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

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Recent Articles

Are Managed-Payout Funds Better than Annuities?

by Joe Tomlinson

Managed-payout funds promise to meet retirees’ need for sustainable lifetime income without relying on annuities. To see whether this promise can be fulfilled, I’ll answer three questions: What’s the best design for such funds? How do they compare to annuities? Can retirees do even better by combining managed-payout funds and annuities?

Should You Dress Down for Client Meetings?

by Dan Richards

In a previous article, Dan Solin pointed to research on how performance improves if people dress in a more professional fashion. But my recent conversations with advisors and clients suggest that while dressing up can have a positive impact, you can overdo it. In fact, in some cases it makes more sense to dress down.

Late-Cycle Warnings from the M&A Market

by David Schawel

Are we nearing the end of the equity bull market? An ominous signal is coming from recent activity in the M&A market.

Why Most Quantitative Investing and Trading Systems Fail

by Baijnath Ramraika, Prashant Trivedi

Most, if not all, quantitative systems are designed by selecting factors that were present in successful investments/trades over a selected back-test period. That process, however, too often results in strategies that fail to produce results that are as successful as in the historical data. Here’s why.

The Positive Use of Negativity Bias

by Daniel Solin

In an article last week, I discussed how an understanding of three behavioral biases (in-group, confirmation and illusion-of-control bias) can help you gather more assets. Today, I will tackle another prevalent bias – negativity bias – and provide suggestions for how to use knowledge of its effects to your advantage.

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.

Why High Performing Individuals Fall Apart in a Team

by Beverly Flaxington

I have hired the best individual contributors anyone could find. Individually, they are strong performers, but they trip over one another whenever they have to agree on ways to meet client needs. Are there incentives or punishments I can dole out to change this dynamic?

Do The Gabelli Funds Add Value for Investors?

by Larry Swedroe

Mario Gabelli is one of the highest paid executives in America, having earned $88.5 million in 2014 – more than the leaders of all other publicly traded asset-management firms. But have the investors in his mutual funds been as richly compensated when compared to what they would have earned in comparable, passively managed funds?

New Research to Make Meetings More Productive

by Dan Richards

All advisors want their meetings to be productive – resulting in deeper relationships and buy-in to your recommendations from clients, open conversations with prospects about their needs and honest discussions about how you can help. An email from an advisor last week pointed to research from commercial pilots and surgeons that can make your meetings a better use of your time.

The Opportunity in Municipal Closed-End Funds The Value in the 9th Inning of the Great Bond Rally

by Michael Lebowitz

For the last five years, bond market experts have unfailingly and wrongly predicted a rise in interest rates. If the current rate-hike fears prove unfounded again, municipal-backed closed-end funds (M-CEFs) is an asset subclass likely to perform well. Here are eight such funds to consider.

Recent Commentaries

Minimum Wage Hikes: Fast Food for Thought

by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

The minimum wage is rising across the US, and fast-food companies are feeling the pinch. In our view, watching how companies cope reinforces the importance of a selective approach to stockpicking.

A Midyear Look at Global Real Estate

by Ivy Global Real Estate Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

There are many drivers of recent short-term price changes for publicly traded real estate companies in the current market environment. These include changes in the market’s outlook for economic growth, for interest rate movements, for central bank actions and even the issues surrounding Greece and Ukraine.

Money Market Reform: Reflections on This Critical Inflection Point for Cash Liquidity Investing

by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

On July 23 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) formally approved additional reforms for money market funds. These changes will directly impact institutional investors and definitively alter the dynamics of liquidity markets.

How Hemlines Affect The Market

by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

George Taylor's "Hemline Index Theory" has persisted since 1926, but is it true? If you search long enough, or mine enough data, you are bound to find correlations that, while statistically robust, have no meaningful explanatory power.

Solomon's Long Duration Investment Wisdom

by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Storm clouds seem to build by the day. Many investors have an ongoing love affair with a few large-cap and more futuristic companies, yet they have corrected the prices of any stock with disappointing earnings or an attachment to the production of commodities.

In Defense of Varoufakis

by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Greeks and other Europeans may fault Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister, for pursuing his agenda with too little politesse while in office. But the essence of that agenda was – and remains – largely correct.

Ten Quick Topics to Ruin Your Summer

by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham reviews "10 topics that really matter, at least in my opinion. They can all be viewed as problems: potential threats to our well-being"

Price-Insensitive Sellers

by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines the impact on a range of global asset classes of "price-insensitive market participants" who may "buy assets for reasons other than the expected returns those assets may deliver."

Embrace, Don’t Fear, Illiquid Asset ETFs

by Richard Bernstein of Richards Bernstein Advisors

Our research suggests that while many are fearful of the unknown, investors should embrace, not fear, illiquid asset ETFs.

Recent dshort Posts

New Jobless Claims Up 12K

Today's seasonally adjusted 267K new claims was slightly better than the forecast of 270K. The four-week moving average at 274,750 is just over 8K above the 15-year interim low set in mid-May.

Q2 GDP Advance Estimate at 2.3%, Close to Mainstream Forecasts

The Advance Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 2.3 percent, a substantial increase from the 0.6 percent of Q1, which is an upward revision from -0.2 percent prior to today's annual revisions. Today's number came in a tad on the light side of most mainstream estimates. The WSJ survey of economists had median and mean forecasts of 2.6 and 2.7, respectively. was looking for 2.6.

Millennials and the Labor Force: A Look at the Trends

We have added Millennials to our series of employment demographics. The general consensus is that the Millennial cohort consists of people born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. In this study we will focus on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the those born between 1981 and 2000.

June Pending Home Sales Snap a Five-Month String of Increases

Earlier today the National Association of Realtors released the June data for their Pending Home Sales Index. The NAR reports that "after five consecutive months of increases, pending home sales slipped in June but remained near May’s level, the highest in over nine years." The adjacent chart gives us a snapshot of the index since 2001.

Consumer Confidence Drops Nine Points

The latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through July 16. The headline number of 90.9 was a significant drop from the June final reading of 99.8, a downward revision of June's initial 101.4. Today's number was below the forecast of 100.

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Jumped 7 Points in July

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index jumped 7 points to 13 from last month's 6. had forecast no change at 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 7.7, indicating expansion.

Home Price Rose at a Slightly Slower Pace, Year-over-Year, in May

With this morning's release of the May S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices were down fractionally month over month and rose across the country over the last 12 months but at a slower pace. The seasonally adjusted 20-city index, the most closely watched of the Case-Shiller series, was down -0.2% from the previous month. Nonseasonally adjusted it was up 4.9% from a year ago.