Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Apr 27, 2015

Retail brokers are shut out of the SEC's market reform efforts

By Jeff Benjamin

Retail brokerages are shut out of the SEC's advisory committee for protecting retail investors. Say what? 'We were kind of shocked' It has been 15 years since the dot-com bubble, and it would be difficult to say we're not in another tech bubble. Ignoring the data won't change the data Greece teeters on the brink as the debt payments come due. Scrambling for ways to assemble cash Respect what the stock market is telling you, and maybe even fear it, because the markets cares not about what you think. Staring at the stock market like a 'deer in headlights' ... Read full post

Apr 24, 2015

CEOs are passing the buck to the strength of the buck

By Jeff Benjamin

No longer blaming shortfalls on the weather, CEOs are now passing the buck to the strong dollar. The dollar is too strong and the dog ate my homework Wall Street's traders and analysts are split on what will happen with Brazil's scandal-ridden oil company, Petrobras. A mess is what investors expected, and that's what they got Is it the sign of a market top when an adultery website files to go public? Ashley Madison has 33 million members worldwide Financial scandals galore. Following the money behind Hillary Clinton is becoming an international adventure. When 'charitable work' intertwines with growing personal wealth and cut-throat political ambition ... Read full post

Apr 23, 2015

State Street gets the cold shoulder from financial advisers

By Jeff Benjamin

State Street gets poor marks from financial advisers, despite dedicated efforts to mend fences and build new relationships. A 'notable laggard in adviser support' The U.S. fracking industry is going down the drain in a hurry. Half the industry could bite the dust this year Five years later, the Flash Crash exposes major cracks in regulatory oversight. 'It kind of boggles my mind' Just in time for next tax season, the world's newest economy is seeking to become the ultimate tax haven. Welcome to Liberland: 'Live and let live' ... Read full post

Apr 22, 2015

Go-anywhere bond funds not for the faint of heart

By Jeff Benjamin

The closer the Fed gets to raising interest rates, the better the notion of an unconstrained bond fund sounds. Why hide out in cash and short-term bond strategies while waiting for higher yields when you can invest in a fund that has the flexibility to go virtually anywhere throughout the $56 trillion global fixed-income market?That's the theory, anyway. But it's a rhetorical question.Truth is, the fast-growing unconstrained bond fund category might be attracting a lot of traditional bond fund investors, but it is not and should not be treated as a straight-up replacement for traditional bond funds.Even in the most basic wrapper, bond math can be complicated. Throw in the flexibility to include international and emerging market debt, corporate and sovereign, everything from high yield to investment grade, including municipal and taxable government debt, plus derivative strategies to adjust duration exposure, and it stops looking like... Read full post

Apr 22, 2015

Bill Gross says he will short the German bund, eventually

By Jeff Benjamin

Bill Gross calls the 10-year German bund the 'short of a lifetime.' But you'll want to wait more than a year for the end of Europe's quantitative easing program. The bund is currently yielding 9.5 basis points China's financial risks come into clear focus, and the picture is no work of art. The 'mystery meat' of emerging markets Top-rated mutual funds that are putting the active in active management. “Go active or go home.”These are not funds that will be found timidly clinging to their benchmarks Dissecting the collective millennial spending mindset. Turns out they do spend money and they even like cars. Contrary to conventional wisdom about the generation ... Read full post

Apr 21, 2015

Bracing for the Greek exit

By Jeff Benjamin

Now might be a good time to start bracing for a Greek default, aka Grexit. The probability has never been this high Solving China's gold stash riddle for fun and profit. The world's largest producer and second-largest consumer of the precious metal As wonderful as the Roth IRA is, it's not for everyone all the time. Five reasons to take a pass on the Roth ... Read full post

Apr 20, 2015

Carlyle Group misses the mark with liquid alts

By Jeff Benjamin

Carlyle Group stalls in its effort to reach retail-class investors. The private equity firm that normally caters to institutional investors, is shutting down two liquid alternative mutual funds it launched last year. The retail dollar proves too elusive for some PE giants DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach says you shouldn't believe the popular analysis that the Fed's upcoming rate hike has already been priced into the markets. 'The ultimate consequences of all these extreme policies have yet to be felt and will be felt.' Beware of the lump-sum pension offer, because employers might not be providing enough information on the deal. You probably shouldn't take the offer A refresher course on reverse mortgages. Think about the initial costs, and risks ... Read full post

Apr 17, 2015

The riddle and the dilemma of global bonds

By Jeff Benjamin

If not even negative yields can bring a bond bull to their knees, what will? The riddle and the dilemma of global bonds Making the case for emerging markets, where bargains are still plentiful. 'There isn't any reason to become positive, just as there isn't any reason, per se, to be negative.' Whatever you say about hedge funder Cliff Asness, just don't call him a right-wing crank. “I'm a libertarian crank, not a right-wing one,” he said in response to a snarky write up by NY magazine, which went after Mr. Asness' opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Pension funds are being encouraged to 'agitate for sunshine.' Watching the fees of the underlying investments ... Read full post

Apr 16, 2015

Japan bumps China off the mountain as top holder of U.S. debt

By Jeff Benjamin

Japan now holds more U.S. debt than China, but China is right behind. Japan has $1.224 trillion, China has $1.223 trillion More big banks are bidding adieu to the student loan business. Just as more students are seeking loans. Wonder if it has anything to do with the trend toward students trying to avoid repaying their loans? Colorado's weed tax revenue falls far short of expectations, possibly proving that taxing something that is really easy to grow isn't the silver bullet it was thought to be. Bummer, dude A world of 2 billion unbanked people are seen as shut out from the financial system, but the total is down from 2.5 billion in 2011.The Middle East stands out with just 14% of adults having bank accounts ... Read full post

Apr 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton goes after Wall Street

By Jeff Benjamin

Hillary Clinton comes out swinging at the financial services industry. Taking issue with CEO compensation. No mention of her $300,000 speaking fees. Corporations are getting better at dodging the taxman. Among S&P 500 Index companies, 10% do not pay corporate taxes. Doing what it takes to get around the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world Last year was good for Big Pharma. Prescription drug spending hits a new high.IPXL, POZN, SUPN Happy April 15th. Here's how the government is spending your hard-earned money. 15.3 cents of every tax dollar goes toward interest on the federal debt ... Read full post

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