Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Sep 30, 2016

Hedge funds are becoming irrelevant

By Jeff Benjamin

Could this be the beginning of the end for the traditional hedge fund model? The once-exclusive and elite club is being hit by a “profound sea change in investor attitudes.” Donald Trump's “ugly” stock market bubble comments earn some credibility from Morgan Stanley. The fact-check, check mate. The tragic life and death of hedge funder Sanjay Valvani. Found dead the day after Father's Day. Another crushing blow to the floundering efforts of Obamacare. An insurer created to sell Obamacare is leaving Obamacare. Awkward. This is the second Obamacare-focused startup that has rolled back it plans. ... Read full post

Sep 29, 2016

More dark clouds loom over Wells Fargo

By Jeff Benjamin

Wells Fargo gets yet another black eye as California suspends business relationships with the bank. Criminal inquiries have been opened. The DOL fiduciary rule presents financial advisers with new challenges and opportunities when it comes to target-date funds. Establishing a process for selecting and reviewing TDFs. It might take a strong stomach, but there are still ways to get 10% dividend yields. Business development companies. Should companies that don't offer 401(k) plans be required to enroll employees in individual retirement accounts? Millions of workers have no 401(k) plan. ... Read full post

Sep 28, 2016

Testing the limits of ETF tax efficiency

By Jeff Benjamin

Investors in exchange-traded funds don't normally have to fret about tax bills, because tax efficiency is one of the main sales pitches right along with transparency, liquidity and lower fees.But thanks to recent adjustments in certain indexes that some ETFs track, the threat of a tax bill has forced some ETF providers into scramble mode to try and limit the fallout — the full extent of which remains unclear.In essence, when S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI Inc. created an eleventh sector in September by separating real estate from financials, $30 billion worth of financial-sector ETFs had to figure out how to cleanly remove nearly $6 billion worth of real estate exposure.How the handful of firms most impacted by the index shift managed the challenge says plenty about the ingenuity in the ETF space, especially when there was no blueprint to follow.But it also says plenty about a reality of passive-ETF investing: The indexed ETFs... Read full post

Sep 28, 2016

Morgan Stanley: DOL fiduciary rule turns brokerage business into a buy

By Jeff Benjamin

Morgan Stanley believes the DOL rule is making the brokerage business a more interesting investment category. Something about a $22 trillion opportunity. “This opens up a larger addressable market than was possible in the past.” Would a Donald Trump presidency mean the end for Janet Yellen? That might be the only way we ever see higher interest rates. The “Fed is doing political things.” In case you've already forgotten about the last housing bubble, it's time to start worrying about the next one. The key driver is loose monetary policy. Don't ignore these realities about 401(k) plans. The 4% rule may not work. ... Read full post

Sep 27, 2016

The downside of negative interest rates

By Jeff Benjamin

Don't buy the hype; negative interest rates hurt more than they help. Benefitting borrowers, but taxing savers and retirees. What central bankers see that nobody else does. Measuring the gravity of the DOL rule has 18% of advisers thinking of packing it in. Most wirehouse reps are preparing for more holistic planning. Is gold the next speculative investment? If you think gold is risky, you are correct. A list of ridiculous things you shouldn't put on your resume. Smoking should not be listed as a hobby. ... Read full post

Sep 26, 2016

Tonight's presidential debate puts the markets on edge

By Jeff Benjamin

Tonight's presidential debate will be watched as a potential disruptor for the equity markets. It all depends on how well the candidates can execute their fight plans. “The markets may react to a perceived shift in momentum.” Taking a look at the nitty-gritty details of negative bond yields. Following the math, if not the logic. The long- and short-view of investing as the stock market ebbs and flows. Food for thought. Short-term investing is about reacting to the market. If watching the video of Elizabeth Warren grandstand about the evils of Wells Fargo's scandal doesn't give you enough satisfaction, you have other options. Now is a good time to switch banks. ... Read full post

Sep 23, 2016

Alan Greenspan is committed to ending Dodd-Frank

By Jeff Benjamin

Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan is not letting up on his distaste for the Dodd-Frank Act that was created in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis. “I don't think this bill is working at all and would like to see it repealed.” Oilman T. Boone Pickens has some bones to pick with Barack Obama's energy policies. President Obama has “been a complete loser for energy.” What the big traders got right about the Fed's latest decision to do nothing. Striking a blow to the U.S. dollar. Try this simple and easy morning routine to boost your daily productivity. Try making your bed. ... Read full post

Sep 22, 2016

Calling out the Federal Reserve's political leanings

By Jeff Benjamin

Has the Federal Reserve become a political arm of the executive branch of government? The new normal of monetary policy. The stock market has become an “Obama paper bull.” The SEC's case against Leon Cooperman, alleging insider trading, centers on a board seat at Atlas Pipeline Partners. There were attempts to cover his tracks. She puts on a nice show for the cameras, but Elizabeth Warren might need to bone up on her 'clawback assets' law. You won't get any money from Wells Fargo by just screaming at the CEO. Next up, lengthy and expensive litigation. Even people with hefty incomes have a hard time saving money, so you're not alone. Americans are some of the worst savers in the developed world. ... Read full post

Sep 21, 2016

TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts discovers a new love for Donald Trump

By Jeff Benjamin

TD Ameritrade's founder has discovered a new love for Donald Trump after fighting to block the Republican's nomination for president. Billionaire Joe Ricketts is now backing Trump. Goldman puts a stake in the ground on the side of wage growth leading to inflation, not the other way around. Flipping Fed thinking on its head. Elizabeth Warren continues her rampage of taking on Wall Street bankers from her perch. That's what she said. For anyone who didn't already know it, paying for premium gasoline is a waste of money. Premium gas is not a special treat for your car. ... Read full post

Sep 20, 2016

Liquid alternative funds failed to prove their worth post-Brexit?

By Jeff Benjamin

Liquid alternative funds are supposed to be the shock absorbers for investors in times of stress. Did alts prove their salt post-Brexit? Read the views from Goldman Sachs and others Why didn't lower oil prices help the economy more? Because the reduction was offset by the oil sector's investments in plant and equipment, making the net result practically zero. Do you find yourself with 12 Wells Fargo Bank accounts you didn't know you had? Here's how to get your money back. Wondering who has been buying gold lately? Try the world's central banks. ... Read full post

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