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

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Recent Articles

Does Lipper's Best Overall Fund Company Beat a Passive Strategy?

by Larry Swedroe

Lipper recently gave financial services firm TIAA-CREF the award for "Best Overall Large Fund Company", making 2015 the first time any fund family has won this honor for three consecutive years. Among its actively managed peers, TIAA-CREF's funds did exceptionally well. But does that mean your clients benefitted by owning its funds?

Five Words that Shape Client Behavior

by Dan Richards

Financial advisors know the difficulty of getting clients to do the right things. Clients often fail to diversify portfolios, rebalance out-of-whack allocations or discuss inheritance plans with adult children. These behaviors undermine long-term outcomes. But five words can put the right default behavior in place.

Seven Interview Questions to Hire a Sales Superstar

by Eliot Burdett

Here are the seven most common personality traits found in top sales performers and tips to determine if the candidate across the table truly possesses them.

Reasonable Expectations, Warren Buffett and Active Management

by Michael Crook

According to the ongoing SPIVA analyses, most equity mutual fund managers have failed to keep up with their respective benchmarks recently. In fact, roughly 60% of domestic managers and 65-70% of international managers underperformed in 2014 - a phenomenon that most investors observed in their own portfolios. But that is not a reason to abandon active management, assuming you own active managers for the right reasons.

Speed Date Your Way to More Clients

by Daniel Solin

New research on speed dating has uncovered how to determine a woman's interest. Strangely enough, those findings also provide insight into why certain sales tactics with prospects are likely to fail.

Q1 2015 Venerated Voices™

by Jill Mislinski

We announced our Venerated Voices awards for articles published in Q1 of 2015. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices by Commentary.

Getting Centers of Influence to Refer

by Beverly Flaxington

We have a number of strategic alliances with estate attorneys and CPAs to whom we often refer business. We provide a steady flow to these connections, but they do not refer in kind. Is there a formula that works best to stimulate referrals?

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.

Recent Commentaries

SPY's Trading Range is as Tight as December Before a 5% Drop

by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The trading range for SPY is tighter now than at any time since December before a 5% drop. SPY's trading range is likely to expand and, on balance, it seems more likely that the expansion will be to the downside rather than the upside. That has been the most common outcome in the past and there are a number of supporting reasons to suggest that it will be the case this time as well.

US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of April 27-May 1: Weak GDP Edition

by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The market has been trading at fairly expensive levels since the first of the year. With a current PE of nearly 21, it clearly needs economic and earnings growth to move higher. Unfortunately, last week’s news and the general earnings backdrop are not cooperating. First quarter GDP was reported at a meager .2% while Y/Y revenue growth contracted 4.1%. This led to small caps (both the IWM and IWC) breaking uptrends while the larger averages continued to languish. We’re again left with a picture of markets starved for bullish news and not receiving any.

Show Me the Stocks, Not the Cash, Say Optimistic CEOs

by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In early March, I made the case that there’s no greater vote of confidence in a company’s growth prospects than when its top officers put some skin in the game and buy their own company stock. Among the examples I used were Warren Buffett, who owns millions of shares in Berkshire Hathaway; Elon Musk, who purchased over $100 million worth of Tesla stock in 2013; and myself, the largest shareholder of U.S. Global Investors. Another example of how bullish an executive is on his own company is when he chooses to forego a base salary entirely and instead be compensated in company stock.

Dollar Dictated Returns In April - Except This Time The Lowest Correlated Outperformed

by Team of GaveKal Capital

With April in the rearview mirror, it's a good time to look back on which factors had the strongest relationship to market over the past month. USD correlation had the tightest relationship to the market.

Would More Government Debt Help the U.S. Economy?

by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why he’s skeptical that massive, debt-fueled government stimulus is what’s needed to accelerate the U.S. recovery.

Pondering Halftime Adjustments

by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

At the beginning of the year, we wrote about an aging bull market that we thought could be ridden, but with the caveat that one wouldn’t want to take too much risk given the magnitude of the move, current valuation levels in the U.S., and an overall evidence profile that was clearly mixed with pockets of both strength and weakness. When weighing the evidence, our dashboards offered no reason to reach for additional risk this late in the cycle, but instead we tried to focus on some big picture themes that could help us find attractive opportunities to position for.

Asia Weekly China's Coming IPO Reform

by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

As China continues shifting toward a more market-based economy, what government powers are really being relinquished? Asia Weekly takes a look at changes in the IPO process.

Hope Is Not A Strategy, Before Investing Have A Precise Calculation Of Return In Mind

by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Many people make the mistake of investing in a stock simply with the hope or belief that it will or might go up in value. However, there is a very popular mantra that states “Hope is not a strategy.”

Recent dshort Posts

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs

This update is a response to a standing request from a couple of sources that we also share with regular visitors to my Advisor Perspectives pages. The request is for real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq Composite. Here two overlays — one with the nominal price, excluding dividends, and the other with the price adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (which is usually just refer to as the CPI).

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, over five-and-a-half 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.

World Markets Weekend Update: The Worst Week of 2015

Six of the eight indexes on our world watch list traded lower this week, with China's Shanghai Composite as the top performer for the third consecutive week, gaining 1.89% in holiday shortened week. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was the other index to post a gain, albeit a modest 0.26%. The S&P 500 was the best performing loser, down only 0.44%. The losses for the other five index ranged from -1.20% for the FTSE 100 to -4.18% for France's CAC 40. The -1.34% weekly average of the eight is the worst collective performance of 2015.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Up for the Day, Down for the Week

The S&P 500 rallied at the open, traded sideways for three hours and then drifted higher to its 1.09% close, which was just fractionally off its 1.10% intraday high. Today's advance more than erasing yesterday's -1.01% decline. For the week, the index is down 0.44%.