Commodity Trends Boost Leveraged and Inverse Indices

In the context of declining commodity prices following the global financial crisis, inverse indices became popular for market participants looking to profit from negative returns. As the oil war unfolded and drove commodity prices further down, market participants took a renewed interest in using inverse indices to bet against the market. When commodities rebounded last Read more […]

The Little Cousin to TIPS

We explored the topic of building a 30-year TIPS portfolio in a previous blog.  If the numbers we threw around seemed too big (USD 5,000 or USD 10,000 per year over a long period of time) for a Millennial, don’t lose heart.  The U.S. Series I Savings Bonds (or I Bonds) provide an easy way Read more […]

In Which Market Cycles Do Active Funds Add the Most Alpha?

Those who invest in active funds may expect portfolio managers to deliver excess returns over their benchmark indices for the fee they paid.  However, results from the SPIVA® (S&P Indices Versus Active) India Scorecard suggest this may not always be the case.  The scorecard, which is a biannual report, attempts to capture the performance of Read more […]

How to Build a TIPS Ladder Portfolio for Millennials

In his January blog post entitled “Try a TIPS Mixer in Your Equities Cocktail,” Phillip Murphy described the potential benefits of including Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) in one’s portfolio.  In this blog aimed at Millennials, I would like to propose an easy way to build up a 30-year TIPS portfolio for retirement. Let us assume Read more […]

Active Fund Management in South Africa Continued to Struggle in 2016

Equity markets in South Africa, as measured by the S&P South Africa Domestic Shareholder Weighted (DSW) Index ZAR, increase 5% in 2016.  Aside from the GDP contraction experienced in the last quarter of 2016, conditions were generally improving in the country.  For example, the South African rand strengthened during the year and the municipal elections Read more […]

How Much Is Your Social Security Benefit Worth?

Social Security benefits are the gold standard of retirement income.  As Nobel Laureate Robert Merton commented in his article “The Crisis in Retirement Planning,” published in the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2014): “Ask someone what her pension is worth and she will reply with an income figure: ‘two-thirds of my final salary,’ for example.  Similarly, Read more […]

Alaska Healthcare Profiled

According to an April 6, 2017, CNN story titled “High-cost Alaska sits in the eye of health care reform storm,” Alaska currently has the highest healthcare costs of any U.S. state.[1]  In this first profile edition, we look at the state of Alaska and compare just how different the cost profile is for people living Read more […]

Rieger Report: State G.O. municipal bonds have underperformed

Overall, general obligation bonds have underperformed revenue bonds over the last five years  of low rates.   State general obligation bonds have been the sector that is holding back returns as the lower yield and shorter duration characteristics of these bonds have resulted in muted returns in the up market. While revenue bonds have a larger foot print by par Read more […]

Asian Fixed Income: Continuing Rally for Indonesian Bonds

Indonesian bonds, as tracked by the S&P Indonesia Bond Index, gained 5.59% YTD as of April 5, 2017. This is a continuation of the strong growth trend observed in 2016, when the index increased 13.7% owing to the Bank Indonesia’s cut in interest rates on six occasions throughout the year. Indonesia has been one of Read more […]

April: A Testing Month for VIX Traders

Shorting VIX® was among the top strategies in the past year.  XIV and SVXY both went up over 50% in Q1 2017 (~15% in March alone), almost doubled in the past six months, and returned ~180% over the past 12 months (see Exhibit 1).  However, the declining VIX spot level can only explain part of Read more […]