ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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Recent Articles

Can American Funds Sustain Its Outperformance?

by Larry Swedroe

Among actively managed funds, American Funds has a reputation for providing investor-friendly, low-cost products with sustained records of outperformance. But has it outperformed comparable funds from Vanguard and Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA)? If so, should investors expect its funds to maintain their edge?

Evaluating Investments versus Insurance in Retirement

by Wade Pfau

In the past, I’ve described two fundamentally different philosophies for retirement-income planning: probability-based and safety-first. Those philosophies diverge on the critical issue of where an individual must place their trust: in the risk/reward tradeoffs of an equity portfolio, or on the contractual guarantee of insurance products. Here’s how to overcome that challenge and integrate the two approaches in a retirement plan.

Three Responses When a Prospect Already has an Advisor

by Dan Richards

Advisors often run into prospects who already have an advisor in place. Here are three hot buttons to engage those who already have an advisor.

The Epiphany that Changed Everything

by Daniel Solin

Every time I coach a group of advisors, I invariably learn something new in the process. Here is how my time working with practitioners led to an epiphany that changed the focus of my coaching – and drove better results for my clients.

Dealing with a Difficult Partner

by Beverly Flaxington

Our advisory business is going very well. The better it goes, the less involved my business partner becomes. She will come in late, leave early and generally be disruptive when she is here. God forbid I say anything and she bursts into tears. What can I do?

Stop Ignoring Millennials: They’re The Future of Your Company

by Lauren Hong

Millennials are bucking trends day-in and day-out. As of 2013, they’re officially the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. As a financial advisor, you cannot ignore them. Here’s how to include millennials in your marketing plan.

Career Center

by Various

Find career opportunities for firms that seek to add financial advisors and planners to their staff. Read more to find out how to post opportunities at your firm.

A Case Study for Using Life Settlements

by Stephen Terrell

I recently sat down with one financial advisor who truly believes that life settlements serve a great purpose for the right client in the right situation. And his case study is emblematic of how these transactions, which enable a senior to sell a life insurance policy for immediate cash, can be an appropriate option for the right client.

Sallie Krawcheck’s Solution to the Retirement Crisis

by Justin Kermond

Sallie Krawcheck is a woman with a cause. She has a solution to the retirement crisis and a strategy for advisors to grow their female client bases.

Grantham: Stocks Will Continue Upward until the Election

by Justin Kermond

Jeremy Grantham says equity valuations are heading toward the “two-sigma” level that is the requisite threshold for a true bubble. At some point – which is not imminent – he says a “trigger” will precipitate the reversion back to mean levels. The market will continue to deliver positive returns until the next election, according to Grantham.

Recent Commentaries

A Mid-Year Assessment of Our Ten Predictions

by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

We have described 2015 as the year when investors transition from disbelief to belief, or from skepticism to optimism. Sir John Templeton coined the phrase, “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” We believe we are entering the “optimism” phase.

The Joy Of Portfolio Boredom

by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week I stumbled across an article that favorably critiqued an alternative-strategy ETF for being boring which is its objective. “Boring” is not the stated objective in the prospectus but terms like market neutral, absolute return, low correlation to equities and some others really are about boredom. You can judge for yourself whether a given fund that is supposed to be boring is indeed boring as not every fund will deliver on its stated objective.

It Never Rains in California

by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

Ted Cruz recently suggested praying for rain in Texas, and apparently someone did a few weeks ago, producing a deluge resembling a modern day Noah’s Ark of sorts. California’s Governor Brown on the other hand, has taken a more secular approach. He believes that Mammon, not God, bears responsibility for the Golden State’s record drought and that I, we, all of us simple folk should cut back water usage by a minimum of 25%.

Independence Day?: “Greferendum” on July 5 Rocks Markets

by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

“Greferendum”… the new “it” word of the day. In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on July 4; but investors today are more interested in whether the following day will mark an independence day for Greece. As last week came to a close, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walked away from talks with his country’s creditors and announced a referendum scheduled for July 5.

An Important Week for Economic Data

by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed officials have signaled that monetary policy decisions will be data-dependent. Hence, financial market participants will closely examine upcoming economic reports. Data are expected to remain consistent with an improving economy and an initial increase in short-term interest rates by the end of the year.

Greece Isn’t the Only Problem U.S. Stocks Face

by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Several factors are dampening investor sentiment, including Greece and an emerging bear market in China. However, for U.S. markets, a longer-term problem may be one closer to home. Russ explains.

Greek Moves Test ECB Resolve on Europe

by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Greece’s five-year debt crisis is escalating fast. A default on the IMF now looks almost certain and the country is taking a big step toward a possible exit from the euro area. What really matters now, though, is the impact on other countries—and how the ECB will respond.

In the Know: Fed Policy and Fixed Income

by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

As fixed income investors, we have to build more tools and use different types of tools when managing our portfolios, allowing ourselves to remain more liquid in some of our short-term investments in order to keep what we believe to be a prudent level of risk given the changes in liquidity in the marketplace.

S&P 500 Suffers First 2% Down Day Since End of 2014

by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Today was no doubt a risk off day for the markets. There was persistent selling pressure in stocks worldwide with the S&P 500 down 2.09%, but international indexes down quite a bit more. Given that today was the first 2% down day since December 18th, 2014 and October 10th, 2014 before that, we thought we’d highlight the utter lack of volatility in these markets since the end of 2011.

Recent dshort Posts

Home Price Rise at a Slightly Slower Pace

With this morning's release of the April S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months but at a slightly lower pace. The adjacent column chart illustrates the month-over-month change in the seasonally adjusted 20-city index, which tends to be the most closely watched of the Case-Shiller series. It was up 0.3% over the previous month, down from 1.0% and 1.1% the two previous months.

Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Down a Penny

It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The price of Regular and Premium each went down by two cents from last week. According to, California has the highest average price for Regular at $3.44, and its averaging $3.56 in Los Angeles. South Carolina has the cheapest at $2.43.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Biggest One-Day Selloff Since February 2014

The world markets have finally registered a wake-up call with the latest move in the Greece financial crisis. The S&P 500 plunged in the opening minutes and then sold off at a steady pace to its -2.09% close, just fractionally off its -2.14% intraday low in the closing minutes. This is the biggest one-day selloff since the -2.28% nosedive on February 3rd of last year. The index is now in the red year-to-date.

Moving Averages: Month-End Preview

Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages we track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, all three S&P 500 strategies are signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. Three of the five Ivy Portfolio ETFs - iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF),Vanguary REIT Index ETF (VNQ), and PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC) - are signaling "cash", compared with last month's single DBC cash signal.

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook Rose but Remains in Negative Territory

This morning we got the most recent Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook. The latest index came in at -7.0, the highest reading since January. The forecast was for a reading of -11.5.

World Markets Weekend Update: The Shanghai Selloff Continues

The top performers in our world market focus group over the past week were the two Eurozone indexes. France's CAC 40 rose an impressive 5.06%, and Germany's DAXK was up 4.10%, both bouncing back a bit from the European selling associated with the ongoing and rather tedious Grexit drama. But the bigger international story is the mounting evidence of the Shanghai Bubble. The benchmark Shanghai Composite dropped another 6.37%, following up on its 13.32% plunge the previous week.

Treasury Snapshot: 30-year Yield at its 2015 high

US Equity indexes have had a relatively dull week with little volatility. Treasury yields have provided market watcher a bit more drama. The yield on the benchmark 10 year note closed last week at 2.26%. This week's close was 23 bps higher at 2.49%, which is a single bp below the 2015 closing high on June 10th. The 30-year bond yield closed the week at its 2015 high of 3.25%.