The Municipal Bonds Channel

Choose Your Own Misadventure: Bronfman E.L. Rothschild 2016 Q4 Review

Part of our early January ritual is to read a number of market and economic projections for the upcoming year. And although they are interesting and (generally) thoughtful, to be frank, the articles are basically all the same…

Avoid the Slippery Rungs of the Muni Ladder

Fearing rising rates, some municipal investors have sought protection in passive laddered portfolios. The strategy’s seeming simplicity packs a lot of allure—but also hidden risks.

Don’t Drink the Cool Aid that Bonds will Under-perform

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and drink the cool aid that bonds will underperform. Investor fears of higher interest rates have caused volatility, which we believe presents opportunities in the fixed income markets. Global central banks continue to intervene in the markets in such a way that natural market mechanisms cannot function properly.

American Small Businesses Party Like It’s 2004

Look at what President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to lower taxes and slash regulations is doing to business optimism here in the U.S. Last month, the Index of Small Business Optimism soared a phenomenal 7.4 points to 105.8, its highest reading since 2004. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which conducts the survey, reported that attitudes toward capital spending and job creation in particular surprised to the upside. Research firm Evercore ISI called it a “blowout report,” and I have to agree.

Sustainable Development Goals: Common Goals, Our Approach, Your Impact

How the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can serve as a framework for ESG investors

Animal Spirits

I believe this rally was the result of animal spirits based on the notion that Trump’s pro-growth policies will support the economy. At the same time, many investors assume that growth in the economy will lead to upticks in inflation and interest rates, which—along with lighter regulations—are perceived as positive for business.

CEF Sectors View

Closed-end funds featuring senior loans, municipal bonds and MLPs may be worth considering in 2017, according to CEF investment professionals.

Ringing in the New Year with a Bullish Case for Gold

I find it curious that many in the financial media continue to have a bias against gold, even though it generated better returns in 2016 than 10-year Treasuries and the U.S. dollar, which performed half as well. And when it was up as much as 28 percent in the summer, they still didn’t have anything positive to say, arguing it had gone up too much.

Hiccup of the year?

As we always do in January, this month we focus on the investment minefield laid out in front of us and we argue that with upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany, and economic uncertainties globally, this year could turn into a rather tricky one for investors. There are reasons to be optimistic, however, and we hope that 2017 will be a prosperous year for you all.

CEF Market Update

Closed-end fund professionals share perspectives on the 2016 CEF market and the outlook for 2017.

Hope for the New Year

Consider the DOL’s new Fiduciary Rule. When it goes into effect in April 2017, it will inevitably limit the number of investment products available to retail investors. The ruling states that all retirement planners, advisors and broker-dealers must now “act in the best interests of clients” and charge only “reasonable” fees. This all sounds fine, but what’s naturally going to happen is financial professionals—in an effort to remain compliant with the rule—will recommend only the least expensive products, regardless of whether they’re a good fit. Many mutual funds—which might be better performing but have higher expenses than other investment vehicles—will fall off of brokerage firms’ platforms.

Holiday Edition: Here Are the Top 6 Frank Talk Posts of 2016

As we head into the New Year, I want to share with you the six most popular Frank Talk posts of 2016. Before I do that, however, I think it’s important to note one recurring theme I write about that continues to help our investment team and shareholders better understand the movement in commodities and energy: the purchasing managers’ index (PMI).

Onward and Upward?

As we head into the final stretch of 2016, the U.S. dollar has taken control of the markets. As the incoming Trump administration continues to promise fiscal spending and tax cuts, the Fed is now positioning to do a bit more tightening—all while the U.S. and global economic datapoints move higher.

Worker Productivity Growth Hits New Low - What Can Be Done?

President Obama is spending his last days in office trying to shore-up his “legacy.” He emphasizes that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression and most analysts would agree that is true for the most part.

Muni CEFs “Opportunities & Risks”

Longtime investment professional Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners shares his perspective on “opportunities and risks” in the municipal bond closed-end fund sector.