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

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Recent Articles

Advisors Need a Fresh Look at Reverse Mortgages

by Wade D. Pfau

Through inertia and stubbornness, old ideas die slowly. Financial advisors maintain a dismal view about reverse mortgages. However, much has changed in just the past few years. Revisit your outdated thinking with an open mind about a tool that is on the cusp of more widespread use.

Getting Smart About Beta

by Sponsored Content from Invesco

Due to its simplicity, market-cap weighting has long been a popular means of calculating the value of market indexes. But as an investment strategy, market-cap weighting has limitations – frequently resulting in outsized proportions of overvalued stocks, and less-than-optimal exposure to undervalued stocks. Smart beta solutions seek to expand investors’ options by providing exposure to objective, rules-based methodologies that harvest returns from specific investment factors or deliver broad market exposure through alternative weighting strategies.

Is the Bond Index Broken?

by Michael Edesess

Several criticisms – I counted three – have been leveled at the AGG bond index recently. I explored these critiques in a wide-ranging conversation with John C. Bogle, renowned founder of The Vanguard Group. My conclusion is that two of these three criticisms are inconsequential or mistaken while the third is meaningful and significant.

How to Get the Attention of Wealthy Prospects

by Dan Richards

Given today’s competing demands for attention, it’s never been harder to get in front of affluent prospects. But here’s is one statistic that will get you in front of wealthy investors...

How to Build a COI Network

by Kristen Luke

How do you find good COIs with whom you can trade referrals? Follow these steps to create a powerful COI network:

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 Problem with a “Culture of Niceness”

by Beverly Flaxington

We all get along in our firm, and that’s the problem. Issues go unresolved because no one wants to rock the boat. People don’t raise their concerns because our firm leader is the consummate “nice guy.” How do I bring issues up without being the bad guy?

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.

Recent Commentaries

What Is the Credit Cycle Telling Us About 2016?

by Tony Wong of Invesco Blog

As investors anticipate the beginning of a new year, we at Invesco Fixed Income are anticipating a new phase in the credit cycle for several bond asset classes. In this post, I will highlight a few areas where we’re seeing substantial changes in asset classes’ fundamentals or operating environment. We believe these areas could influence the broader market in 2016.

Rarefied Air: Valuations and Subsequent Market Returns

by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The atmosphere is getting thin up here, and every ounce counts triple when you're climbing in rarefied air. While near-term market dynamics are more likely to be impacted by Friday’s employment report than any other factor, our broad view remains that stocks are in the late-stage top formation of the second most extreme episode of equity market overvaluation in U.S. history, second only to the 2000 peak, and already beyond the 1929, 1937, 1972, and 2007 episodes, not to mention lesser extremes across history.

Trade Signals: Rich Man, Poor Man

by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Overall, from a trading perspective, I am now with a neutral view on equities. Our CMG NDR Momentum Index (my favorite measure) which looks at momentum and market breadth remains in a sell signal. However, the weekly 13-week vs. 34-week moving average has just turned bullish on the market. The markets are generally stronger November through April. There is a strong seasonal tailwind.

Europe’s Barbarians Inside the Gate

by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

For Europe, solidarity begins at home. That means supporting aggregate demand and pro-growth reforms to ensure a more resilient recovery of jobs and incomes – and thereby beating back the populists and nationalists currently gaining ground throughout the continent.

Bond Rally Ahead?

by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Are bonds about to rally? Our money flow model, based on hedge fund positioning, suggests lower yields ahead. This seems awkward going into a well advertised Fed tightening. But why argue with the message of the market? "Sell the rumor, buy the news" might easily apply.

We'll Always Have Paris

by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

The past weeks are a stark reminder of the risks that we live with in the world today. Such times trigger multiple questions, and their answers may be more vital than how we invest. Nonetheless, how we plan and invest for our futures is of core importance.

Consumption in China: From Commodities to Karaoke

by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China isn’t only a consumer of raw commodities—its growing middle class has been exerting formidable purchasing power and spawning new domestic industries that are of keen interest to us as investors, including cosmetics, entertainment (cinemas, music) and more.

A Silver Lining in China’s Clouds

by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

China’s new Five-Year Plan reinforces the government’s pro-growth and reformist credentials. While this may not be enough in itself to reassure worried investors, we see some fundamental trends which provide encouragement for the country’s economic outlook in 2016.

US Equity And Economic Review: Moderate Growth and Declining Earnings, Edition

by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The BEA issued its second GDP report last week, increasing the 3Q GDP estimate to 2.1%. Real gross domestic purchases – a measure of strictly domestic demand – increased 2.8% Y/Y.

Recent dshort Posts

The Latest Look at Secular Bull and Bear Markets

Was the March 2009 low the end of a secular bear market and the beginning of a secular bull? At this point, six years later, the S&P 500 has set an inflation-adjusted record high.

Let's examine the past to broaden our understanding of the range of historical trends in market performance. An obvious feature of this inflation-adjusted series is the pattern of long-term alternations between up-and down-trends.

Moving Averages: November Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on December 31, 2015

The S&P 500 closed November with a monthly gain of 0.05%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the 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: November Closes with a Tiny 0.05% Gain

The final day of November was one of weak performance for the major US equity indexes, but the popular press found a positive spin, e.g., CNBC: "Stocks close lower, but post two straight months of gains." The S&P 500 hit its intraday high briefly after the open and sold off in a couple of waves to close at its -0.46% intraday low. As for the positive spin about two straight months of gain, it's a bit less impressive when you look at the numbers: The 8.30% surge in October was followed by a microscopic 0.05% squeaker in November.

NYSE Margin Debt Rose in October

Note: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through October. 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 4.0% month-over-month but 7.1% off its real (inflation-adjusted) record high set in April.

Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Regular and Premium Down Three and Two Cents

It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The price of Regular and Premium dropped three and two cents, resepctively. WTIC ended today at $41.65, down a dime from the previous week. According to, Hawaii has the highest average price for Regular at $2.81 and San Francisco,CA is averaging $2.79. Michigan has the cheapest at $1.78.

Regional Fed Manufacturing Overview: November

The Federal Reserve System consists of twelve Federal Reserve Banks, twenty five branches, and the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. Each bank serves a larger regional district. Five out of the twelve Federal Reserve Regional Districts currently publish monthly data on regional manufacturing: Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Here is an overview of all five with an overlay and average of historical data.

October Pending Home Sales Fractionally Higher

Earlier today the National Association of Realtors released the October data for their Pending Home Sales Index. According to the National Association of Realtors®, "Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in October, but shifted marginally higher after two straight months of declines. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by declines in the Midwest and South."