The General Advisory Channel

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 1K, Slightly Worse Than Forecast

This morning's seasonally adjusted 232K new claims, down 1K from the previous week's figure, was slightly above the forecast of 230K. From the release: "The claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal."

The Future of the FPA, the CFP Board and the Organizations that Run the Planning Profession

Last month, I asked readers of Advisor Perspectives to help me think through some complicated issues regarding the future of the profession. Should the professional associations (like the FPA and NAPFA) consolidate in order to create more scale and unity, or should we maintain a healthy competition between them? Today we look at the responses I received.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: March 2018

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

Debt, Tech and Trade Wars Cloud the Investment Horizon

Global equities posted their first quarterly decline in two years during a volatile first quarter. Growing concerns about rising rates, trade wars and regulation in the technology sector will require a new mindset for investors.

Implications of DOL Fiduciary Rule Decisions and RESA Legislation

Some new developments in Washington and recent court rulings have implications for those saving and investing for retirement. Drew Carrington, head of Institutional Defined Contribution at Franklin Templeton Investments, along with Michael Doshier, head of retirement marketing, examine the status of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) and what it might mean for both plan sponsors and participants.

Why Nassim Taleb Thinks Leaders Make Poor Decisions

Why do experts, CEOs, politicians, and other apparently highly capable people make such terrible decisions so often? Is because they’re ill-intentioned? Or because, despite appearances, they’re actually stupid? Nassim Nicholas Taleb, philosopher, businessman, perpetual troublemaker, and author of, among other works, the groundbreaking Fooled by Randomness, says it’s neither.

Why I Referred My Close Friend to a Part-Time Fiduciary

They call themselves fee-based, dual-registered or hybrid advisors, but I’ll call them “part-time fiduciaries.” Don’t hate me for this, but I recently referred my close friend to one of them. Despite the bombardment of propaganda from fee-only RIAs, these part-time fiduciaries are pretty good.

Moving Averages: March Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on April 30, 2018.

The S&P 500 closed March with a monthly loss of 2.69% after a loss of 3.89% in February. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and three of five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), and PowerShares DB Commodity Index (DBC) — are signaling "invested".

The Deeper Lesson of Losing the “Buffett Bet”

Endowments and foundations routinely allocate capital to a diverse portfolio of alternative investments, including hedge funds, private equity and venture capital. But most struggle to beat a passive index. That reality – the futility of the strategy pursued by many supposedly sophisticated investors – was painfully illustrated by the “Buffett bet.”

The Heart of the Matter

I came across a book titled The Matter of the Heart by Tom Morris that is a great history of the medical accomplishments and advances for the human heart. Mr. Morris details eleven operations and their evolutionary success over the course of the book.

How Advisors Can Apply Behavioral Finance

Viewing investors and markets as emotional decision makers rather than as rational computational entities forces us to reconsider every aspect of how we operate in financial markets. The behavioral financial markets concepts I discuss below provide a framework for rethinking client financial planning, asset allocation, investment manager selection and the creation and execution of investment strategies.

Will Geopolitics Fuel Global Volatility?

Economic trends clearly point toward higher inflation and interest rates ahead, which will likely make capital markets more volatile. Based on recent headlines, politics seems likely to add fuel to this fire.

DOL Fiduciary Rule Still in Limbo After Latest Court Ruling

The US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule has been the subject of much debate, and still remains largely in limbo as it works its way through the court system. The rule, which expands the scope of persons deemed to be a fiduciary, was to go into effect in January 2018, but full implementation was delayed.

When Clients Are Nervous – and You Are Too!

A number of our clients are watching the markets and becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ups and downs. We have many retirees and soon-to-retire clients and 2008 is still fresh in their minds. They fear another disastrous downswing in their portfolios.

How a Star NFL Player Achieved Financial Success

He was on the receiving end of the passes from Drew Brees that led the New Orleans Saints to victory in the 2009 Super Bowl. But what distinguishes Marques Colston from his fellow ex-NFL players and other retired athletes is his successful post-professional career.