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

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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.

How Introduction Abuse Ruins Presentations

by Dan Solin

It's time for me to confess to an uncomfortable reality: I am the victim of "introduction abuse." Too often, my presentations are undermined before I say the first word.

Helping Clients Rethink Retirement

by Dan Richards

Ask successful advisors where they add the most value and most answers will revolve around financial outcomes – developing the right financial plan, improving returns through diversification, lowering taxes and managing risk. But a recent conversation with a successful advisor showed that advisors need a broader definition of their purpose.

Evermore Global Advisors: Alpha through Corporate Catalysts

by Robert Huebscher

The Evermore Global Value Fund (EVGIX) has a five-year annualized return of 8.14%, versus 4.62% for its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World ex-US index (ACWI ex-US). I spoke with David Marcus, the founder of the firm, on August 12.

Last Week’s Highlights on APViewpoint

by Marianne Brunet

The top conversations on APViewpoint last week were started by Michael Edesess, Beverly Flaxington and Dan Solin, and included comments from Forbes and CNBC contributor Carolyn McClanahan. They generated thoughtful discussions on: the academic failure to understand rebalancing; the hidden cues that unlock better client communications; and how female advisors should dress to win clients.

Recruiter Spotlight

by Various

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

Finding and Expanding Your Niche Market

by Beverly Flaxington

We work with retirees, single women, business owners, multi-generational families and others. None of these groups could be characterized as a niche. Why do we need a niche?

The Academic Failure to Understand Rebalancing

by Michael Edesess

Perhaps the most universally accepted investing principle is to periodically rebalance one’s portfolio. Advisors have been drilled that rebalancing results in some combination of improved performance and reduced risk. Unfortunately, this precept is the byproduct of imperfect mathematics; the benefits of rebalancing are far smaller than what advisors have come to believe.

Focus on Your Prospect’s Gut to Improve Conversion Rates

by Dan Solin

When presenting to prospects, advisors routinely describe the history of their firm, provide impressive background information and go into detail about their investment philosophy. Unfortunately, this emphasis on factual information is misguided.

Recent Commentaries

Alternative Context

by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Barron’s had an article about alternative strategies over the weekend that attempted to sort out whether the traditional mutual fund wrapper might be better than the ETF wrapper for this segment.

The Importance of Structural Reform

by Pablo Echavarria of Thornburg Investment Management

India’s tax reform could create a nice tailwind for the country’s economy, companies and investors for years to come.

The Connected Consumer: 3 Key Themes

by Amit Kapoor of Loomis Sayles

Whether watching television, shopping or driving in the car, today’s consumers want to control exactly when, where and how they receive content, information, goods and services. These three themes capitalize on this long-term, secular trend.

Deceptive Calm: Investing Globally in Stable But Not Secure Markets

by Mihir Worah, Geraldine Sundstrom of PIMCO

As the year progresses, markets are displaying a strange dichotomy. Thirty percent of sovereign debt globally now offers negative yields, suggesting investors are increasingly focused on certainty and capital preservation even as several major central banks seek to stimulate growth and risk-taking.

Growth Estimates Have Been Tracking Higher YTD

by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Next twelve months (NTM) earnings and sales growth estimates in the developed world have been modestly improving throughout the year.

What the Market Is Telling Us About the Election

by Burt White of LPL Financial

Election years have historically been good for stocks, and this year has been no different, although with less volatility than we would expect during the summer of an election year.

Liquidity Trapped! The Fed’s Policy Nightmare

by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Yesterday, we got the release of the minutes from the FOMC meeting in July. Not surprisingly, we see a Fed just as confused as ever as to what monetary policy actions should be taken.

Premier Dividend Growth Stocks: Is There Any Value? A Sector By Sector Summary Review: Part 1

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

As a value investor, I must admit to being very frustrated with the valuations I’m seeing on high-quality blue-chip dividend growth stocks. I have been vigorously searching for fairly valued dividend growth stocks to invest in.

US Worker Productivity In Serious Decline -- The Reasons Why

by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Labor Department reported earlier this month that US worker productivity, which measures hourly worker output, declined for the third consecutive quarter at the end of June, the worst showing since the late 1970s.

Recent dshort Posts

Existing-Home Sales: Lost Momentum in July, YoY Now Negative

This morning's release of the July Existing-Home Sales decreased from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units from 5.57 million in June. The consensus was for 5.51 million. The latest number represents a 3.2% decrease from the previous month and a 1.6% decrease year-over-year.

FHFA House Price Index Up 1.2% in Q2

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released the U.S. House Price Index (HPI) for the most recent month. U.S. house prices rose slightly in June, up 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month. Year-over-year the index is up 5.6% (nonseasonally adjusted).

S&P 500 Snapshot: A Modest Gain on Weak Investor Participation

The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its 0.49% intraday high about 30 minutes into the session. It then slowly sold off to a narrow trading range after the lunch hour and then sold off to its 0.20% closing gain in the close vicinity of its intraday low. The mixed spurt of economic news at 10 AM, strong New Home Sales and weak Richmond Fed Manufacturing didn't seem to be much of a factor in today's trade. The general view among the pundits is that the market mavens (who aren't on vacation) are awaiting the Friday flavor of Fed Chair Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole.

Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data on volume sales is several weeks old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-June, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

July New Home Sales Soar to 12.4% Month-over-Month, Surprises Forecast

This morning's release of the July New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 654K, up 12.4% month-over-month from a revised 582K in June. Seasonally adjusted estimates for April and May were revised. The forecast was for 580K.

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Declines in August

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index dropped 21 points to -11 from last month's 10. had forecast 6. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at -3.5, indicates contraction.

Markit Manufacturing PMI: Further Improvement, But Softer Than July

The preliminary August US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 52.1, down from the 52.9 July final. Today's headline number came in below the consensus of 52.7. Markit's Manufacturing PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.