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

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Recent Articles

The Looming Risk in the Bond Market

by Robert Huebscher

Lack of bond-market liquidity has been the focus of recent reporting in the financial media. But one of the first to warn about that danger was Michael Aronstein, who said last week that the risks are clearer than ever. Mutual fund investors face the greatest peril.

Rethinking 'Safe Haven' Assets in a Multi-Asset Portfolio

by Sponsored Content from Invesco

• Correlations have risen between perceived ‘safe haven’ assets and equities • Volatility has been a positive performer in falling equity markets, and we see it as a diversification tool in multi-asset portfolios • We look for areas where we think the markets' implied relative risk is an opportunity

Does Wells Fargo Add Value for Investors?

by Larry Swedroe

Assets in actively managed mutual funds have been a consistent source of revenue growth for Wall Street banks. But would investors have been better off in passively managed funds? I’ll answer that question for Wells Fargo and then for the group consisting of the four largest banks.

How Google’s Innovation Formula Can Fuel Your Growth

by Dan Richards

In today’s results-driven world, many CEOs focus on hitting short-term profit targets. But not Eric Schmidt. In the book, How Google Works, he outlined the model that allowed the company to meet ambitious goals while simultaneously positioning itself for success down the road. Here’s what advisors can learn from his approach.

When Obfuscation Backfires

by Dan Solin

Many advisors face with troublesome questions from prospects. Sometimes these questions go into the technical aspects of investing. How you answer these questions can determine whether you are successful in converting a prospect into a client.

The Case for Gold to Protect Clients’ Wealth Shorting the Federal Reserve

by Michael Lebowitz

This article presents the case for an asset that will help managers protect their clients and uphold their fiduciary duty owed to them. I’ll explain why gold is a powerful hedge that will protect your clients’ wealth, but first I’ll look at the history of trade and currencies and how gold evolved to become a global store of wealth.

Evaluating Sustainable Competitive Advantages: Entry and Exit Barriers

by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant Trivedi, CFA

This article is the first in a series discussing an assessment process for existence or absence of sustainable competitive advantages. In this article, we discuss the basic building blocks of an investment process designed to identify high-quality businesses: the entry and exit barriers.

How to Define Your Service Model

by Brooke Mease

What I’ve discovered through developing client-service models for many advisory firms is that you need to start by determining who you enjoy serving and then build out your service model based on the needs of those specific clients.

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.

The Keys to Finding New Prospects

by Beverly Flaxington

Can I find prospects without cold calling or running an advertisement, both of which are time consuming and expensive?

Recent Commentaries

The Hidden Debt Burden of Emerging Markets

by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

As central bankers and finance ministers gather for the IMF’s annual meetings in Lima, the emerging world is rife with symptoms of increasing economic vulnerability. Some of those symptoms, like slowing growth, are obvious and quantifiable; others, however, are dangerous partly because they are difficult to discern.

Unemployment Claims Pointing To Further Economic Expansion

by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

We have been on the hunt for economic data that indicates that the US may be on the cusp of a recession. So far in our journey, outside of the manufacturing sector which accounts for only about 12% of the US economy, the data seems to indicate that there is further expansion ahead. While it is just one data point, initial unemployment claims seems to be one of the strongest indications that a recession is not imminent.

Investing versus Flipping

by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Newport Beach may be known as home to PIMCO (and, of course, Research Affiliates). Locally, however, the business of Newport Beach is real estate finance. Many of my local friends have made a bundle in recent years flipping houses in Orange County (the OC). I have also purchased some houses over recent years, but as an investment rather than as a flip. In this article, I explain the difference between investing and speculating by sharing my personal experience investing in residential real estate.

Facts and Fear

by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The economic headlines have been somewhat disappointing over the past few weeks. First, the Federal Reserve failed to raise interest rates in September, partly out of fear that global conditions were eroding. Congress seems headed for another senseless impasse over the debt ceiling. Emerging markets are feeling added pressure. And some think the U.S. job engine has shifted into a lower gear.

Hasenstab Sees Once-in-a-Multi-Decade Opportunities

by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

There are a handful of countries that are being caught up in the current market turmoil that we think are the diamonds in the rough—multi-decade opportunities, once-in-the-history of some of these countries—opportunities.

A Lens on Latin America

by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We think the manner in which Brazil’s government institutes reforms to utilize its resources most effectively will be key to its economic transformation. Within the next three to five years we could see tremendous changes—if the will is there.

Happily Ever After: Lifetime Income in DC Plans Shouldn’t Be a Fairy Tale

by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

One of the big risks in retirement saving and spending is a problem most people would like to have: a long life. But funding an extended “happily ever after” isn’t easy.

The ECB’s ABS Purchases – Catalyst or Dud?

by Felix Blomenkamp of PIMCO

Given the limited scope and focus of its ABS purchases, the ECB has not yet revived Europe’s lackluster ABS market.

Earnings Preview

by Burt White of LPL Financial

Third quarter earnings season will potentially look a lot like the second quarter. This quarter’s earnings preview could almost be a copy and paste of the second quarter preview: It looks like we will get meager earnings growth, if we get any at all. The media will again tout earnings recession, which we discussed on April 6, 2015. The big headwinds from energy sector weakness and a strong U.S. dollar remain. And the big overseas worries are again unlikely to have much impact on earnings overall, as business conditions in the U.S.?—?outside of the energy sector?—?are pretty good.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: Flat Friday, but Best Weekly Gain of 2015

Global markets had a good day today. The Nikkei rose 1.64%, the Shanghai Composite 1.28% and the Euro STOXX 50 was up a respectable 0.79%. In contrast, our benchmark S&P 500 bounced around in a relatively narrow range between its early session intraday high of 0.33% and its mid-afternoon -0.29% low. The index then trended slowly higher to post a tiny 0.07% gain for the day. However, its weekly gain of 3.26% was the biggest since the 3.41% weekly advance in mid-December of last year.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "The White Queen’s Rule"

ECRI's latest weekly data point shows an increase from the previous week, but more interesting is the company's latest publicly available commentary published earlier this week: "The White Queen’s Rule". Who is the White Queen? Readers with a literary bent may recognize the allusion to Lewis Carroll's sequel to Alice in Wonderland, namely Through the Looking-Glass. But the real answer, of course, is Fed Chair Janet Yellen. And, of course, there is an implicit pun on "rule" -- the one who rules and the rule that is imposed.

Treasury Snapshot: 10-Year Yield is Back to Its January 2nd Close

The yield on the 10-year note closed on January 2nd at 2.12%. It hit its year-to-date low of 1.68% a month later and its YTD closing high of 2.50% on June 10th. It closed yesterday back at that January 2nd 2.12%.

New Jobless Claims: Better Than Expected

Today's seasonally adjusted 263K new claims was better than the forecast of 274K. The four-week moving average is at 267,500, down from last week's 270,500, which is 1,500 above its interim low set eight weeks ago.

Household Incomes Across Time: The Divergence at the Top

Among the most interesting of the long-term economic indicators we track is the Census Bureau's annual data on the mean (average) household income received by each fifth (quintile) and top 5 percent. See our latest update here. A conspicuous pattern in the series is the widening of the spread in income growth that started during the 1980s.

What Would It Take for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Fully Recover?

The reaction in the popular financial press to last week's Employment Report for September followed the usual pattern of hyper-reaction to the monthly data points. The unemployment rate was unchanged, but the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) disappointed expectations. The popular consensus was that the low number of new jobs will dissuade the Fed from a rate hike this year.

Demographic Trends for the 50-and-Older Work Force

Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from last week's Employment Report.

This is not the scenario that would have been envisioned a generation ago for the "Golden Years" of retirement. Consider: Today nearly one in three of the 65-69 cohort and about one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.