Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Apr 29, 2016

T. Rowe Price shareholders vote down climate-change proposal

By Jeff Benjamin

T. Rowe Price shareholders are supporting the asset manager's position of not disclosing more details about the environmental impacts of the underlying holdings making up the company's mutual funds. There's 'not enough information out there to make investment decisions.' Not one for pulling punches, T. Boone Pickens says his streak of never voting for a Democrat will not be broken this year. 'Hillary has got so many problems.' What are we to make of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers joining a bitcoin firm? The man is looking toward the future. Barack Obama says Wall Street has changed under his leadership. So, there. 'It's not something that you can just redesign and break up and put back together again without consequences.' ... Read full post

Apr 28, 2016

BofA's North Carolina HQ gives CEO Moynihan platform to talk transgender issues

By Jeff Benjamin

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan doubles down on transgender rights stance in North Carolina. Taking a stand when your company is headquartered in a state that just passed a controversial new bathroom law. As the presidential primaries wind down, the race is starting to look like the pursuit of cracking down on Wall Street. At least that's the popular sales pitch from some candidates. Money has a better chance of buying happiness than it does buying a candidate that's friendly to Wall Street. Pacific Life Insurance Co. wades deeper into the smart-beta waters with the acquisition of Cadence Capital. Adding $4 billion in assets under management. If you're living in an expensive house, you should hope it's not located in Illinois, New York, or New Hampshire because the property taxes are highest in the nation. Best places to own a big house, from a property tax perspective, include Alabama, South Dakota, and Hawaii. ... Read full post

Apr 27, 2016

Almost nobody is good at timing the market

By Jeff Benjamin

The temptation to try and time the market will always be there. But don't kid yourself because most of us are lousy market timers. The impact of emotions and risk aversion. It is time to be wary of those energy-company dividends. They are not sustainable. The latest downside of cheap energy. The adage about 'selling in May and going away' takes on a different meaning when it's an election year, especially an election year like this one. The summer looks like it could be a wild ride. If you decide to quit a job don't let it turn into a 'Kelly-Michael' mess. Navigating the exit while respecting your co-workers. ... Read full post

Apr 26, 2016

Fixed-income heavyweights ponder the 'most dangerous' bond market ever

By Jeff Benjamin

The world's largest and most powerful fixed-income managers are starting to take sides regarding the level of risk building in $7.8 trillion worth of government bonds. With more central bankers turning to negative rates as a form of last-ditch monetary policy, the simple reality of duration is becoming a very serious matter. It won't take much of a backup to inflict outsized losses. When it comes to target-date funds, it is often less about the product and more about the investor or adviser making a true long-term commitment. The key to their success stems from their broad use within employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. Even if you aren't Prince, you should have a will. The importance of clarifying who gets what. Fans of big government will be pleased to learn that the amount of time Americans spend filling out government forms continues to grow at a steady clip. It is estimated that Americans will spend 10.8 billion... Read full post

Apr 25, 2016

George Soros can't stop hating on the Chinese economy

By Jeff Benjamin

George Soros digs in on his call for a hard landing for China. The push back follows a line of thinking about the Chinese economy being different. We're talking about a country that is very good at denying or ignoring the obvious. Never underestimate the ability of ETF providers to uncover new niches of market exposure. The Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY) carves a corner out of existing consumer discretionary ETFs to give investors access to companies generating at least 70% of revenues from online and virtual sales. The debut product from Amplify Investments and ETF veteran Christian Magoon. Reasons to be wary of forecasts from gurus, even if the guru is DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach. Accountability would collapse the forecasting game. Uber's smooth ease of use could get a little awkward if drivers start asking for tips. As drivers rate passengers, they could start rating non-tippers. ... Read full post

Apr 22, 2016

Hedge funder sues his lawyer from jail over a 'rushed' home sale

By Jeff Benjamin

For convicted hedge fund fraudster, Michael Balboa, the ultimate salt in the wound was having to sell his home under pressure to pay his legal fees. Now he's suing his lawyer from jail. Maybe Mr. Balboa will think twice the next time he gets an urge to inflate the value of Nigerian bonds. If the world's largest wealth manager is upping its allocation to hedge funds, shouldn't we all be doing the exact same thing? UBS zigs while everyone else is zagging. The long, sad history of cutting earnings forecasts. It happens all the time, but 2016 stands out for being particularly bad. According to somebody who spent a lot of time studying this, the best way to end an email is with the word 'best.' And there are 27 ways you shouldn't end an email. Surprisingly, signing an email 'xoxo' is inappropriate because of the hugs, not the kisses. ... Read full post

Apr 21, 2016

The active management edge is found furthest from the benchmark

By Jeff Benjamin

The decade-long run of money moving out of actively managed mutual funds in favor of passive indexes and exchange-traded products speaks volumes about investors' palate for active management these days.Clearly, the bull market has not been kind to active strategies, in general. But that's no reason for financial advisers to blindly jump on the bandwagon of an all-passive approach, as many have.While a lot of active funds are not beating their benchmarks in some of these beta-friendly cycles, a lot of them are. The key for advisers is weeding through the expansive universe, which starts with looking for active managers who are not simply hugging the benchmark in an overly cautious effort to not get beat by it.This has become almost an obsession for University of Notre Dame professor of finance Martijn Cremers, who has written multiple research papers and even helped launch a website ActiveShare.info aimed an uncovering the truly active... Read full post

Apr 21, 2016

Donald Trump to Janet Yellen: 'If I'm elected, you're fired'

By Jeff Benjamin

Donald Trump is determined to illustrate his financial savvy by threatening to replace Janet Yellen as Fed Chair if he is elected. Can't help but wonder if this is the kind of thing that will motivate supporters of Mr. Trump to rush off to vote. Making the Fed great again. Wall Streeters are growing tired of Bernie Sanders' populist rhetoric, and they're starting to wonder out loud why the socialist doesn't try living in a socialist country before trying to make the U.S. a socialist country. “Spend a year in Cuba.” While you've been focused on gold, silver has found its groove. The shiniest of the shiny things. It was a close one, but Alexander Hamilton will maintain his place on the $10 bill, but now Andrew Jackson is facing an uphill battle to stay on the $20 bill. Meanwhile, it now costs the government (I mean, taxpayers) 1.7 cents for every penny it mints. Harriet Tubman to replace Jackson, as Hamilton is saved in ... Read full post

Apr 20, 2016

Two types of investors are driving the stock market rally

By Jeff Benjamin

With U.S. stocks up some 15% from their Feb. 11 low, some are wondering what's driving the market. Analysts say it's simple: many investors fear missing out, while others see no alternatives to stocks. The IMF just shaved its 2016-17 growth projections for the U.S. economy. But apparently the folks at Goldman Sachs didn't get the memo. If you're married with kids, own your home and have two steady paychecks coming in, how big should your emergency fund be? Experts say it should be equivalent to six months of the take-home pay of the biggest earner. Federal Aviation Administration records show that one of GOP hopeful Donald Trump's jets has been flying for months with an expired registration. The Donald's airplane lost its registered status in January after failure to pay a $5 fee to the FAA. ... Read full post

Apr 19, 2016

Analyst sees gold hitting $3,000 an ounce over next three years

By Jeff Benjamin

Gold just finished its best quarter in 30 years to become the best-performing asset class among commodities. Is the yellow metal entering a new bull market? A precious metals analyst predicts gold could reach $3,000 an ounce over the next three years. With the looming elimination of file-and-suspend at the end of April, some are wondering if they have any remaining Social Security benefit-claiming strategies they can use. Fear not, there are more strategies waiting to be exploited. Thinking of rolling over your 401(k) or saving for your kid's college education but can't pull the trigger? Through Friday, Morningstar is offering to help indecisive investors cross those jobs off their checklists as part of its Get It Done Week. New York holds it presidential primary today. But about a third of the state's registered voters won't be able to take part. The Nation explains why one of the bluest states has some of the worst voting laws. ... Read full post

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