Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

12:01 am EST

Financial markets can smell a rate hike coming

By Jeff Benjamin

The equity markets are abruptly adjusting to the notion that the Fed might finally get off the sidelines and move forward with an interest rate hike. If not September, then definitely October, or most probably December, or January … The first rate hike since 2006 could trigger global market volatility. The Fed intends to communicate its plans 'as clearly as possible' If you want to retire at 55, it can be done. But you have to start preparing before you turn 50. Stay appropriately aggressive What that big Supreme Court ruling actually means for 401(k) plans. Potential problems that are hard to see ... Read full post

May 26, 2015

Morningstar doubles down on expense ratio disparity debate

By Jeff Benjamin

The puzzling riddle of expense ratios for many liquid alternative mutual funds is not going away, as illustrated by last week's detailed post by Josh Charlson, director of manager research for alternative strategies at Morningstar Inc.For financial advisers, trying to answer the riddle often means another layer of research on certain liquid alt strategies, or potentially screening out funds that might otherwise make the cut.At issue are some glaring discrepancies between fund expense ratios reported by Morningstar and those listed on fund company websites and in prospectuses.One of the best examples of how advisers and investors can be misled or confused by what it actually cost to run a particular strategy can be found in the $377 million Vanguard Market Neutral Fund (VMNFX).Morningstar lists the fund's expense ratio at a mere 25 basis points, but The Vanguard Group Inc.'s website lists the same fund's expense ratio at 1.6%. That's... Read full post

May 26, 2015

Economic growth is fading fast in the so-called recovery

By Jeff Benjamin

The pace of the country's economic recovery is becoming more of a riddle than a reality. We can't keep blaming the weather The Greek debt crisis for dummies. Everything you need to know. Can Greece afford to pay? A handy checklist for those nearing retirement. Forecast post-retirement expenses Do we really need to use cash anymore when there are so many better options available? Alternate means of paying are encroaching on cash's market share ... Read full post

May 22, 2015

Tim Geithner spills the beans on how he navigated the financial crisis

By Jeff Benjamin

Getting up close and personal with Tim Geithner. The former Treasury Secretary reflects on the financial crisis. 'One great thing about our country is that when governments take actions like this, you can test their merits and legality in court.' Investing in that first piece of expensive art is the easy part. Here's what you need to do next. Step one, find a good insurance adviser The stocks that hedge funds love the most right now. Goldman breaks it down When really smart people make really bad economic forecasts. Nobody's perfect, but these aren't even close. December 2007: Abbey Joseph Cohen says S&P 500 will hit 1,675 in a year. Instead, the index falls to 900. ... Read full post

May 21, 2015

Phony adviser convicted for conning a real adviser out of $11.3 million

By Jeff Benjamin

A con-man to the stars, who was masquerading as a financial adviser, has been found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering related to $11.3 million he conned out of another financial adviser. Busted while pretending to represent Carlos Slim The gloves come off at the Justice Department and the big banks are taking some hits. Banks get rap sheets Signs of life for the Japanese economy. But approach with caution. MFG, MTU, NJ, SMFG, SNE, TM Goodbye, Dave Letterman. Thanks for making the world a meaner place. Is there a chance we can now get back to comedy with a little heart? ... Read full post

May 20, 2015

A portfolio strategy that goes all in for alts to dial down market risk

By Jeff Benjamin

For a lot of financial advisers, a 5% or 10% allocation to alternative investments is still viewed either as pushing the limits or as checking off the box for having some exposure to alternatives.But what about a 45% allocation that represents the core of a client's investment portfolio?That, essentially, is the model employed by a lot of multibillion-dollar endowments and foundations, and it's the model being rolled out for individual investors by Dick Pfister, chief executive and president of AlphaCore Capital.It is a strategy that is sure to attract plenty of critics and naysayers, particularly among advisers who believe the stock market can grow to the sky and bonds can still be measured by past performance.But at this point in the market cycle, with stocks riding the second-longest bull market since World War II and bond yields pegged to an unprecedented Fed-imposed floor, alternatives are starting to look like the more... Read full post

May 20, 2015

George Soros pitches a currency move to prevent a third world war

By Jeff Benjamin

Billionaire investor George Soros might have made a lot of money 23 years ago with his now famous bet against the British pound, but it's not clear if he still carries enough weight to influence the global political debate. Regardless, he's calling on the United States to allow China's currency to join the International Monetary Fund's basket of currencies. How to avoid a third world war, according to George Trying to figure out which pin will prick the bond bubble. The ingredients of a bubble Greece is painting the European Central Bank into a corner. For Greece, it comes down to being bailed out or defaulting Here are the six best things you can do to prepare for retirement if you're 50 years old. No. 4: Deal with debt ... Read full post

May 19, 2015

Goldman Sachs says the bull market is getting long in the tooth

By Jeff Benjamin

How much higher can stocks go from here? Not much, according to Goldman analysts. The most recent record high could be the last for a while Forget about Tom Brady and the Patriots, the real 'Deflategate' belongs to the Federal Reserve. 'We know a slowdown is happening' Just when it looked like oil prices were heading toward some kind of equilibrium that might bring some U.S. production back on line, OPEC has pushed the peddle to the metal. Losing faith in the latest oil price rally Depicting Wall Street from a different perspective. 'Equity' becomes a female empowerment movie ... Read full post

May 18, 2015

Gold bulls celebrate the strongest run since January

By Jeff Benjamin

Gold bulls have their day in the sun as the dollar's run takes a breather. Gold sees its best run since January The bond market is still queasy from the recent selloff, but analysts are at least forecasting that the worst is over. 'There is no question that rates are going to be higher' No longer sugar-coating it, economists are saying the U.S. economy is going from slow to slower. Inflation will be far below the Fed's target of 2% Selling in May and going away only works in theory. Just because it makes you feel comfortable doesn't make it a smart investing strategy ... Read full post

May 15, 2015

Your clients might need some hand-holding for that first rate hike

By Jeff Benjamin

Even with the chances of a June interest rate hike getting slimmer by the day, there is no harm in helping investors better understand what it means for them when the Fed does start to tighten. A primer on guiding clients through the first rate hike since 2006 In the category of, "No wonder college is so darn expensive," a six-person asset management team at Harvard University was paid $49.3 million in 2013, representing a 70% raise over 2012. The university has been linking the money managers' pay to performance since 2012 A whole bunch of Avon Products Inc. investors got punked on Thursday when a takeover hoax led to four times the stock's normal trading volume. 'Someone walked away with a big pot of money.' Turns out, CEO power and influence is vastly overrated. But they still make the big bucks. The most hamstrung employee in the company ... Read full post

Older »