The Elephant in the Room

Performance.  It is considered a vulgar word in the financial advisory industry, and the reasons aren’t hard to understand.  Numerous studies have shown that between 60% and 80% of mutual funds underperform their benchmarks.  It almost has to be that way.  Collectively, the large institutional investors are the market.  After […]

October Investment Comments

The second half of August brought an unfriendly reminder of why stocks are generically called “risk assets.” In just four trading days in August, the S&P 500 declined approximately 10%, ultimately notching a low price that was more than 13% below its all time high set in May of this […]

September Investment Comments

In the late 70’s, the now iconic Saturday Night Live television show was just getting established. One of the recurring skits featured a character named Roseanne Roseannadanna, played expertly by the late actress Gilda Radner. The sketch was formulaic in nature and usually ended with some variant of “It just […]

Academic Validation

I was at a conference recently talking to a prospective client about how we manage equity portfolios.  She was shocked when I told her we build diversified portfolios with only 20 or so common stocks.  Then I told her that since 2000 we have beaten the return on the S&P […]

Summertime Memories

In an old episode of TV’s “Mad Men,” a 10 or 11 year old Bobby Draper was at Indian Guides camp with his divorced parents.  He got to eat what he wanted, show off his parents to friends, and do silly things that kids get to do at camp.  He […]

July Investment Comments

Interest rates have taken over top billing from currencies in the financial headlines lately.  Uncertainty over Greece’s future in the eurozone and what the resolution will mean for other highly-indebted members, such as Italy, drove the 10-year German bund to an inconceivably-low near-zero yield in late April.  That move ended […]

Should Brokers Get a Break?

The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering applying the same fiduciary standard to the brokerage industry to which it currently holds investment advisors (like us).  The proposed change could mean the end of the full-service brokerage industry.  That might be a good thing. The last time the SEC took such […]

June Investment Comments

After strong market advances in 2013 and 2014, we have been bracing ourselves for a modest 2015.  So far we have been spot on.  The S&P 500 through April has advanced 1.9% for the year, currently down slightly from a fresh record on April 24th.  We also expected more volatility […]