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Investors Should Re-Examine Annuity Aversion

  • August 22nd, 2016
  • ETF

Numerous academic studies advocate for the partial-to-full annuitization of financial assets. Yet despite the evidence, a majority of investors remain reluctant to annuitize for both behavioral and financial reasons. The reluctance to purchase annuities has been called the “annuity puzzle.” I’ll try to shed some light on why this puzzle exists, as well as offer… Read More

Getting To The Cause Of Quality

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

Among the hot “smart beta” strategies into which investors are pouring assets is quality. For example, the iShares Edge MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL | A-84), which is only about three years old, already has $2.7 billion in assets. Before you consider investing in these increasingly popular strategies, however, it’s worth understanding the sources… Read More

Arbitrage Capital Increases Market Efficiency

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

The hypothesis of an efficient market is based on the concept that informed, rational traders would arbitrage away any temporary deviations from “correct” prices. Thus, price efficiency depends upon the actions of arbitrageurs and the availability of arbitrage capital. When arbitrage capital is plentiful, anomalies should be quickly eliminated. However, if capital is scarce or… Read More

Investors Like Lotteries

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

There’s substantial evidence from the field of behavioral finance that individual investors have a strong preference for investments that exhibit the same characteristics as lottery tickets. Two of these characteristics are high kurtosis (or fat tails) and positive skewness, meaning values to the right of (or more than) the mean are fewer but farther from… Read More

How to Make the Most of Working with a Financial Advisor

  • August 15th, 2016
  • BSP Author

As someone who has long made a living as a financial advisor, I have an inherent bias toward retaining one. I even have one myself, because I believe personal finance is more personal than it is finance. However, paradoxically, I fear that the vast majority of those who retain the services of a financial advisor… Read More

The Costs of Socially Responsible Investing

  • August 15th, 2016
  • BSP Author

Socially responsible investing (SRI) aligns ethical and financial concerns for investors. SRI has gradually developed over time to include the consideration of firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Of note is that, while SRI has evolved, the original practice of negative screening for the stocks of companies involved in harmful or controversial activities (so-called… Read More

Differing Definitions Of Quality

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

The 1997 publication of Mark Carhart’s paper, “On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance,” led to the four-factor model (which added momentum to market beta, size and value) becoming the workhorse model in finance. The next major contribution came from Robert Novy-Marx. His 2012 paper, “The Other Side of Value: The Gross Profitability Premium,” provided investors… Read More

Low Vol Advantage Not What You’d Expect

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

One of the problems for the first formal asset pricing model developed by financial economists, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), was that it predicted a positive relationship between risk and return. However, empirical studies have found the actual relationship to be flat, or even negative. Over the last 50 years, the most “defensive” stocks… Read More

Choosing Between Roth & Traditional IRAs

  • August 15th, 2016
  • ETF

Among the most important decisions investors make is their choice of location for assets within the various alternatives available for retirement (tax-advantaged) accounts. Allocating between a traditional IRA (a pretax, tax-deferred account) and a Roth IRA (a post-tax, tax-free account) can have a pronounced impact on retirement outcomes, given the $14 trillion in tax-advantaged retirement… Read More

Do You Choose a Declining or Rising Equity Strategy in Retirement?

  • August 8th, 2016
  • BSP Author

Traditional retirement planning calls for gradually reducing an investor’s equity allocation and increasing the allocation to safe bonds. Perhaps the most well-known example of this concept is the adage that your stock allocation should be equal to 100 minus your age (or with now-longer life expectancies, 110 minus your age). The gradually declining equity (DE)… Read More

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