Research & Economic Commentary

2014 – Interview with SeekingAlpha.com

This is the fourth piece in Seeking Alpha's Positioning for 2014 series. This year we have once again asked experts on a range of different asset classes and investing strategies to offer their vision for the coming year and beyond. As always, the focus is on an overall approach to portfolio construction.
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2013 in Review

The US stock market produced a record year in terms of performance, increasing over 34%. This was all despite some market headlines that seemed to be doom and gloom. The key events were as follows: Looking back at 2013 through key market indicators we see that there was relatively low volatility in 2013, a continued improvement in the housing market, very low inflation, and continued steady economic recovery. Corporate debt levels continued to decrease, consumer spending was up and the unemployment rate continued to show […]
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Retooling Your Bond Portfolio

Many investors, especially retirees and conservative investors are investing in bonds either individually, through a bond mutual fund or a bond exchange traded fund (ETF). Investors seem to associate bonds with safety, but this may not be the case going forward. How can you protect your bond portfolio in these uncertain times?
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Don’t Chase Returns

Very often individual investors choose mutual funds based on the historical performance of the fund. To many individual investors it seems logical that past great performance would only indicate a tendency for future great performance. According to a July 2013 report from S&P, this may not be the case. Twice a year S&P Dow Jones Indices releases its Persistence Score Card. This reports tracks the consistency of top mutual fund performers over yearly consecutive periods asking the question, does past performance really matter? The latest […]
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The Low Volatility Effect

In any market, your portfolio should be constructed to meet your risk tolerance. But what does this really mean? Advisors should know the historical volatility of their portfolios; many on the selling side of this business don’t have a clue, they just want to sell you a product. For the individual investor there are tools to measure portfolio volatility.
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Vanguard Changing Index Benchmarks

Vanguard shocked the investing world today by announcing that they are changing the benchmark of 22 of its funds from MSCI to FTSE indexes.
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ETFs are Getting Cheaper

One of the many benefits of using Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) is cost. An investor today can build a complete portfolio using all ETFs for less than 25bps (0.25%). The low cost leaders in ETFs have been Vanguard, State Street and Blackrock’s iShares. Recently Charles Schwab entered the ETF business offering Schwab branded ETFs with low pricing. On September 21, 2012 the company announced that they are lowering prices even further. What does this mean for investors? For Schwab investors, this is great news as […]
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Europe – ETF Investment Strategies

Buy and hold investors should always focus on long term healthy asset classes. In regards to investing in Europe, the key question is whether or not Europe will be a financially healthy asset class over the next ten years.
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Global Real Estate in Your Portfolio

With the impact that the European debt crisis is having on portfolios, many people are looking for ways to diversify from this impact. Adding real estate to your portfolio is one way to do this.
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ETFs in a 401k: The Wave is Building

There has been a lot of discussion concerning the use of exchange traded funds (ETFs) as the primary investment vehicle within 401k plans. The barriers that once stood in the way are being removed by innovative record keeping and the growing use of ETFs in private and institutional accounts.
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