Sam.
2011-04-12 Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest by Barry M. Ferguson (Article)
The two stupidest characters ever to grace the big screen - Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne - were first introduced to the world in Jim Carrey's 1994 movie, Dumb and Dumber. If that movie were made today, its leading characters could easily be our government and the supposedly independent Federal Reserve Bank. Both of these institutions have foisted their misguided policies on the American public, who, in their passive acceptance, have proven themselves to be the dumbest of all.
2011-04-02 Expert Roundtable on Inflation: Should You Be Worried? by Mark W. Riepe, Liz Ann Sonders, Rob Williams, Michael Iachini & Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab
Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services; your money buys less. With oil and other commodity prices rising, the Federal Reserve's current easy monetary policy and the economy picking up, many investors are worried about inflation. Mark Riepe, head of Financial Research and president of Charles Schwab Investment Advisory, led a roundtable discussing why Wall and Main Street may have different perspectives on inflation. The roundtable also covers our inflation outlook, ways to protect your investments and inflation-savvy investments you might want to consider.
2011-03-26 How Capture Ratios can Help you Prepare for the Next Downturn by Isbitts of Rob Isbitts
Alpha and Beta tell us a lot, but they also lead us to an even more useful measure of performance and manager acumen, which allows you and your client to better understand the range of possibilities they are bound to experience in different types of market environments. That is what we call “Capture Ratio,” and that special topic is what we’ll focus on here.
2011-03-22 Consensus: Groundhog Decade for Stocks by Ed Easterling (Article)
Just as Bill Murray woke up to the same thing day after day in the movie 'Groundhog Day,' it's likely that your outlook foretells a groundhog decade for the stock market that will repeat its near-breakeven returns from the past decade.
2011-03-09 Gold or Goldilocks? by Kevin Feldman of BlackRock Investment Management
After a roller coaster January, gold prices have been soaring to nominal highs again of late. Given the recent rise in price, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the case for having a small amount of gold in your portfolio. Investors flocked to gold in 2009 and 2010 because of worldwide concern over the stability of the financial system, and as a result the precious metal’s price skyrocketed, passing $1400 an ounce. Last month, Barron’s warned its readers that the gold rush is over. Suggesting investors were likely to search for assets with greater expected returns than gold.
2011-01-25 Ten Resolutions for Greater Prosperity in 'The Year of the Fiduciary' by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)
If you think selling and servicing 401(k) plans isn't easy today, ERISA is about to make it even harder. The good news is that firms that adjust to these challenges can use them to their competitive advantage Here are ten steps your firm can take to prepare for The Year of the Fiduciary.
2011-01-25 Demand Transparency in an Opaque Mutual Fund World by Andy Rachleff (Article)
Too many investors will end up in actively managed funds that fail in their mission to outperform a passive benchmark. And investors won't know until it's too late because they lack the information to evaluate which funds might consistently outperform the market.
2010-12-01 The Risk of Fixed Income Indexing vs. Active Multi-Sector Management by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management
Tepid economic growth coupled with weak equity markets over the past few years have driven U.S. investors to the perceived safe haven of fixed income. We believe that fixed income indices may be appropriate as benchmarks, but not as investment strategies.
2010-10-05 Challenges and Solutions for Income-Seeking Investors by Team of American Century Investments
The Fed's prediction that it will keep its short-term interest rate target at 0-0.25 percent for 'an extended period' continues to affect the near-term game plan for risk-averse investors and savers. A period of potentially heightened uncertainty and low absolute returns means that maximizing risk-adjusted returns is crucial to investment success over time. An optimized mix of fixed income holdings with a variety of different risk levels can add value to investor portfolios in this low-yield and low interest rate environment.
2010-09-28 A Better Alternative - Natural Resource Equities by RS Investments (Article)
Investors look to the commodity market to provide three primary benefits: portfolio diversification, inflation protection, and equity-like returns. However, empirical data shows that over the last decade, shifts in underlying fundamentals have undermined the role which commodities are expected to play in a diversified portfolio, particularly relative to natural resource equities. RS Investments reviews the return streams generated by both commodities and natural resource equities in the context of the benefits expected from each investment option. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2010-09-14 Identifying Opportunities in the Municipal Bond Market by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)
Ridgeworth Investments shares its perspective on the muni bond market in a recent white paper entitled "Identifying Opportunities in the Municipal Bond Market" which outlines the historical benefits of municipal bonds, the changing market dynamics in 2009 as well as RidgeWorth's outlook for municipal bonds in 2010 and potentially beyond. RidgeWorth concludes that despite a challenging market environment, munis still offer attractive investment opportunities. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2010-08-30 Views on Developing Markets by Team of First Eagle Funds
As the developed world stumbles from crisis to crisis, many developing countries seem poised to continue taking a greater share of the world's wealth. This trend, however, is not an automatic signal to invest. China, India and Brazil, the most sought-after developing markets, now demand double-digit multiples, and have higher inflation and monetary growth than developed markets. These factors suggest that the margin of safety is significantly smaller in developing markets than in developed markets.
2010-07-30 Core|Satellite Investing with First Eagle Funds by Team of First Eagle Funds
Many practitioners of core/satellite investing use the core of their clients’ portfolios to generate market-like returns with market-level risk exposure, or beta, and use satellite investments to produce excess returns, or alpha. Within this framework, passive investment vehicles — index funds and ETFs — have become standard core investments. First Eagle questions this approach, and believes an actively managed global portfolio should be the core.
2010-07-27 Active Managers Add More Value in Bull than Bear Markets by Jane Li, CFA, CAIA (Article)
In this guest contribution, Jane Li of FundQuest argues that both active and passive investing have their strengths and weaknesses; it depends on the market segment in question and on the economic climate. Active managers tend to add value in bull markets, but their value is shakier in bear markets.
2010-07-20 Beyond The Stars: Improving Active Fund Selection Based On Manager Skill by Michael Ervolini (Article)
After a brief review of known shortcomings of common fund evaluation methodologies, Mike Ervolini introduces a new approach based upon analytics that his firm has developed. Rather than relying on non-predictive metrics such as past performance, his approach looks at investment processes in relation to deeper skills that managers possess regarding buying, selling, and position-sizing.
2010-07-14 The Battle for Investment Survival and Our Five-Year Forecast by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs
The S&P 500 has gained 52 percent since the March 2009 lows. Although this seems extraordinary, the current recovery is still slightly less than average compared to historical bear markets. An average recovery would have the markets appreciate more than 25 percent from this level over the next two years. Meanwhile, the potential return on equities over the next five years is just slightly above the normal returns for U.S. stock markets. All of this, combined with low interest rates, suggests that it would seem logical to remain in common stocks.
2010-07-02 The Art of Outperformance by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
This month's letter is different. Our usual ramblings about the dire outlook for the global economy have been put aside for a while. Instead we focus on a couple of ideas for equity investors who have grown frustrated trying to beat the market - which is very difficult indeed. We do make some rather unflattering comments about active managers, but please note that these are specific to the equity space. In other, less efficient, asset classes, active managers often do much better than is the case in the equity world.
2010-06-10 April 2010 Commentary by Bill Middleton of Sound Portfolio Advisors
Perhaps the most encouraging signs in markets today are general pessimism and lowered expectations. Mass expectations tend to be dead wrong, and are therefore excellent contra-indicators. The first- and second-best performing asset classes of the past 10 years, gold and real estate, were so ill-regarded prior to 2000 they weren't even included in the data provided by the Wall Street Journal in January of that year. The best performing asset class for the 1995-1999 period, science and technology, was by far the worst performing for the following 10 years.
2010-06-08 Five Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)
The Federal Reserve can't accommodate forever, and the global stimulus effort will likely lead to inflation. Our growing indebtedness can only result in increased borrowing costs. That much we know. What we don't know is when and how quickly interest rates will rise. In this guest contribution, Kane Cotton and Jonathan Scheid examine five strategies for a rising rate environment.
2010-05-18 Actively Passive or Passively Active? by Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D. (Article)
The active-passive debate typically centers on the nature of the investment product - whether it is an actively managed fund or a passive index fund. This, however, is only one aspect of that debate, and to consider it alone represents too simplistic a view, says Craig Israelsen in this guest contribution. A broader issue, namely how a portfolio of actively or passively managed funds is managed over time, has a more profound impact on whether one is truly an active or passive investor.
2010-05-14 The Rise of the Machines by Mark Mirsberger of Dana Investment Advisors
The author comments on recent volatility due to automated trading programs, on unemployment data, and on the European sovereign debt crisis. "The solution appears obvious – cut spending and reign in entitlement programs," he says. "Will that happen? Well, there certainly is political upheaval around the globe today and most of it is aimed at governments and political leaders."
2010-05-11 Why Some Hedge Funds Made Money in 2008 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Steven Drobny is the co-founder of Drobny Global, an international macroeconomic research and advisory firm that counts many of the leading global hedge funds and money managers as clients. He is also author of a recently released book that identifies why some hedge funds made money in the 2008 crisis, while the majority did not. In this interview, he discusses the common themes among successful strategies.
2010-04-06 Follow-up to the Folly of Peer Group Analysis by Various (Article)
In response to a recent commentary by Research Affiliates, The Folly of Peer Group Analysis, a reader offers his own research on the performance of indices against peer groups, once impurities have been eliminated from those peer groups. John West and Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates provide additional analysis.
2010-03-19 The Folly of Peer Group Analysis by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates
The global financial crisis has led to a significant remake of the active manager opportunity set, but don’t let the ever-shifting sands of survivorship and backfill biased peer group returns fool you. Indexing is a smart bet. Importantly, if you want to be a “survivor,” remember the biases of peer groups because what may look like a smart active manager “alliance” could turn out to be a vote off the island of investment success…caveat emptor!
2010-02-23 Interest Rates, Inflation and the PIMCO Total Return Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The current generation of financial advisors has never experienced rising interest rates, but that will change, based on the forecasts we collected in our survey last week. We review our survey results and look at the implications for the largest bond portfolio, the PIMCO Total Return fund.
2010-02-02 Martijn Cremers on Active Management by Dan Richards (Article)
Martjin Cremers is an associate professor of finance at the Yale School of Management. He and his Yale colleague Antti Petajisto have conducted research that focuses on "active share" in mutual fund management. In this interview, Cremers discusses the implications of his research.
2009-12-22 The Danger of "Expert Advice" - Financial or Otherwise by Kim Snider (Article)
A study by three neuroscientists at Emory University finds that when given expert advice, the decision-making part of our brain shuts down. That's not a big deal if the advice we are receiving is good. But what if it isn't? In this guest contribution, Kim Snider explores the problems with relying too heavily on supposed experts, and how to counsel clients who fall into this trap.
2009-12-17 Good Things Come in Small Packages by Michael Nairne of Tacita Capital
2009-12-01 Hidden Cost of Active Management by Mark Kritzman (Article)
There is a hidden cost associated with most active funds, writes Mark Kritzman of Windham Capital Management in this guest contribution. The typical active fund is more than 90% correlated with the market. Yet their relatively high active management fee is applied not just to the fund's active component but to its market component as well.
2009-11-24 Buy Bonds and Not Bond Funds by Hildy and Stan Richelson (Article)
Record inflows into longer-term bond funds in the last six months have provided investors purported relief from the near-zero returns in money market funds. Do not mistake those inflows or rising prices for an endorsement of bond funds, write Stan and Hildy Richelson in this guest contribution. Bond funds are inferior to individual bonds, as those who are now buying bond funds may soon discover.
2009-11-17 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
We have two letters to the Editor - one responds to last week's interview with Bruce Greenwald and the other responds to two recent articles which argued that advisors should avoid active management.
2009-11-03 Alpha or Wealth? by Sam Bass (Article)
It is widely accepted that ETFs offer significant advantages over mutual funds, especially lower costs and taxes. But, as advisor Sam Bass argues in this guest contribution, the mutual fund industry may be all the more concerned that increasing numbers of investors are accepting the view that ETFs, and passive strategies in general, are better for wealth accumulation than active management - even if one assumes active strategies can generate positive alpha over extended periods of time.
2009-09-08 Infrastructure Investing by Michael D. Underhill (Article)
With global markets improving, liquidity returning to the credit markets, and valuations improving, the infrastructure market looks promising. In this guest contribution, Michael Underhill argues that infrastructure assets,when chosen correctly, can diversify an investor's portfolio because of their low correlation with other asset groups, their consistent returns coupled with lowered levels of risk, and their potential for inflation-linked returns.
2009-09-01 Actively Managed TIPS – A Correction by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Our August 18 article, Actively Managed TIPS?, contained a glaring factual error that we need to correct. In addition, a reader has challenged some of the assertions in that article, and we respond to those challenges.
2009-08-25 The New Normal and Asset Allocation Merriman’s Response by Larry Katz, CFA (Article)
Larry Katz, Director of Research at Merriman, Inc., responds to Geoff Considine's article two weeks ago, What the New Normal Means for Asset Allocation. He has multiple objections concerning much of Considine's logic, and would not recommend his alternative portfolio to their clients.
2009-08-25 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
In our letters to the Editor, a reader responds to Dougal Williams' article last week, A Crash Course in Investing: Six Lessons from the Market Meltdown, and other readers respond to our article on Actively Managed TIPS and to an Advisor Market Commentary on healthcare policy.
2009-08-18 Actively Managed TIPS? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When PIMCO talks, the market listens. But we mustn't forget that the bulk of PIMCO's revenue comes from actively managing bond portfolios so, when they claim that alpha can be earned by actively managing TIPS, a healthy dose of scrutiny is warranted. Our article shows why that scrutiny is justified.
2009-08-04 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
In our letters to the Editor, readers respond to last week's article, How Long is the Long Run?, Geoff Considine's article, The Retirement Portfolio Showdown: Jeremy Siegel v. Zvi Bodie , and Ted Wong's article, Moving Average: Holy Grail or Fairy Tale - Part 3.
2009-07-21 Q2 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we analyze changes in the Advisor Perspectives database - a $50+ billion universe of high- and ultra-high net worth assets managed by Registered Investment Advisors. Our analysis has three parts. We look at changes in asset allocation, the performance of the most popular mutual funds, and the mutual funds that showed significant gains or losses in popularity during the quarter.
2009-07-21 Letter to the Editor Compelling Evidence that Active Management Really Works by Various (Article)
In a letter to the Editor, a reader challenges some of the findings reported several weeks ago in an article, Compelling Evidence that Active Management Really Works.
2009-06-23 Compelling Evidence That Active Management Really Works by Ken Solow (Article)
The majority of academic studies conclude that active management does not add value for investors. However, a closer look at how many studies were conducted reveals several flaws in their methodology that are not as well-known as the accepted conclusion about active versus passive management. Guest contributor Ken Solow revisits work by two Yale researchers showing the value added through active management.
2009-06-09 Q1 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we review changes in the Advisor Perspectives (AP) Universe, which represents $50 billion in high-net worth assets managed by RIAs. Our analysis looks at changes in asset allocation, the mutual funds and ETFs that gained or lost market share, and the performance of the most popular actively managed mutual funds. This analysis focuses on performance across the most popular mutual funds.
2009-05-26 The Importance of Being Active by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)
New research from Tom Howard of Athenainvest shows buying and holding the typical active US equity fund is a recipe for underperformance. On the other hand, Howard shows that funds actively placing stock selection bets and enjoying recent return success earn increasingly superior returns and experience an improved likelihood of beating the market as the fund ages. Howard argues for the importance of being truly active as a fund manager.