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Despite congressional relief, impending Puerto Rico debt default could trip up municipal bond investors

June 30, 2016

As Puerto Rico inches ever closer to defaulting on its next debt payment, Congress has stepped up to try to help the island find a way out of its suffocating financial woes, which includes $70 billion worth of debt on top of $40 billion in underfunded...

The markets brace for Puerto Rico's default

June 30, 2016

The markets are bracing for the next shoe to drop in the form of a default by Puerto Rico. The plan to default on $1 billion worth of general obligation bonds. With GE Capital now off the list of financial institutions the government considers...

The case for favoring revenue bonds over general obligation bonds

June 13, 2016

A municipal bond is a municipal bond is a municipal bond. Anyone who believes that to be true has failed to see the increasingly idiosyncratic nature of the municipal marketplace. A testament to that fact: The Barclays Puerto Rico Index declined...

Why the inventor of 401(k)s came to view them as 'monsters'

May 19, 2016

The father of the 401(k) grew to think the plans were better at sending fees back to the financial industry than helping savers. “He believed in doing the right thing.” Mark Cuban says with “100% certainty” that the market will tank...

Survey of 50 states shows 'stable' finances, for most

May 15, 2016

For municipal bond investors, surveying the 50 states is a bit like attending a high school reunion. Some folks are doing great, while Ralphie and Julie really need to check into rehab. The annual State of the States survey by Conning & Co....

Keep your eye on the Puerto Rico bond saga

May 8, 2016

Puerto Rico's debt default should be a lesson for investors and their advisers: Even apparently low-risk investments, such as municipal bond mutual funds, must be monitored regularly. And the default shows once again that high returns probably...

OppenheimerFunds among the biggest bulls on Puerto Rico's municipal bonds

May 3, 2016

Puerto Rico's missed debt payment on Monday is seen by some on Wall Street as just the latest shoe to drop for the financially-strapped island nation. The country has another $2 billion debt payment due July 1, is $70 billion in debt, and is...

Puerto Rico default could blindside investors in municipal bonds

May 2, 2016

As the Puerto Rican government embraces default as a way of dealing with a $422 million debt payment due Monday, a lot of investors and financial advisers might be surprised at how exposed they are to the island country's financial woes. Even...

Investors poured $32 billion into bonds in March with Vanguard, BlackRock dominating

April 15, 2016

Investors poured an estimated $31.9 billion into bond funds in March, and investment advisers did much of the pouring. The inflow to bond funds was the most since January 2013, when bond funds saw a net $32.6 billion come in, says Morningstar,...

Strong March performance pushes stock funds positive for first quarter

April 1, 2016

If your clients are complaining about their bond positions, this would be a good time to remind them about why they own fixed income. Even though stock funds scored big gains in March, they're still trailing bonds for 2016 — and the past 12...

The power of infrastructure investing in uncertain markets

December 23, 2015

A lot of us feared this: After years of boom, global financial markets are becoming tumultuous and uncertain, just as large cohorts of older investors want increased income and greater certainty from their investments. “The usual suspects”...

Industry, investor advocates clash on bond-price-transparency proposals

December 14, 2015

While the financial industry wants to limit regulatory proposals to shed more light on the cost to retail investors for corporate and municipal bonds, investor advocates claim the proposals don't go far enough. The Financial Industry Regulatory...

Vanguard, once thwarted, launches a muni-bond rival to BlackRock's iShares

August 27, 2015

The Vanguard Group Inc. was playing catch up when it was getting ready to launch its first municipal bond index fund in 2010. Its competitors had already successfully brought similar products to the market, including State Street Global Advisors...

SEC commissioners push for bond transparency in wake of Edward Jones settlement

August 14, 2015

One of the few things to unite the Securities and Exchange Commission recently is a demand by four of the five members that self-regulatory organizations step up their oversight of bond pricing. Shortly after the SEC announced Thursday a $20...

Muni bonds are poised to shine as rates move higher

August 12, 2015

As the Federal Reserve inches toward its first interest-rate hike in nearly a decade, some market watchers see the municipal bond market as uniquely poised to outshine the taxable fixed-income space. Thanks largely to a guilt-by-association...

MLPs yield headaches for advisers who bought them for income

July 22, 2015

Energy-infrastructure partnerships, which had been a successful approach for advisers to deliver rich yields to income-starved clients with fewer tax consequences, have decidedly fallen into what some call a bear market. Despite yields often...

OppenheimerFunds says Puerto Rico can pay its debts; governor says no

July 11, 2015

Puerto Rico's governor says the island's $72 billion debt load is too big to pay. OppenheimerFunds Inc., the largest mutual-fund holder of the bonds, disagrees. As Alejandro Garcia Padilla begins to make the case for delaying debt payments,...

Navigating illiquidity in municipal bonds

July 6, 2015

Investors have been flocking to the $3.6 trillion U.S. municipal bond market and demand is expected to remain strong. But while the muni market has experienced growth over the last decade, dealer participation in the space has not. Inventories...

As Puerto Rico crisis intensifies, mutual fund investors face loss of capital

July 1, 2015

Nearly a decade after a recession swept ashore in Puerto Rico, investors unaware of their yield-boosting investment in the island's bonds are facing the possibility that they won't get all of their money back. The new fears of default have been...

Liquidity, liquidity, liquidity are the three most important words for bonds

June 22, 2015

There are three things that matter in the bond markets these days: liquidity, liquidity and liquidity. How — or whether — investors can trade without having prices move against them has become a major worry as bonds globally tanked in the...

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