Research & Economic Commentary

The Best Benchmarks for Every Asset Class

The Best Benchmarks for Every Asset Class (Literally All of Them) Benchmarking your portfolio performance is crucial for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a starting point for your financial advisor/portfolio manager to gage your risk-tolerance and return expectations. Second and more importantly, it gives you a basis of comparison for your portfolio performance against the rest of the investable market. Benchmarks come in all different shapes and sizes, with some tracking certain segments of the stock market like the S&P 500 Index to […]
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What Britain Leaving The EU Means

The EU (European Union) was established following the end of WW II in order to offer financial and structural stability for European countries. Since its establishment, the EU has grown to a membership of 28 countries, abiding by various rules and policies set forth by the EU Council. One of the responsibilities of member EU countries is to accept and honor immigrants and citizens from other EU countries as part of the human rights initiatives recognized by the EU. Immigration has been a topic of […]
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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 […]
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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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Wiser Wealth’s 2013 Outlook – Interview by SeekingAlpha.com

Casey Smith is President of Wiser Wealth Management, a Marietta, Georgia-based fee-only fiduciary wealth management firm offering asset management, tax preparation, estate planning and financial planning services. Wiser’s unique investing techniques have earned Casey speaking engagements at top ETF conferences around the world. When not running Wiser Wealth, Casey doubles as a pilot for an Atlanta-based commercial airline.
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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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