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

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Are the Returns of Jeremy Siegel’s “Superstar” Funds Likely to Persist?

by Larry Swedroe

If historical returns provide useful insights when it comes to identifying skillful active managers, then surely those funds with the longest track records of success are most likely to be the “winners” of the future. I tested this hypothesis using data from Jeremy Siegel’s Stocks for the Long Run.

How to Tell if your Value Proposition Misses the Mark

by Dan Solin

The rise of low-fee robo-advisors, a shift towards index-based investing and the reduced opportunity to add alpha are all contributing to the urgent need to answer this question: How do you justify your fee?

Are Some Advisors Selectively Applying the Fiduciary Standard?

by Michael J. Nathanson, Gina K. Bradley and Jennifer A. Geoghegan

The heatedness of the rhetoric surrounding the fiduciary standard has reached a new high, focusing on whether investment advisors should offer certain investment products and how they should be compensated. We contend that firms must also consider whether their succession plans and service offerings meet the fiduciary standard.

A 40-Year Veteran on Today’s Unique Bond Market Challenges

by Robert Huebscher

Roger Early is a 40-year veteran of the bond market and executive director and head of fixed income investments at Delaware Management. He is executive vice president and co-chief investment officer of Delaware’s total-return fixed income strategy. I spoke with him last week about the dynamics of the fixed-income market.

Last Week’s Highlights on APViewpoint

by Marianne Brunet

The top conversations on APViewpoint last week were started by Larry Swedroe and Michael Edesess. They generated thoughtful discussion with wide ranging opinion on the virtues of bond laddering, and the academic failure to understand rebalancing.

Five Reasons Why Reaching for Yield is Risky

by Loic LeMener

Investing only for income is fraught with peril, and there are five reasons why investors shouldn’t select investments based on asset yield. Investing for value is the smarter approach, but the hard part is having the patience and discipline to wait for better values. For a healthy portfolio, investors should take a total-return mindset.

Recruiter Spotlight

by Various

Visit our recruiter spotlight to hear from our monthly sponsors about opportunities available for advisors in the industry.

Dealing with a Pushy Team Member

by Beverly Flaxington

I have a nice office with polite people except for one staff member, who is a big producer and a nasty person. Some people no longer want to go to meetings if he is there. Is it possible to tell him how offensive he is without sending him off to another firm?

The Virtues of Bond Laddering

by Larry Swedroe

Bond ladders are frequently criticized in the financial media and even among some professional advisors (who are often able to use only bond mutual funds or ETFs). But there are many advantages of owning them.

A Seven-Step Plan to Transform Your Practice

by Bob Veres

Advisory firms face a daunting challenge as they prepare themselves for the latest version of the future. They will have to retool their service offering for a new generation of clients (aka Millennials), who have very different preferences, different advice needs and far more digital sophistication than your Baby Boomer clients ever had.

Recent Commentaries

Global Growth – Still Made in China

by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Despite all the hand-wringing over China’s over-hyped slowdown, the Chinese economy remains the single largest contributor to world GDP growth. Indeed, a weak and still vulnerable global economy needs a successful China more than ever.

An Opportunity for Egypt and the IMF

by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Egypt’s leaders and the International Monetary Fund have struck a tentative deal for a $12 billion, three-year loan. If approved by the IMF Board next month, the new program will be an important opportunity to improve relations between the two sides – an outcome that would benefit both Egypt’s citizens and the Fund’s credibility.

The Shot Heard Around The World

by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

One of the most famous baseball seasons in history ended in 1951 with a one-game playoff to see which National League team would play in the Major League World Series. The New York Giants (the forefather of my beloved San Francisco Giants) faced their cross-town rival Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds for the National League pennant.

Once Again, It's Too Quiet out There

by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ discusses what's behind the unusually low volatility in the markets, and what could bring an end to the days of calm.

Average Household Debt: $132,000 - Not Counting Mortgage

by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

A new study out last week reported that the average US household has over $132,000 in outstanding debt – not counting their home mortgage. If we add the home mortgage, the average debt level soars to over $263,000.

Zebras?!

by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

"The zebra can lie down with the lions, but had better keep one eye open." . . . Anonymous

It Looks Like a Hike…

by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Jackson Hole 2016 has come and gone and Fedd members seem determined to raise rates at least once before year end. Based on the comments and conversations, the markets quickly adjusted to factoring in one hike in the September to December time frame.

What’s Putin up to?

by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past few months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been unusually active on multiple fronts. He has expanded military operations in the Middle East in support of Syrian President Assad, boosted troop strength on the Ukrainian border and conducted a major purge and restructuring of the Russian government.

Creating a Nightmare on Wall Street?

by Colin McWey of Heartland Advisors

Investor’s willingness to pay up for peace of mind may prove costly if rates rise or the economy continues to grow.

Recent dshort Posts

Moving Averages: August Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on September 30, 2016

The S&P 500 closed August with a monthly loss of 0.12% after a gain of 3.56% last month, its first monthly loss since February. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and all five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "invested". In the table, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

S&P 500 Snapshot: First Monthly Decline Since February

The S&P 500 opened lower and steadily sold off to its -0.68% intraday low during the lunch hour. The trend then reversed, and the index erased most of the loss to finish the session with a modest 0.24% decline. This was seventh loss in nine sessions and the eighth loss in the twelve sessions since the record close on August 15th.

NYSE Margin Debt and the Market

Note: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through July. We've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.

The NYSE margin debt data is a few weeks old when it is published. The latest debt level is up 6.1% month-over-month, the largest MoM increase in 15 months; however, the current level is 6.4% below its record high set in April of last year.

A Closer Look at This Morning's ADP Employment Report

In this morning's ADP employment report we got the August estimate of 177K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, a decline from July's 194K, which was a substantial upward revision from 19K. June was revised downward by 4K.The popular spin on this indicator is as a preview to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the ADP report includes a wealth of information that's worth exploring in more detail.

Pending Home Sales: Second Highest Reading in Over a Decade

Today the National Association of Realtors released the July data for their Pending Home Sales Index. According to the National Association of Realtors®, "Pending home sales expanded in most of the country in July and reached their second highest reading in over a decade. Only the Midwest saw a dip in contract activity last month."

Chicago PMI Down Again in August

The latest Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, or the Chicago Business Barometer, was down again in August to a value of 51.5 from last month's 55.8. Values lower than 50.0 indicate contracting manufacturing activity.

Anticipating the August Employment Data: 177K New Nonfarm Private Jobs

The economic mover and shaker this week is Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This monthly report contains a wealth of data for economists, the most publicized being the month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Employment (the PAYEMS series in the FRED repository). Today we have the August estimate of 177K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, a decline from July's 194K, which was a substantial upward revision from 19K. June was revised downward by 4K.