A New “Pink Tide” in Latin America?
Latin America tilted further left this week as Colombian voters elected Gustavo Petro as president. Come August, the former Bogotá mayor and member of the M-19 guerrilla organization will join the region’s growing list of leftist leaders in a political shift some are likening to the “pink tide” of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Bond Traders Are Reading the Federal Reserve Wrong Again
It may be a cliché, but the phrase “don’t fight the Fed” worked well for investors during the long period when the US central bank was suppressing interest rates and seeking to boost asset prices. This year, not so much.
Putin’s Mask is Off. Europe is Next
When Putin started the war, he tried to shift the blame to NATO, calling it the instigator. He argued that Russia had no choice but to defensively launch the war to prevent NATO from surrounding Russia from all sides. A few days ago, Putin finally lifted his veil of pretense: this is a war of conquest.
Lifetime Income Fees vs. Costs: Look Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg
Lifetime income solutions are high on the wish lists of defined contribution (DC) plan participants, with the certainty of a guaranteed lifetime income stream ranking as the top feature in our surveys over the past decade.
Gold Has Been One of the Few Bright Spots in 2022 (So Far)
The yellow metal has managed to stay positive since the start of the year, skirting pressure from surging yields and a strong U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, nearly every other asset class has fallen into either correction or bear market territory.
Inflation Risk: Persistent or Transitory is the Wrong Question
Persistent … or transitory? It’s the inflation question that has been weighing on financial markets over the last year. As each economic data point trickles out, it is analyzed and re-analyzed, with that focus in mind. But it may be the wrong question to ask.
Musk’s ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ Won’t Get Him Out of Twitter Deal
Elon Musk formally and forcefully revived his assertion that Twitter Inc. has a serious bot problem, and threatened to walk away from his deal to buy the company if the social network doesn’t do more to prove its users are real people.
Bull Market Rhymes
Howard Marks’s latest memo explores recurring investment themes to contextualize the current market correction and the bull market that preceded it. He discusses the role played by financial innovations like SPACs and cryptocurrencies and why he believes psychology, not fundamentals, primarily drives investment cycles – and likely always will.
The Hidden Opportunity to Serve Millennial Clients
We’re here to talk about misconceived notions that advisors have about millennial investors. While it is often reported that millennials are rejecting financial advisors, my guest says this is not the case. The biggest issue that he sees is that financial advisors have minimums that make it difficult to serve millennials at the tail-end of the age bracket (those born between 1990-1996, or age 26 to 32). That cohort typically has not accumulated enough money to meet the minimum requirement needed to work with fee-based advisors.
The Financial Impact of Grief and Loss
Being immobilized in grief can be deeply painful and damaging emotionally. It can be financially damaging, as well, limiting a person’s ability to make sound financial decisions that can affect their future. This is where objective help and support is essential.
The Big Four: Real Personal Income in April
Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) in April rose 0.52% and is up 8.4% year-over-year. However, when adjusted for inflation using the BEA's PCE Price Index, Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) MoM was up 0.27%. The real number is up 2.0% year-over-year. October through March revisions were made.
SEC to Crack Down on Misleading ESG Claims With Fund Rules
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is taking its biggest step yet to stop money managers from misleading investors when they claim their funds are focused on environmental, social or governance issues.
Inflation Forces Desperate Leaders to Try and Soften the Blow
The price of foods, fuels and other essential items are spiraling ever upward as Russia’s war on Ukraine compounds supply-chain woes stemming from the pandemic. Central banks may be in the driving seat when it comes to tackling inflation, but it’s governments that face the fallout and so are compelled to act.
Hardening of the Economies
As with bodily atherosclerosis, curing our economic condition may require lifestyle modifications. But in one sense, it will be even worse: We’re all going to get the cure whether we want it or not. We’ll get its side effects, too… and you can bet there will be many.
Tesla’s Removal From S&P Index Sparks Debate About ESG Ratings
Tesla has grown into a $735 billion company on the back of its breakthrough electric-vehicle engineering. Its own carbon footprint is a small fraction of its peers, and its success in the market has pushed the industry overall away from gas-powered vehicles.
Bond Investors Underperformed Despite A Bull Market. Now What?
In our latest insight, we analyze the recent DALBAR study to determine how well (or not well) active fixed-income investors performed during the bull market and explain what we believe will be the best approach for fixed-income investing given the start of a pro-inflation paradigm shift.
Investing in People
When Aoifinn Devitt created The Fiftyfaces Podcast in 2020, she wanted to showcase the diversity of the world’s investors by telling their stories. Now, she tells Hugo her own story—from her start as a lawyer to her current role as the first female chief investment officer at Moneta, an investment advisor with $27 billion of assets under management. In this wide-ranging discussion, Aoifinn explains how the Russia-Ukraine conflict could change how we think about ESG, whether we’re in a new investing regime, and what she’s learned from podcasting.
OnlyFans Offers a Lesson for Protesting Historically High Home Appraisals
The major market indices finished mixed this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.63%. The S&P 500 Stock Index rose 0.40%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.02%. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index lost 0.28% this week.
Top Sea Polluters Beg for Climate Rules That No Rival Can Avoid
The ocean shipping industry, among the world’s biggest polluters, is asking a key regulator to overhaul its emissions directives so that all carriers are working off the same rulebook as they make the expensive changes needed to cut output of harmful carbons.
Fed ‘Not Out of Bullets’ Yet to Control Inflation: Milken Update
The Milken Institute Global Conference continues in Beverly Hills, California, bringing together investors, dealmakers, power brokers and celebrities to discuss markets and megatrends. Academics, sports stars, entrepreneurs and politicians among the thousands coming to the Beverly Hilton for the event, which runs through Wednesday.
Using Analytics in Wealth Management: The Good and Bad (Part 2)
Forward-thinking advisors have been searching for and employing analytics very carefully. This series will explore some of these metrics, along with their benefits and pitfalls. Today’s topic is capital markets assumptions.
Why the Federal Reserve Keeps Underestimating Inflation
The Fed messed up. Big time. After almost 40 years of low, predictable price growth, inflation is back: 8.5% at last count and it may go higher still. Some of the inflation is related to pandemic re-opening, but some of it came from serious policy errors. Now the Federal Reserve faces some hard choices. It may even need to cause a recession to bring inflation back to manageable levels.
Should Advisors Have More Than One Niche?
Firms often consider launching multiple niches rather than focusing on just one. Though sometimes successful, this approach can dissipate your marketing efforts. This article offers guidelines to determine whether having multiple niches is for you.
Using Private Credit Interval Funds During Inflationary Times
Since the global financial crisis, assets in private credit have grown exponentially as investors search for yield while protecting against inflation and rising interest rates. Once a small corner of the investment universe, private credit has boomed into a major asset class that does not show signs of slowing. Over the 2010-2020 period, assets grew by 12.8% annually. However, not all private credit is created equal. My guests today will explain how the private credit landscape is quite diverse relative to its publicly traded counterpart, and investors should take time to fully understand the differences within the space.
Musk Seals $44 Billion Deal Even He Wasn’t Sure Would Succeed
The world’s richest person proved the naysayers, including himself, wrong Monday when he clinched a deal to buy Twitter Inc. for about $44 billion, using one of the biggest leveraged buyout deals in history to take private a 16-year-old social networking platform that has become a hub of public discourse and a flashpoint in the debate over online free speech.
What College Enrollment Trends Say About the New Economy
We know the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the U.S. workforce forever. What we don’t know for sure is how the changes will play out. Some are accelerations of trends that began around the time of the financial crisis in 2008 or earlier, while others were directly inspired by the pandemic. Still others were temporary dislocations that will revert. But it’s anyone’s guess which changes are which.
Into the Fire
If you haven’t noticed—perhaps because you live on Mars—inflation is here. Not just in the US but almost everywhere. Prices for everyday goods and services, including necessities like food, are climbing rapidly. The US Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% in the 12 months through March… and we know it understates categories like housing.
Elon Musk’s Twitter Gambit Tees Up a Who’s In-or-Out White Knight List
Twitter Inc., which is trying to defend itself against Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover bid, has a poison pill in place, so the next obvious move on the hostile M&A to-do list is likely already being contemplated: a white knight.
How to Plan Retirement Income for a Constrained Investor
In this article, I will explain how to structure an income strategy that best serves the needs of constrained investors. Demographic, economic, cultural, and social forces argue for a new approach to retirement planning.
Institutional Investors Are Flexing Their ESG Muscles
People tend to associate environmental, social and governance investing with stock-picking, a way to sort through companies based on their ESG practices. But not every investor can be choosy about the companies they own. Big pension, endowment and sovereign wealth funds oversee tens of billions and even trillions of dollars, which means they have to own practically everything.
There's a Bull Market in Macro Doom
There is a genre of investment research that continuously predicts economic disaster that I call “macro doom.” It has become very popular. It seems that everyone is an expert in macroeconomics today, and they’re all predicting a bust of some kind.
War in Ukraine: Part 4 – Are There Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
I hope the discomfort and pain you experience reading this piece are but a small fraction of what I experienced writing it. I keep reminding myself that most of our problems today are first-world problems that are generally trivial and insignificant compared to what people in Ukraine are going through.
Student Loan Forgiveness Is an Idea Whose Time Has Gone
Most Americans say the most important problem facing the country is inflation — and President Joe Biden just made it worse. His administration announced last week it would extend yet again the emergency suspension of student loan repayments, even as his frenemies on the left are urging a program of complete forgiveness of all student debt.
International and Global Markets Commentary & Investment Outlook
A “soft landing” scenario is not so straightforward in the current context. We have emphasized companies that we believe have pricing power because of the mission-critical or value-add nature of their products and services.
Income Alternatives in a Rising Rate Environment
With many major market forces still to be determined, it is likely that 2022 will be characterized by transitions. One such transition, a rising rate environment, has historically resulted in the underperformance of traditional fixed income. As rates increase, fixed income exposures typically fall short, leaving investors with the need to reevaluate and consider alternative solutions to enhance their current allocations. Emerging markets debt, investment grade floating rate notes and business development companies (BDCs) may provide investors with alternative yield options while also offering liquidity, credit and quality.
Complementary Asset Classes: Why Now?
Given that (1) investors have benefitted from a market environment that reliably produced a source of positive returns from a 60/40 mix, and (2) we’ve just completed the best period for that mix in nearly 70 years of tracking, why would an investor want to consider a change?
Mom and Pop Buying Fewer Muni Bonds Directly as ETFs Heat Up
The value of bonds directly owned by households fell by $18 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, dropping to the lowest level since 2008, according to Federal Reserve data. Instead, those buyers are moving toward mutual funds and exchange traded funds, which have roughly doubled their muni holdings over the last decade.
Tesla-Backed Startup Made Cheap Power a Debt Burden for the World’s Poorest
As a solar panel was raised onto the roof of their mud-brick home in a Tanzanian village in sight of Mount Kilimanjaro, Akida Saidi and his wife felt giddy at the prospect of entering a new era. In a place where most residents make do with pit latrines instead of toilets and till their fields of maize and pigeon peas with hoes, suddenly having electricity would catapult them into the 21st century.
Europe’s Hypocritical Gas Policy Isn’t Sustainable
Europeans enduring an unseasonal April cold snap may be forgiven for thinking winter is back. But for the natural gas market, summer has arrived. April 1 marked the start of a new year in the energy calendar, moving the focus to injecting enough gas into storage during the coming low-demand months in preparation for next winter. It’s a race Europe cannot afford to lose, but one it will struggle to win following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Global Convertible Market Update: Portfolio Manager Q&A
Diverse opportunities in Global Convertibles, as well as structural features, provide tailwinds to counter rising rates and equity volatility. In rising rate environments, convertibles have historically done quite well relative to longer-duration traditional fixed income investments.
Greenwashing Amongst ESG: Finding True ESG Value
As clients clamor to invest in Environmental, Social, Governance, or ESG funds, advisors need to separate the truth from the tsunami of “greenwashing” that has clouded this rapidly-growing investment segment.
Ukraine War Hastens Investor Migration to Private Markets
Much of the commentary about the Ukraine war’s implications for the investment-management industry has tended to be both immediate and narrow, particularly in discussions about the spillovers for different segments. By zooming out, however, some longer-term ramifications become more apparent for both public and private markets.
The Case Against Rate Hikes for Millennials
It may be inconceivable to the moneyed class, but there are in fact very good reasons not to raise interest rates quickly or dramatically. Yes, inflation is worryingly high, Ukraine is burning and Covid-19 still threatens to upend supply chains. However, the reality many Americans face — if not low-income and middle-class workers across the globe — is quite different from what the stock market and go-to suite of economic indicators tell us.
Carbon Handprints: A New Approach to Climate-Focused Equity Investing
How can investors gain confidence that an equity portfolio is invested in companies that are really helping to address climate risk? Focus on a company’s carbon handprint, which measures the positive impact, or carbon avoided, by using its products.
Elon Musk Changes the Narrative to Tesla’s Advantage Yet Again
By the time premarket trading started Monday, Tesla shares were down less than 1%. None of the above developments were unmitigated disasters: Musk has feuded with U.S. safety officials before; Tesla plans to reopen its Shanghai factory after a few days; Karpathy tweeted he’s looking forward to a return; Musk said he has almost no symptoms.