The General Advisory Channel

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 4K

This morning's seasonally adjusted 226K new claims, down 4K from the previous week's revised figure, was below the forecast of 230K. From the release: "The claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal."

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: February 2018

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

A Path Forward for the CFP Board

The CFP Board set out fiduciary duties for all advice. Its statements are clear and strong. This is an important step. But alone, it falls very short. Why?

How to Conduct Effective Staff and Team Meetings

Today, I will answer two important questions about conducting staff meetings: What topics to discuss and how often to schedule staff meetings.

A Ground-Breaking Path to Differentiation

Here’s my recommended response to the question, “How are you different?”

A New Platform that Offers Insurance Products to Fee-Only Advisors

David Lau is the founder and CEO of DPL Financial Partners, a firm focused on the distribution of commission-free insurance products geared toward the RIA and fee-based advisor channel. In this interview, he discusses his suite of products and related services.

CFP Board Proposed Fiduciary Standards: A Good Small Step That Needs a Giant Leap

The CFP Board proposal on fiduciary duties are a good first step towards a fiduciary standard. Yet, they fall well short of basic fiduciary practices and, equally as important, what ordinary investors clearly want from an investment advisor or financial planner. Significant common sense revisions will align the CFP requirements with true fiduciary practices. Alternatively, the Board can realign its promise to the public to fit its current standards. Webinar attendees will learn:

  • Key areas where the proposed standards fall well short of fiduciary duties;
  • What independent research and experience say investors want in a fiduciary advisor;
  • Important revisions or fixes that CFP Board can make now to meet a fiduciary standard; and
  • How the CFP Board can realign its promise to meet current standards.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the US Launch a Trade War?

The economic calendar is normal but featuring the monthly employment report. Usually that would be the focus, and it might become so by week’s end. Until the situation is clarified, the paramount question will be: Has the US ignited a trade war?

Why the Size Premium Won’t Disappear

There are logical explanations for why the size premium may have shrunk. But there also remain simple, intuitive, risk-based explanations for why the premium should persist.

Newsletter - February 2018

Read the latest Evensky & Katz / Foldes Newsletter by Harold Evensky.

Moving Averages: February Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on March 30, 2018.

The S&P 500 closed February with a monthly loss of 3.89% after a gain of 5.62% in January. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and three of five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), and PowerShares DB Commodity Index (DBC) — are signaling "invested".

Why Uncomfortable Investing May Be the Way Forward

The ability to withstand the next market correction may require making investment decisions that go against the grain. Can a multi-asset approach help?

GMO Quarterly Letter

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, head of asset allocation Ben Inker considers the hypothetical question posed by chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham in his third-quarter 2017 letter, "What should you do if you are tasked with managing Stalin's pension portfolio?" ("Don't Act Like Stalin! But maybe hire portfolio managers that do?").

Reflation and Reflection

It is said we should be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it. Beginning late last week, stocks finally stepped back. Market declines of 5% and even 10% occur with some regularity, even in the midst of long bull intervals

Seeing the Big Picture in Market Corrections

While we don’t know when the equity market’s recent volatility will settle down, it’s important to consider the big-picture, fundamental backdrop for the market, and not get caught up in short-term sentiment swings, according to Franklin Templeton’s head of equities, Stephen Dover. And, he believes the fundamental backdrop still looks solid.