Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

6:30 am EST

Despite the temptation, an all-stock portfolio is crazy

By Jeff Benjamin

In case you needed another reason to diversify beyond just the roaring ride of an all-stock portfolio. Rarely is an investor able to stomach the full ride. Believe it or not, investors are increasing their bets on higher interest rates. Sensing a Fed move in December. Thanks to the DOL fiduciary rule, we should get used to 'cookie cutter' portfolios. Low-cost sameness. Time to knot up that tie, polish your shoes, and go ask your boss for a raise. Wage growth is at a post-financial-crisis high. ... Read full post

12:01 am EST

Investopedia Anxiety Index a step ahead of the VIX?

By Jeff Benjamin

In what could represent a new twist on investment crowdsourcing, the financial encyclopedia website Investopedia has started measuring online searches as a way to forecast activity in the financial markets.Based on some relatively condensed back tests of four years, it appears that this somewhat bizarre, but somewhat logical, new gauge could be another indicator of looming market volatility. What makes it most interesting, and potentially most useful to financial advisers, is that the so-called Investopedia Anxiety Index has shown a pattern of being a few steps ahead of the closely watched CBOE volatility index.The VIX, commonly dubbed the fear index, measures the option market's expectations for stock market volatility. Getting a step or two ahead of that could present a real advantage.According to Investopedia's research over the four-year period through May, moving in and out of the S&P 500 Index based on extreme spikes in search... Read full post

Oct 21, 2016

Investor exodus forcing hedge fund managers to take big pay cuts

By Jeff Benjamin

The hits just keep on coming to the hedge fund space as managers are now expecting a 34% pay cut. Squeaking by on just $300,000. Yikes. Hints of new European monetary stimulus has pushed the greenback to a seven-month high. Leaving un ultra-loose monetary policy unchanged. When JP Morgan Chase committed $75 million to help small businesses, the natural question was, what's in it for JP Morgan? Why do big companies help small companies? Are health insurance companies even factoring in risks related to global warming? Living in denial. ... Read full post

Oct 20, 2016

A pricey stock market may get pricier

By Jeff Benjamin

Yes, stocks are expensive, get used to it, says one gutsy analyst. Multiples could expand further. The simple and straight forward investing approach applied by Warren Buffett might not be for everyone. Harder than it looks. In honor of the 29th anniversary of the infamous Black Monday stock market crash, it's important to remember how the stock market survived. GDP never went negative. Bob Dylan, being Bob Dylan, has been ignoring his Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel committee still can't get him on the phone. ... Read full post

Oct 19, 2016

Divorce might be the worst financial plan of all

By Jeff Benjamin

Divorce can crush just about any retirement savings strategy. And women generally suffer more than men. The later a woman divorces, the more likely she is to be working late in life. The road to real riches often begins in Congress, where the political class leverages power and influence to make the really big bucks in the private sector. Former lawmakers get filthy rich sitting on corporate boards. Eaton Vance's NextShares gains traction as the answer to active-management woes. Still a long way to go for these kinds of funds. The presidential election is now seen as so lopsided that at least one bookmaker is already paying off for a Hillary Clinton victory. Counting the votes before they're hatched. ... Read full post

Oct 18, 2016

Goldman Sachs sounds the alarm on bond duration risk

By Jeff Benjamin

Goldman Sachs is sending out a warning on the realities of duration risk in bond portfolios. Now would be a good time to rethink that long-dated bond exposure. Just a modest backup in rates could inflict outsized losses. Regardless of which candidate wins this unorthodox presidential election, there's an ETF strategy to employ. Gotcha covered. Separating fact from fiction when it comes to ETF investing. Myth No. 2: ETFs are riskier than mutual funds. The bloom is now officially off the Obamacare rose. The latest Democrat to publicly eat crow. ... Read full post

Oct 17, 2016

The Fed ponders ignoring its inflation mandate

By Jeff Benjamin

About that 2% inflation target, the Fed's Janet Yellen is now hedging her bets. Whatever it takes to avoid moving interest rates off the floor. Dishing about a “high-pressure economy.” Despite all those big speaking fees, it turns out a Hillary Clinton presidency would not be good for banks. Sorry, guys. Banks will face new challenges to profitability if Clinton wins. What's the best way for financial advisers to protect themselves from DOL fiduciary rule litigation? Evaluate, review and document. It might not be easy to find the perfect job, but if you're not a people person here are some places to start. The best places to work for people who don't really like people. ... Read full post

Oct 14, 2016

Financial wisdom from Deepak Chopra

By Jeff Benjamin

Deepak Chopra is getting into the financial advice business, sort of. “If people ignore their well-being, they're going to have a financial crisis.” The cross-continental merger between Janus Capital and Henderson Global is said to be all about the asset management growth potential of the U.S. market. “The U.S. will continue to be the largest market for absolute growth.” The initial public stock offering of Luen Wong Group Holdings might have set a record with a 6,000% pop, but analysts are saying it is not worth the trouble for most investors. “My advice for small investors is to stay away.” Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is looking to unseat Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Taking on the “Wall Street girl.” ... Read full post

Oct 13, 2016

Deutsche Bank settles with regulators for $9.5M

By Jeff Benjamin

Deutsche Bank has agreed to pony up a cool $9.5 million for failing to safeguard certain non-public information. There was a failure to implement policies to prevent analysts from disclosing information. Wells Fargo chairman and chief executive John Stumpf has apparently fallen on his sword as part of the fallout from the bank's questionable sales tactics, which already resulted in a $185 million settlement. The resignation, effective immediately, follows an agreement by Mr. Stumpf to forfeit $41 million in unvested equity. As if it matters now, the Fed almost came close to just about considering an interest rate hike last month. Whew, that was a close one. Still waiting for “further evidence” before making any moves. Neuberger Berman is digging in its heels, and plans to fight a lawsuit by a former employee who claims a fund in the company's 401(k) plan violated self-dealing provisions in the pension law. Most... Read full post

Oct 12, 2016

Stock market falls into earnings season

By Jeff Benjamin

Earnings season kicks off with a little stock market selloff. Just enough of a dip to keep us on our toes, but not enough to keep us up at night. “You are coming up against very low expectations.” The price of gold is signaling an increased chance of a December rate hike. “The market's starting to get some belief that the Fed's going to follow through.” New questions arise about the 4% retirement rule. There are reasons it might (or might not) work. The big pensions of big league baseball players will make you wish you had spent more time learning to hit the curve ball. Ten years' experience will get you $210,000 a year in retirement. ... Read full post

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