I often hear criticisms about the use of bond ladders. Whenever the criticism comes from professional advisors, however, I’ve noticed it generally involves firms that use only bond mutual funds or ETFs instead of individual, tailored bond portfolios, whether in the form of a bond ladder or not. Unfortunately, much – if not all – of this criticism is based on falsehoods and the conflicts that can arise when advisors employ only mutual funds and ETFs.
What explains the fact that municipal bond yields are only slightly lower than equivalent Treasury bonds, giving muni investors a much higher taxable-equivalent yield? The answer lies in their liquidity, which is good news, especially for buy-and-hold investors of individual bonds.
Leveraged funds may seem like a good idea – if we expect the S&P 500 to be positive, for instance, then getting four times its return seems even better – but long-term investors (and there shouldn’t be any other kind) should be skeptical.
A family wealth mission statement (FWMS) is a relatively brief statement that encapsulates your family’s purpose, goals and standards.
Each year Americans spend huge sums preparing to transition their assets to their heirs, engaging high-powered estate and tax planners who set up complex vehicles like family limited partnerships, life insurance, charitable remainder, charitable lead and various other kinds of trusts. Yet, despite the best efforts of top-notch professionals, the majority of plans fail. Why?
Socially responsible investing (SRI) has captured nearly a quarter of U.S.-based assets. New evidence from one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds shows that those investors are sacrificing significant performance. Indeed, they are giving up more than 1% a year – effectively doubling the typical 1% AUM advisory fee.
My firm recently approved a new alternative investment, one that until recently was only available through hedge funds, the Stone Ridge Reinsurance Risk Premium Interval Fund (SRRIX).
Fama and French’s 1992 seminal research, which identified the value and size factors, was met with skepticism. Even the authors questioned the underlying economic rationale for their findings. With a quarter century of data, let’s look back and see if the skepticism was justified. Have value and small-cap outperformed?
Diversification has been called the only free lunch in investing. Many investors consider total-market funds, such as Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX), to be not only the most efficient (based on modern financial theory and, specifically, the efficient markets hypothesis) but also the most diversified. Leaving aside the question of whether Vanguard’s fund is the most efficient portfolio, let’s evaluate whether it’s the most diversified.
The evidence is overwhelming that past performance is a poor predictor of active managers’ performance. Studies have found that, beyond a year or two, there is little evidence of performance persistence. A newly published academic study reveals why it’s so hard for active managers to persistently beat a benchmark.