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

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Recent Articles

The Investment Portfolio of the Future

by Bob Veres

I envision a world where advisors are vetting a growing number of nontraditional investments for their clients.

Why Advisors Should Use Deferred-Income Annuities

by Michael Finke

I will show that an eminently effective way to fund retirement is through a deferred-income annuity, particularly if it is purchased through an IRA as a qualified longevity annuity contract (QLAC). The advantages of purchasing a QLAC include the ability to avoid RMDs.

How Male Advisors Should Dress to Win Clients

by Dan Solin

I have found the single most significant factor in increasing my clients’ closing ratio has been their willingness to substantially upgrade their wardrobe. In this article, I will discuss my experience with men. Next week, I will discuss dress for women.

Reflections on Four Decades of Economic Forecasting

by Harald B. Malmgren

Timeworn economic forecasting methodologies on which we rely -- whether prepared by governments, central banks or private economists -- are gradually becoming less relevant and reliable.

The Surprise Inside the Surprise Index

by Michael Lebowitz

Appreciation for the multitude of messages provided by Citigroup’s Citi Surprise Index allows investors to stay a step ahead of the economic models that Wall Street, and -- by default -- most investors, rely heavily on to forecast market levels and securities prices.

How to Develop a Growth Game Plan

by Kristen Luke

Growth. When you’re a financial planning or wealth management firm, how do you do it right? From implementing a precise, uniform sales process to creating an annual marketing strategy, you need something – a game plan – that shows how you should grow and when you’ve actually succeeded.

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.

Action-Oriented Teambuilding

by Beverly Flaxington

We want to do a teambuilding activity for our advisory firm. We get along reasonably well, but we are always passing one another in the hallways on our way to our next meeting or phone call. I run the firm, and I’d really like to get everyone engaged in an activity that would be fun but also meaningful. Do you have any ideas?

Gundlach – The Scariest Indicator in the World

by Robert Huebscher

Those Federal Reserve governors who intend to vote for an increase in rates at their December meeting need to take a close look at some of the charts Jeffrey Gundlach presented on Tuesday. One chart – which Gundlach called his “scariest” – carried a particularly ominous signal for the global economy.

A New Challenge to Factor-Based Investing

by Robert Huebscher

Disciples of factor-based investing need to respond to a new challenge. According to Mark Kritzman, investors will be better served by a strategy based solely on allocating to asset classes.

Recent Commentaries

Technically Speaking: The Real Value Of Cash

by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

With the "inmates running the asylum" during a holiday-shortened trading week, the upward bias to the market is set to continue.

Surveying The Commodity Carnage

by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Commodities and commodity stocks have been a disaster in recent years, but fortunately one that our Group Selection (GS) Scores managed to avoid. Underperformance in both the Energy and Materials sectors during the last 12 months in particular (Chart 1) is so severe that any contrarian with a pulse probably can’t help but take a peek. We’ll admit the wreckage is beginning to look interesting, and—what with our cautious stance on the stock market—it would be fun to be bullish about something. But both our GS Scores and our intuition suggest it’s still too early.

Innovation and Scotch Tape

by Tony Scherrer, CFA of Smead Capital Management

In business and economics, a “first-mover advantage” is defined as the benefit accrued to a company whose product is the first to enter a market. These products often create or define an entirely new market opportunity that the world hadn’t known before. Some “first-mover” examples have created very attractive long-duration opportunities. EBAY (EBAY), a company we own in our portfolios, was the first online auction service. It has maintained leadership in that area for the last two decades.

China’s Macro Disconnect

by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

China has been highly successful in transforming the industrial structure of its economy from manufacturing to services, but it has made far less progress in boosting private consumption. The country now has no choice but to address the causes of households' high precautionary saving and low discretionary spending.

To Be Continued … the Fed Drama and Its Implications

by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

The Fed has strung investors along for quite a while in anticipation of the first rate increase in nearly a decade. What would happen if low rates were to become a permanent fixture of the investment landscape?

Chasing Performance with ETFs

by Chris Brightman, Feifei Li, Xi Liu of Research Affiliates

ETF providers respond to investors’ preference for strong recent performance by launching new funds with hot strategies. Our research reveals a striking pattern of post-launch performance.

The World Is Looking More & More Deflationary

by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Consumer prices are running well below the 2% inflation target of central banks across the developed world. While central bankers continue to say they expect inflation to return to 2% or thereabouts in the medium-term, there is no evidence of that.

Happy Holidays for Risk Assets

by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Risk assets—particularly high-yield bonds and bank loans—are well positioned to enjoy a prosperous road ahead.

Mario Draghi: Economic Man of the Year

by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

With December just around the corner, awards for full-year achievement are beginning to come out. Sport, politics and the arts are recognizing those who reached the highest heights in 2015.

Recent dshort Posts

Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy

The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for October shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2% long-term target at 1.28%, a slight decline from the previous month's 1.33%. The latest Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through October, is higher at 1.91%. The Fed is on record as using Core PCE data for its primary inflation gauge.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Down -0.01% to Close the 2nd Lowest Trading Range of 2015

US equity markets went on Thanksgiving break a day early. The S&P 500 hovered in its second narrowest trading ranged of 2015 between its -0.14% intraday low minutes after the open to its 0.18% lunch hour high. It closed with a -0.01% loss for the day.

The "Real" Goods on the October Durable Goods Data

Earlier today the Census Bureau posted the Advance Report on October Durable Goods New Orders. This series dates from 1992 and is not adjusted for either population growth or inflation. Let's now review Durable Goods data with two adjustments. In the charts below the gray line shows the goods orders divided by the Census Bureau's monthly population data, giving us durable goods orders per capita. The blue line goes a step further and adjusts for inflation based on the Producer Price Index for All Commodities, chained in today's dollar value.

October Disposable Income Per Capita Rose 0.35%, 0.29% When Adjusted for Inflation

With the release of today's report on October Personal Incomes and Outlays we can now take a closer look at "Real" Disposable Personal Income Per Capita.

In today's low inflation environment, the October nominal 0.35% month-over-month increase in disposable income rises to 0.29% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 3.36% nominal and 3.14% real.

The PCE Price Index for October Shows Little Change

The Personal Income and Outlays report for October was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.22%, up from the previous month's 0.17%. The latest YoY Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) came in at 1.28% little changed from the previous month's 1.33%.

Home Prices Rose 4.9% Year-over-Year in September; Rising More Than Double Inflation

With yesterday's release of the September S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were down fractionally month over month at -0.1%. However, the seasonally adjusted year-over-year change has hovered between 1.9% and 2.3% for nine months.

New Home Sales Slightly Below Expectations, but Up 10.7% MoM

This morning's release of the October New Home Sales from the Census Bureau at 495K disappointed general expectations, and the previous month was downward by 21K. The MoM increase was 10.7%. The forecast was for 500K.