Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

12:01 am EST

Fallout at Fortress Investment Group

By Jeff Benjamin

The dust is being kicked up at Fortress Investment Group, including the departure of a top hedge fund manager and the closing of a flagship fund in the wake of a really bad run. Michael Novogratz hits the bricks When it comes to retirement saving, the motto is always 'better late than never.' But if you are a later starter, or if you know somebody who is, there are some strategies beyond just 'sock away as much as you can, then save some more.' Be aggressive, but not too aggressive Salty Wall Streeters share some insights on the best advice they have received over the years. 'It's not who you know, it's not what you know – it's who knows you' In a nod to the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, Angus Deaton, here's a sample of his own words on how the rich are writing the rules. The voting patterns of U.S. Congressmen are 'very closely aligned with the preference of their wealthy constituents' ... Read full post

Oct 12, 2015

Banks take center stage in earnings season

By Jeff Benjamin

All eyes will be on banks this week and earnings season welcomes the reports from the financial sector. 8.4% expected growth Deep inside the Fed's minutes it becomes clear nobody really thinks the U.S. economy is doing very well. The failure remains a puzzle Precious-metal investors have been taking all the bad economic news to the bank. Recovering from the 'summer doldrums' For most Americans, falling gas prices has been adding up to a slightly higher quality of life. The savings is mostly being spent ... Read full post

Oct 9, 2015

Hillary Clinton's plan to prevent stock market crashes

By Jeff Benjamin

Hillary Clinton has a plan to prevent the next stock market crash. Step one: New fees for taking investment risks, because taking investment risks aren't risky enough already, or something like that. Nirvana in a nutshell The juiciest tidbits from Bill Gross' lawsuit against Pimco. The lawsuit takes jabs at a lot of people Women are generally better savers than men, but that still isn't enough to help them fill their retirement-savings shortfall. Hamstrung by earning less and living longer Seniors be warned, Medicare Part B premiums are heading through the roof next year. It all comes down to COLA for Social Security ... Read full post

Oct 8, 2015

Wall Street is now fretting over the threat of another recession

By Jeff Benjamin

The word 'recession' is now being used openly on Wall Street, in case you needed more proof that the U.S. economy is barely moving forward. Frayed nerves on the Street Insurance companies are scrambling to anticipate and then navigate the Fed's next monetary policy move, because a rate hike will affect annuity products differently. A rate hike could alter current and potential annuity yields and payouts Retiree healthcare cost are going in the wrong direction in a hurry. Up 11% from a year ago Don't buy the hype, October is not really a bad month for stocks. Over the past five years, no month has had better returns than October ... Read full post

Oct 7, 2015

Investors facing the dark side of MLP investing

By Jeff Benjamin

Investors who have chased the predictable income of master limited partnerships since the financial crisis should now be recognizing the flipside of a strategy that has benefitted from rising commodity prices and unprecedented monetary policy.True believers in MLPs, which basically represent fee-collecting infrastructure for oil and gas, are clinging to history and, in some cases, fundamentals as reasons to hang in there. In 2008, for instance, the Tortoise Midstream MLP Index dropped 38% only to gain 76% in 2009.But that was back when commodity prices were screaming, the Federal Reserve was just getting started on its record-setting quantitative easing program and there was no such thing as an MLP mutual fund.Through Sept. 30, MLPs, as measured by the Tortoise Midstream MLP Index, are down 42% from their August 2014 peak and are facing a double threat. Commodity prices are way down and the Fed is getting ready to raise interest rates. ... Read full post

Oct 7, 2015

More distressing news for the 'Diva of Distressed' Lynn Tilton

By Jeff Benjamin

'Diva of Distressed' Lynn Tilton is now being charged with 'grossly' mismanaging $100 million in investor assets. The latest charges say risky investments went bust. Denying 'these baseless allegations in the strongest possible terms' Trump's plan could give Main Street an advantage over Wall Street. One Percenters on the ropes Things can't get much worse for coal, and that's the good news. 'You're kind of waiting for supply and demand to rectify itself' Daily fantasy sports take a big hit from a front-running scandal. It will be interesting to see if player participation drops off from here. No outside audit to ensure rules are followed ... Read full post

Oct 6, 2015

Bank of America isn't banking on a 4Q stock market rally

By Jeff Benjamin

A lack of corporate outlooks this earnings season could be a bad sign for stocks over the next few months. The risk vs. reward for stocks The odds of a Fed rate hike this month are getting slimmer by the day. Meanwhile, some folks are still holding out hope for a Fed move this year. October is off the table, but not December Perhaps stating the obvious, Ben Bernanke says it's “not obvious” that the U.S. economy can handle a 1% rate hike. Defending his own policies If consumers followed the advice and forecasts of economists, the economy would be in much better shape. Nobody figured that consumers would be saving so much money ... Read full post

Oct 5, 2015

A weak outlook for earnings doesn't bode well for stocks

By Jeff Benjamin

The stock market hunkers down for a rough earnings season. The market's worst quarter in four years shows no sign of reversing course. Corporate earnings are expected to decline 4.1% What to really expect from a 60/40 allocation to stocks and bonds. If you consider it in terms of five-year returns it is a much smoother ride When a billionaire hedge funder goes on a multicity real estate shopping spree, is it time to buy REITs? Setting price records in three cities Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke relies on hindsight to say how things should have been handled in the wake of the financial crisis. There should have been 'more accountability at the individual level' ... Read full post

Oct 2, 2015

Active fund managers took it on the chin in the third quarter

By Jeff Benjamin

The third quarter was not kind to active fund managers, with two-thirds unable to beat their benchmarks. Relative performance is not always your friend Nouriel Roubini calls the latest meltdown in the Middle East the biggest global risk. They don't call him 'Dr. Doom' for nothing. There is no greater geopolitical risk The Fed will be watching wages for any indication that it can raise rates. Wage growth as the wild card And, just for the heck of it, let's kick in the possibility of an October rate hike. How really rich people make sure their kids are also really rich. Good help doesn't come cheap ... Read full post

Oct 1, 2015

Hedge fund marketers have independent advisers in their sights

By Jeff Benjamin

Now that hedge funds have the green light to market their wares, they are zeroing in on independent financial advisers. It might be a good time for advisers to bone up on their hedge-speak. An opportunity for hedge funds to reach “tens or hundreds” of potential investors Meet the Hedge Clippers, the dogged activists specifically targeting hedge funds for all that they represent and any other reason that comes to mind. 'The economy works if you're a hedge fund billionaire and it doesn't if you're a waitress' Commercial real estate is not for the meek, but those with strong stomachs could find big rewards. Accepting the risks of rising interest rates How bad was the third quarter for stocks? The Dow would need a 1,600-point run to get back to even. Quarterly carnage ... Read full post

Older »