Category Archives: Uncategorized

2017…Among the Sleepiest of Years

If 2016 was unremarkable, 2017 was downright sleepy…at least as far as equity markets were concerned. In 2017, the S&P 500 notched the lowest level of volatility in 27 years. Both dispersion and correlations were among the lowest levels in the same period. This is in spite of a year that was far from lacking Read more […]

Considering Tax Diversification Benefits of Roth Accounts May Be Timely

The S&P 500® was up 22.1% YTD as of Dec. 19, 2017 (including reinvested dividends), and international stocks were generally even more kind to USD investors (S&P Global Ex-U.S. BMI Gross Total Return [USD] was up 26.3% YTD). However, in most types of accounts we do not get to keep gross returns. Capital gains and Read more […]

Vanishing Stocks

The number of stocks listed in the US is falling. Currently there are 3,758 listed stocks, ten years ago there were 4,500 and 20 years ago the number topped 7,400. The total value of the market, as measured by the total market capitalization of the S&P Total Market Index, continues to rise. As of yesterday Read more […]

A Quick Primer on Benchmark Regulation

What Is It? The Benchmark Regulation (BMR) is a key part of the European Union’s (EU’s) response to the LIBOR scandal and the allegations of similar manipulation of foreign exchange and commodity benchmarks.  It is intended to protect investors by requiring greater transparency and stronger governance among firms that: 1) provide, 2) contribute to, or Read more […]

S&P STRIDE Target Date Funds: Making STRIDEs in Evaluating the Performance of Retirement Solutions

Back in the Great Recession of 2008-2009, participants experienced a dramatic stock market decline.  The S&P 500 index had a “peak-to-trough” decline of 51 percent! Coincidentally, many retirees and near-retirees were gaining their initial experience with something called a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA). The QDIA is a “safe harbor” (Department of Labor Regulation 29 Read more […]

Optimal Timing and Strategy for Claiming One’s Social Security Retired-Worker Benefits

The decision to claim social security benefits is not as straightforward as it seems and involves a number of key considerations.  Given that it is a one-time decision and locks in one’s benefits permanently, aside from periodic cost of living adjustments, it is important for retirees to rethink whether there is an optimal timing and Read more […]

A Framework for Offering Income in DC Plans

According to the latest Department of Labor statistics, more than 640,000 employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) plans are in existence in order to help nearly 90 million participants prepare for retirement.[1] To date, traditional measures of success included factors based on a plan’s inputs, such as participation rates, savings levels, and the relative performance of underlying Read more […]

Don’t Confuse Income With Yield

Yield conventions differ for stocks and bonds, but the various calculation methods for both asset classes have an important characteristic in common—they are alternative expressions of price.  Measures of yield specifically relate current price to how much dividend or interest income holders of a particular security are likely to get.  Thinking of yield as income Read more […]

Potential Risks When Constructing a Sustainable Lifetime Income

In retirement, financial ruin is taken to mean when one’s savings have been depleted before one passes away.  If one’s savings are invested in a diversified portfolio, financial ruin is taken to mean the combined effects of withdrawals and adverse market conditions that can potentially deplete the portfolio before one’s passing. Financial ruin to one’s Read more […]

Retail Fee Premium and its Impact on Fund’s Performance: Observations From SPIVA® Institutional Year-End 2016 Scorecard

The impact of fees on managers’ performance continues to make headlines.  With the most recent round of actively managed fee reductions[1] taking place in February 2017, market participants can benefit from lower fees as managers compete for capital.  In the recently issued “SPIVA Institutional Scorecard – How Much Do Fees Affect the Active Versus Passive Read more […]