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

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A Q3 Letter to Clients: A Nobel Laureate on Forecasting Markets

by Dan Richards

This is a letter that may be sent to clients, summarizing Q3 market performance. It may be customized for use by advisors.

Why the Finance Industry is Destroying America’s Economy

by Michael Edesess

According to a Harvard study, the percentage of GDP attributable to the financial industry tripled from 1950 to the 2000s. The percentage attributable to asset management alone increased by more than a factor of ten just since 1980. Has any of this increase improved the services rendered by the financial services industry to the real economy? If it hasn’t, why not? If the increase in activity has in fact been harmful rather than beneficial, what can be done about it?

Why Data Doesn’t Persuade Prospects or Clients

by Dan Solin

I had a remarkable experience last week. I used only statistical data to persuade a reader of my books. More often, however, there are far better ways to influence and gain the trust of a prospect or client.

Bob Zenouzi Discusses Delaware’s Dividend Income Fund

by Robert Huebscher

In this interview, Bob Zenouzi, manager of the Delaware Dividend Income Fund (DDIAX), discusses how he strives to provide investors with a yield that is competitive with fixed income, while achieving a premium yield to equities with better downside protection.

Money Printing Lessons from the French Revolution

by Michael Lebowitz

The events leading up the French Revolution are likely unfamiliar to most. Yet money printing and a debauched French currency played no small part in this history. The story is not a forecast for what may happen, but a powerful reminder of what has repeatedly happened in the past.

How to Create a Client-Experience Calendar

by Rob Pascual

The most successful financial advisory firms have one thing in common: They offer an extraordinary client experience. That is a direct result of relentless attention to detail and design. It happens on a consistent basis when your firm has systematized almost every aspect of its operation.

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.

Dealing with Bad Decisions in a Big Company

by Beverly Flaxington

I see the problems that arise when we take bad business. Most of the time, it is obvious from the outset that it will cause us trouble, but everyone is trying to meet the numbers. Why don’t the leaders of our company see the problems that these divisions cause?

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

Recent Commentaries

Not The Time To Be Bubble-Tolerant

by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the important investment distinctions brought out by the speculative episode of recent years is the difference between the behavior of an overvalued market when investors are risk-seeking, and the behavior of an overvalued market when investors shift to risk aversion. The time to be tolerant of bubbles is when the uniformity of market internals provides clear evidence of risk-seeking among investors.

China is Not Collapsing

by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

One question has dominated the IMF’s annual meeting this year in Peru: Will China’s economic downturn trigger a new financial crisis just as the world is putting the last one to bed? But the assumption underlying that question – that China is now the global economy’s weakest link – is highly suspect.

Smart Beta 2.0: A Disruptive Innovation

by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

At the beginning of every major disruptive innovation, fear, uncertainty and doubt reign supreme. Consumers are fearful of the unknown, uncertain of the benefits and doubt the durability of the innovation. But, in the end, fear, uncertainty and doubt give way to confidence, understanding and acceptance. The fund management industry is on the cusp of a major disruptive innovation.

Bank Loans: 3 Key Things You Should Know

by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

Many characteristics make bank loans stand out from their fixed income peers, but here are three key factors we believe everyone should know about bank loan investing.

Hedging or Cross Hedging? It Makes a Difference

by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

We recently wrote that currency hedging is critical for core bond investors. But not all hedging is created equal. Cross hedging is not the same strategy. Even though it can look deceptively similar, it will not deliver the same results to the investor’s “volatility” bottom line.

International Economic Week in Review: Now the IMF Lowers Growth Projections, Edition

by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This week, it was the IMFs turn to downgrade their global growth projections, which they did on October 6: The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) foresees lower global growth compared to last year, with modest pickup in advanced economies and a slowing in emerging markets, primarily reflecting weakness in some large emerging economies and oil-exporting countries.

Is the Biotech Pullback a Buying Opportunity?

by Aaron Reames of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Fundamentally, the outlook for biotech is as strong as ever. Drug price controls are unlikely to happen for the next decade despite the political rhetoric. Political pressure combined with crowded quant positions and fund liquidations have created buying opportunities in biotech.

Describing Liquid Alts Common Requirements under the Investment Company Act of 1940

by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Liquid alternative mutual funds have become a popular investment category, but they are not easily described by a single label. “Liquid alts” tend to exhibit risk, return, and regulatory characteristics unique to particular strategies.

Despite Recent Downturn, Healthcare is the Investment of the Decade

by Andrew Stotz of A. Stotz Investment Research

World equity markets are trading at a high 2015E* 15 times price-to-earnings (PE), led by highly priced United States (US) stocks at about 2015E* 17 times PE. However, uncertainty has risen after recent shocks in Asia, particularly in China.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: A Narrow Trading Range Ends in a Fractional Gain

Key Asia-Pacific indexes built on last week's extreme rally mode. The Nikkei started the week with a 1.64% pop and the Shanghai Composite vaulted to a 3.29% gain. European indexes didn't follow suit. The Euro STOXX 50 ended today's session with a 0.09% loss. Our benchmark S&P 500 spent the day in a narrow trading range, at the 4th percentile of the 196 market days so far in 2015. It ended with a fractional gain of 0.13%.

Another Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster

Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $18,100 for an annualized real return of 11.92%.

Why There Will be No 2016 Social Security COLA

After the BLS releases the inflation numbers for September on Thursday, the government will be able to release the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016. The adjustment will become effective with benefits payable for December but received by beneficiaries in January.

World Markets Weekend Update: Best Week of 2015

All eight indexes on our world watch list posted big gains over the past week. The average of the eight was a stunning 4.38%. Even the worst performer, the S&P 500, up a "mere" 3.26% set its 2015 record for a Friday-over-Friday percent change. The European indexes were the top performers, with Germany's DAX up an impressive 5.69%.

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.