30 Sep 2014

My Experience with Alternative Investments

We like to say that we eat our own cooking because we invest your money the same way that we manage our own. As one of the chefs in the kitchen, I also eat a lot of things that I’m not ready to serve. For better for worse, my account operates like a test kitchen. Some of the experiments turn out unexpectedly well and it is served out to everyone… Read More

29 Sep 2014

Bill Gross, Meet Derek Jeter

When I first saw the headline on CNBC that Bill Gross was leaving PIMCO, I didn’t pay close attention because I assumed it was one of those headlines that didn’t have any facts but asks a provocative question, like ‘Is Bill Gross Leaving PIMCO?’ It’s almost an absurd question, but that’s exactly what happened on Friday after a series of bad public stumbles, some of which I’ve chronicled already (click… Read More

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26 Sep 2014

Canaries in a Coal Mine: Stocks Sell Off

Since taking over Daily Insights last July 1, the market has gone up steadily at an annualized pace of 19.69 percent through the close of business yesterday. In addition to the substantial gains, volatility for the S&P 500 has been uncharacteristically low. Naturally, I’m appreciative that we’ve all been able to enjoy a straight-up market, but I’m also realistic and know that it won’t always be like this. It’s normal… Read More

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25 Sep 2014

Retiree Spending

In our retirement planning model, the Acropolis Financial Forecaster, there are essentially five key variables that affect the probability of meeting your goals.  They are as follows: Saving Before Retirement When to Retire Spending in Retirement Market Returns & Inflation Rate Portfolio Risk The first three factors are entirely under your control and the second one is the most critical because the timing of your retirement stops contributions to your… Read More

24 Sep 2014

Hedge Funds Flip-Flop

A recent examination of hedge funds by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found a variety of deficiencies in almost half of the firms examined, according to the Wall Street Journal. None of the findings were particularly surprising, but the SEC appears to create a new name for an old problem: flip-flopping (and not on a wind-surfer). The problem is that some securities, especially ones that are unique or illiquid,… Read More

23 Sep 2014

When Academics Go Bananas

You may have noticed already, but I constantly refer to academics and academia. As a firm, we put a lot of value on the ideas that come from the ivory towers and have academic support for nearly every strategy and sub-strategy that we employ. We appreciate the thoughtfulness, research, peer-review process that has contributed so much to the way we think about markets. But, sometimes, academics can get a little… Read More

22 Sep 2014

What if You Called The Bond Market Perfectly?

It’s an interesting question. The ability to call the tops and bottoms with perfect accuracy is considered the “holy grail” of bond market investing. We spend a great deal of effort talking to clients about the risk of trying to make speculative calls – the risk of being wrong of course. Just as an exercise I thought it would be neat to imagine what it would be like if we… Read More

22 Sep 2014

Alibaba vs. Amazon

Alibaba Group Holding (ticker: BABA) went public on Friday at a price of $68 per share, which valued the company at $168 billion, making it one of the 40 largest companies in the world, according to S&P Capital IQ. Once the stock started trading in the open market, however, investors bid the stock higher and it ended the day at almost $94 per share, valuing the company at $231.4 billion…. Read More

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20 Sep 2014

Why Aren’t Interest Rates Higher?

With a lot of focus being put on the coming end to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing campaign, this article will delve into some of the other factors impacting interest rates in the US. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has maintained a steady course ever since Chairman Bernanke first hinted at the end of quantitative easing in the spring of 2013. The “Taper” which is scheduled to complete this… Read More

17 Sep 2014

ALM Insights – September 2014

ALM Insights is focused on banks and other institutions that use their portfolio to manage risk on both sides of their balance sheet. It takes an in-depth look at securities investment strategies, balance sheet and asset/liability strategies, regulatory topics and general economic information. To view this issue, click the image below. In This Issue: What if You Called The Market Perfectly? The Impact of Fed Tightening Why Aren’t Interest Rates Higher?