A New “Pink Tide” in Latin America?
Latin America tilted further left this week as Colombian voters elected Gustavo Petro as president. Come August, the former Bogotá mayor and member of the M-19 guerrilla organization will join the region’s growing list of leftist leaders in a political shift some are likening to the “pink tide” of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Why Your Financial Planner Needs a Financial Planner
I would be very concerned if my financial planner didn’t have their own planner. Research shows that financial planning results in increased emotional and financial wellbeing, even for clients who are planners themselves. Use our Premium membership to add your logo to this article and send it to your clients and prospects.
SEC to Crack Down on Misleading ESG Claims With Fund Rules
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is taking its biggest step yet to stop money managers from misleading investors when they claim their funds are focused on environmental, social or governance issues.
Leadership and Character on Memorial Day
Memorial Day deserves the great recognition it gets. Remembering the service of those who died for our country is a civic duty. This includes remembering, doing and acting in a manner that there is no doubt the character of military and finance leaders must be first.
Inflation Forces Desperate Leaders to Try and Soften the Blow
The price of foods, fuels and other essential items are spiraling ever upward as Russia’s war on Ukraine compounds supply-chain woes stemming from the pandemic. Central banks may be in the driving seat when it comes to tackling inflation, but it’s governments that face the fallout and so are compelled to act.
The 1970s Had a Big Bright Side, Too
The parallels between the 2020s and the 1970s grow more numerous by the day. The economy faces the threat of stagflation. Fuel prices are surging, and shortages loom. Politicians are flailing. The international environment is deteriorating. The Supreme Court is revisiting the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Demographic Trends for the 50-and-Older Work Force
Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from the latest Employment Report for April. Consider: Today nearly one in three of the 65-69 cohort and one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.
Investing in People
When Aoifinn Devitt created The Fiftyfaces Podcast in 2020, she wanted to showcase the diversity of the world’s investors by telling their stories. Now, she tells Hugo her own story—from her start as a lawyer to her current role as the first female chief investment officer at Moneta, an investment advisor with $27 billion of assets under management. In this wide-ranging discussion, Aoifinn explains how the Russia-Ukraine conflict could change how we think about ESG, whether we’re in a new investing regime, and what she’s learned from podcasting.
Is a Rejection of Classical Finance Justified?
In an ambitious new book, the economist Andrew Smithers rejects core “Newtonian” principles of economics, replacing them with radical departures from conventional wisdom. But as I will explain, some of Smithers’ theories fail meet the standard of empirical verification.
The Income Annuity is the Constrained Investor’s Life Jacket
Imagine that you have joined some friends for a day of fishing. About two miles offshore, you sense that something is wrong. The small, single engine boat’s handling has changed. There seems to be more. Use our premium service to add your company’s logo and send this to clients.
Should Advisors Have More Than One Niche?
Firms often consider launching multiple niches rather than focusing on just one. Though sometimes successful, this approach can dissipate your marketing efforts. This article offers guidelines to determine whether having multiple niches is for you.
Colombia at Risk of Electing Its First Socialist President
On May 29, Colombia could elect its very first leftist president should Gustavo Petro receive a majority of the vote. The former congressman and mayor of the capital city of Bogotá, Petro is an unabashed admirer of and Hugo Chávez.
Into the Fire
If you haven’t noticed—perhaps because you live on Mars—inflation is here. Not just in the US but almost everywhere. Prices for everyday goods and services, including necessities like food, are climbing rapidly. The US Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% in the 12 months through March… and we know it understates categories like housing.
Elon Musk’s Twitter Gambit Tees Up a Who’s In-or-Out White Knight List
Twitter Inc., which is trying to defend itself against Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover bid, has a poison pill in place, so the next obvious move on the hostile M&A to-do list is likely already being contemplated: a white knight.
How to Plan Retirement Income for a Constrained Investor
In this article, I will explain how to structure an income strategy that best serves the needs of constrained investors. Demographic, economic, cultural, and social forces argue for a new approach to retirement planning.
More on the Yield Curve and Helping Ukraine
It’s Easter weekend, so we are going to revisit a 2018 letter about the yield curve. The yield curve is much misunderstood and misused by many analysts. This letter will give you the tools to understand the correct importance and relevance of the yield curve. And then, a few comments about Ukraine.
Institutional Investors Are Flexing Their ESG Muscles
People tend to associate environmental, social and governance investing with stock-picking, a way to sort through companies based on their ESG practices. But not every investor can be choosy about the companies they own. Big pension, endowment and sovereign wealth funds oversee tens of billions and even trillions of dollars, which means they have to own practically everything.
There's a Bull Market in Macro Doom
There is a genre of investment research that continuously predicts economic disaster that I call “macro doom.” It has become very popular. It seems that everyone is an expert in macroeconomics today, and they’re all predicting a bust of some kind.
Income Alternatives in a Rising Rate Environment
With many major market forces still to be determined, it is likely that 2022 will be characterized by transitions. One such transition, a rising rate environment, has historically resulted in the underperformance of traditional fixed income. As rates increase, fixed income exposures typically fall short, leaving investors with the need to reevaluate and consider alternative solutions to enhance their current allocations. Emerging markets debt, investment grade floating rate notes and business development companies (BDCs) may provide investors with alternative yield options while also offering liquidity, credit and quality.
Mom and Pop Buying Fewer Muni Bonds Directly as ETFs Heat Up
The value of bonds directly owned by households fell by $18 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, dropping to the lowest level since 2008, according to Federal Reserve data. Instead, those buyers are moving toward mutual funds and exchange traded funds, which have roughly doubled their muni holdings over the last decade.
Tesla-Backed Startup Made Cheap Power a Debt Burden for the World’s Poorest
As a solar panel was raised onto the roof of their mud-brick home in a Tanzanian village in sight of Mount Kilimanjaro, Akida Saidi and his wife felt giddy at the prospect of entering a new era. In a place where most residents make do with pit latrines instead of toilets and till their fields of maize and pigeon peas with hoes, suddenly having electricity would catapult them into the 21st century.
Demographics, Gender and Wealth: Profiting from The Retirement Income Revolution
Retirement income planning is the key to your future success. Winning the confidence of "Boomer" women investors is the key to your future success. Shifting how you think about annuities is the key to your future success. Wait! Which one is the key to my future success? The answer is, they all are!
Global Convertible Market Update: Portfolio Manager Q&A
Diverse opportunities in Global Convertibles, as well as structural features, provide tailwinds to counter rising rates and equity volatility. In rising rate environments, convertibles have historically done quite well relative to longer-duration traditional fixed income investments.
U.S. Economy Is Doomed Without Stronger Consumer Spending
The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Thursday that consumer spending fell 0.4% in February from January after adjusting for inflation. This may not seem like much, but real spending has dropped in three of the last four months. Without strength in household outlays, the economic expansion is doomed.
Poor Single Mothers Need Money, Not Husbands
For more than a quarter century, the U.S. government has been sending an unmistakable message to poor, single mothers: Get married. If America genuinely wants to address poverty and achieve gender equality, this has to change.
The yield curve is really just a symptom. I like to compare it to a fever—not serious in itself, but a sign you have an infection or some other ailment. An inverted yield curve means something is wrong in our economic body. So today we’ll consider what it means.
Greenwashing Amongst ESG: Finding True ESG Value
As clients clamor to invest in Environmental, Social, Governance, or ESG funds, advisors need to separate the truth from the tsunami of “greenwashing” that has clouded this rapidly-growing investment segment.
Ukraine War Hastens Investor Migration to Private Markets
Much of the commentary about the Ukraine war’s implications for the investment-management industry has tended to be both immediate and narrow, particularly in discussions about the spillovers for different segments. By zooming out, however, some longer-term ramifications become more apparent for both public and private markets.
The Case Against Rate Hikes for Millennials
It may be inconceivable to the moneyed class, but there are in fact very good reasons not to raise interest rates quickly or dramatically. Yes, inflation is worryingly high, Ukraine is burning and Covid-19 still threatens to upend supply chains. However, the reality many Americans face — if not low-income and middle-class workers across the globe — is quite different from what the stock market and go-to suite of economic indicators tell us.
Banks Demand More Protection on New Risk Amid Volatility
Buyout activity is picking up pace in Europe, but a number of banks are taking a cautious approach to new risk, looking for higher pricing, more flex protection and in some instances fuller fees on junk-rated debt underwrites against a backdrop of heightened volatility, inflation and rising rates.
America’s Retirement Crisis Is a Financial Crisis Too
America is facing a retirement crisis. Most experts agree that a significant portion of the population will lack the resources to live comfortably after they stop working. This, in turn, will place an increasing burden on the country’s social safety net.
Quick Thoughts: Staying Ahead of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Risks and Opportunities
Head of the Franklin Templeton Investment Institute, Stephen Dover, recently hosted a sustainable investing roundtable.
Helping Clients Reduce Tax with Medical Deductions
An important part of tax planning is medical expenses, which add up quickly. Your clients (including spouses and dependents) will have medical expenses throughout the year, and hanging onto those receipts could save them money this year.
Inflation TIPS for Fixed-Income Investors
What happens when you combine the tipping point of two deflationary forces—globalization and demographics—with a pandemic, epic supply-chain disruptions and an invasion in Europe? Inflation of a magnitude not seen since the 1970s. Some of the contributing factors may be transitory, but not all, and lingering inflation is likely to be higher than before. How should bond investors adapt?
Women Investors: 3 Things to Know
This year's theme is #BreakTheBias and I thought it might be fitting to look at a few of the common biases when it comes to female investors - and how financial advisers can work toward better addressing some of these, not only with clients, but with their teams as well.
Achieving Diversity through Empathy and Authenticity
Racial equity is imperative to ensure change in a world that is becoming more diverse. We all can lead with kindness and empathy when it comes to learning about the differences of others. We can’t continue to have conversations about racial equity that are not followed by actions that do more than level the playing field. C-suite executives are adding more DEI professionals to their leadership teams to drive internal changes. Organizations are promising upward mobility for Black and brown people. But they still do not see much representation. My guest today is Dana Wilson, and her goal is to enhance the visibility of financial professionals of color and break down barriers for Black and brown consumers around the country who have established wealth for their families or are looking to build it.
Female Financial Advisors: Breaking Biases and Barriers
This year, the theme for International Women's Day is #BreakTheBias. This theme celebrates the achievements that women have made, takes action for equality, and raises awareness against bias. What better way to honor the holiday than to examine how women are breaking down barriers in the financial services industry?
The Crisis in Ukraine: Authoritarianism’s Threat to the Next Economy
Authoritarian Petrostate dictators like Putin are attempting to thwart the critical transition to a lower carbon future. To combat the damage done by Petrostates, advisors can invest exclusively in the solutions to the problems Petrostates create, and to never invest in the causes of the problems themselves.
Four Counterpoints to ESG Investing Critics
Sustainable investment funds are mushrooming. Assets under management in Morningstar’s global sustainable fund universe surged to $2.75 trillion at December 31, 2021, nearly three times the pre-pandemic level, according to Morningstar.
Can Value Investing Work in Emerging Markets?
This paper tracks the evolution of the emerging markets asset class and describes some of the resulting unique characteristics that make a value investing discipline attractive in these markets today.
Serving Multicultural Clients
Diversity among financial planners improved in 2021, but the profession still has work to do to ensure all investors have the tools and resources they need to achieve successful financial outcomes for their clients. In this episode, James Seth Thompson will discuss his role in promoting financial literacy and expanding opportunities for diverse investors through his recruitment efforts at Bernstein.
Monetary Options Narrow as Ukraine Tensions Rise
The global economy has less policy flexibility to deal with a possible stagflationary shock, and central banks have few good options to counter possible financial market malfunction that would amplify economic challenges.
‘S’ in ESG Debt Proves Too Complex for Issuers Seeking Easy Wins
Governments that had propped up Covid-ravaged economies by issuing social bonds are now turning their attention to longer-term climate goals, while companies are keen for increased flexibility when spending proceeds from sales of environmental, social and governance (ESG) debt. That’s crimping the flow of social notes that typically fund specific projects such as job creation or affordable housing.
Salary Transparency Is Good for Everybody
Starting May 15, New York City will require every job posting to be accompanied by a minimum and maximum salary for the position. Colorado, Nevada, Connecticut, California, Washington and Maryland already have laws requiring some salary-range disclosure; Rhode Island will join them at the start of next year. Similar laws are under consideration in Massachusetts and South Carolina.